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Ken Burns: My First Big Break

It’s been a great year for documentaries, from Chad Friedrichs‘s exploding of The Pruitt-Igoe Myth to filmic glimpses into the lives and work of artists including Marina Abramović, Gerhard Richter, Ai Weiwei, Wayne White, and Gregory Crewdson. Many of these films owe a debt to Ken Burns, whose signature effects include “a way of energizing still photographs, of adding complex sound effects and period music, of using not only a third-person narrator…but first-person voices, reading journals and diaries and love letters and newspaper accounts that give the experience of the past something that feels real and feels human,” he tells the MediabistroTV crew in the below video. Watch to learn how Burns, who says he knew at age 12 that he wanted to make movies, got his start “trying to tell stories and [using] American history to tell those stories that I wanted to tell.”

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