Ken Burns has been making films for more than thirty years. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Ken has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made. A December 2002 poll conducted by Real Screen Magazine listed The Civil War as second only to Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North as the "most influential documentary of all time, " and named Ken Burns and Robert Flaherty as the "most influential documentary makers" of all time. In March, 2009, David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun said, "…Burns is not only the greatest documentarian of the day, but also the most influential filmmaker period. That includes feature filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. I say that because Burns not only turned millions of persons onto history with his films, he showed us a new way of looking at our collective past and ourselves." The late historian Stephen Ambrose said of his films, "More Americans get their history from Ken Burns than any other source." Ken's films have won twelve Emmy Awards and two Oscar nominations, and in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Ken was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ken has been the recipient of more than twenty-five honorary degrees and has delivered many treasured commencement addresses. He is a sought after public speaker, appearing at colleges, civic organizations and business groups throughout the country.
Projects currently in production include The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, a seven-episode series scheduled for broadcast in the fall of 2014, as well as films on the Gettysburg Address, Jackie Robinson, the Vietnam War and the history of country music.
In April 2013, PBS broadcast The Central Park Five, a two-hour film about the five black and Hispanic teenagers wrongly convicted of the 1989 Central Park Jogger rape. The film paints a revealing portrait of one of our nation’s most egregious miscarriages of justice. The Central Park Five played at the Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, London, Vienna and DOC NYC film festivals, among others. It opened in theaters nationwide in November 2012, and was named by MovieMaker magazine as one of the top 10 films of the year. Other honors include the New York Film Critics Circle 2012 Best Non-Fiction Film award, the 2013 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information, the 2013 Gabriel Award and the 2013 American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award.