Ken Burns at AFA Thursday night
This is a pretty big deal -- when Ken Burns spoke here last August, they charged $45 a ticket, and this is free.
Ken Burns, America’s most famous documentary filmmaker, is premiering his latest PBS series, “The War” at the Air Force Academy’s Arnold Hall at 8 p.m. tonight.
It’s a one-hour taste of what will be a seven-episode miniseries that explores World War II through the stories of ordinary people from across America. Veterans recollections are mixed with stories and recollections from their loved ones at home.“The War” won’t debut on PBS until September, but Burns is giving previews at several military institutions. Tonight’s preview at Arnold Hall is free and open to the public and Burns will hold a question and answer session after the preview.
When Burns was in Colorado Springs in August, 2006, for a speech at the Pikes Peak Center, he talked about his desire to retell the important events of World War II without relying on generals and political leaders.
“Our story of the second world war is a story from the bottom up,” he said at the time. “We are almost entirely indifferent to big names.”
“The War” will feature the filmmaking techniques Burns made famous, such as long voice-overs from letters and slow pans across still photographs. Burns tried to avoid using stars for the project, but Tom Hanks — or at least his voice — plays a prominent role reading the columns of a newspaper editor from a small town in Minnesota.
“We brought people into the editing room and they weeped at his performance,” Burns said in August. “I think it’s one of the best jobs (Hanks) has ever done, and it’s entirely off-camera.”