SPEAKING FEE RANGE ** Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.
$75,000 and above
BOOK KEN BURNS
SPEAKING FEE RANGE*
$75,000 and above
Book Ken Burns
- Over the past three decades, Burns has reinvented the documentary medium and brought American history to life with unique cinematography, exceptional writing, and masterful storytelling.
- Burns' passion for history, captivating and humorous storytelling, and ability to make archival photos come alive has earned him the reputation as one of the most popular and prolific filmmakers in the U.S.
- Just like his documentaries, Burns' fantastic storytelling and understanding of historical context mesmerize audiences and leave them wanting more.
- Burns has produced more than 30 films focused on unique aspects of American history.
As one of the most prolific and popular documentary filmmakers in the U.S., Ken Burns chronicle aspects of U.S. history that make us uniquely American. He is known for using archival footage and photographs in documentary films that air on PBS. His most widely known documentaries are “The Civil War,” “Baseball,” “Jazz,” The War,” “The National Parks: America's Best Idea,” “Prohibition,” “The Central Park Five,” and “The Roosevelts”. He also was executive producer of “The West” (directed by Stephen Ives), and “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies” (directed by Barak Goodman).
After graduating from Hampshire College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in film studies and design, Burns worked as a cinematographer for the BBC, Italian television, and others. In 1977, he began working on adapting to film David McCullough's book The Great Bridge about the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. This documentary, which ran on PBS in the U.S., earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary.
Other nominations and awards include: nominations for the Academy Award for Documentary Feature (“Brooklyn Bridge” and “The Statue of Liberty”); an Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Series (“Baseball”), and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Non-fiction Series (“The National Parks: America's Best Idea”). As one of his most popular documentaries, “The Civil War” has received more than 40 major film and television awards, including two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, Producer of the Year Award from the Producers Guild of America, a People's Choice Award, a Peabody Award, a duPont-Columbia Award, a D. W. Griffith Award, and the $50,000 Lincoln Prize. He has won numerous awards, including the Washington University International Humanities Medal and the John Steinbeck Award. In 2008, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Burns also is the recipient of more than 20 honorary degrees.
"You won't be surprised to hear that Ken was amazing last night. He was mesmerizing (as I've heard about him) and fit in perfectly with our program, the occasion of which was to award our 3rd annual Hiett Prize in the Humanities to a young person.
His clips of The War were stunning. In addition, he's so personable, generous, and genuine. He's obviously devoted to his work and passionate about sharing it with everyone. I don't know how we'll top, or equal, him next year. We got nothing but compliments from the 400 in the audience, who left feeling that they had experienced something significant (which was true).
Once again, thanks for helping us "hit a home run," as one of our donors said last night. I look forward to more."
- The Dallas Institute of Humanities
"It was a great event. Ken goes above and beyond on all accounts. He put the film together in segments that allowed him to introduce each segment in context. The Q&A portion was well done. I just got off of the phone with someone that called last night 'f’in brilliant. I was enraptured.' I’d like to find a time to bring Ken back to Dallas!"
-Dallas Center for the Performing Arts
"Ken was wonderful. His presentation was excellent and resonated well with our clients. I heard great feedback afterwards."
-Teachers Insurance and Annuities Association – College Retirement Equities Fund
As a keynote speaker, Ken Burns walks his audience through the experience of creating a documentary or he elaborates on one (or more) of the main themes of his documentaries. With his keen ability to paint a pictures with words and humor, Burns brings stories to life, inspiring audiences to follow their creative desires.
The award-winning filmmaker seems to instinctively know what audiences want, providing more insight into the stories behind the story or walking them through the creative process. For all of his speeches, he ties his experiences and stories into key takeaways for audience members, giving them new insight and fresh inspiration.
The National Parks—A Treasure House of Nature's Superlatives
In this unusually moving and personal lecture, filmmaker Burns discusses the great gift of our national parks. Both “the immensity and the intimacy of time” merge, as we appreciate what the parks have added to our collective and individual spirit. He begins the talk with a 13-minute clip—the intro to “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”
Sharing the American Experience
Burns reminds the audience of the timeless lessons of history and the enduring greatness and importance of the United States in the course of human events. Incorporating his documentaries “The Civil War,” “Baseball” and “Jazz,” Burns engages and celebrates what we share in common. No clips are utilized in this presentation.
No Ordinary Lives
Drawing on some of Abraham Lincoln's most stirring words as inspiration, this speech engages the paradox of war by following the powerful themes in two of Burns' best known works—“The Civil War,” his epic retelling of the most important event in American history, and “The War,” his intensely moving story of World War II told through the experiences of ordinary people from four American towns. The presentation opens with Norah Jones’ “American Anthem” clip (five minutes) from “The War.”
This presentation combines the biographies of some of Burns' most fascinating subjects, including Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark and Frank Lloyd Wright. He shares how biography works to provide insight into the storytelling process.
In this presentation, Burns takes audiences through the compelling saga of Prohibition's rise and fall that goes far beyond the tales of gangsters, rum runners, flappers, and speakeasies, to reveal a complicated and divided nation in the throes of momentous transformation. He discusses with audiences the vital questions raised by this era and the 18th Amendment, which are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago—about means and ends, individual rights and responsibilities, the proper role of government and finally, who is—and who is not—a real American.
Race in America
For more than 30 years, Burns has dealt with the theme of race in his uniquely American documentaries. Now, in the age of President Obama, he looks back from the perspective of monumental change in the United States to reflect where we’ve been. This presentation is best presented as a moderated Q&A with Burns to spark a meaningful and impactful conversation with the audience. He uses several clips from earlier films in this presentation.
Conversation with Ken Burns
This is for a less formal, conversational type of event. Burns addresses questions about all of his films, issues in history and contemporary American culture.