Ken Burns on His Early Life and His First Big Break

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In this fascinating 6-minute film, Ken Burns talks about how his mother's death influenced his decision to become a documentary filmmaker. He says, "I wanted to be a feature filmmaker in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock and John Ford and Howard Hawkes, but when I went to Hampshire College they reminded me, quite correctly, that there's much more drama in what is and what was than in anything the human imagination can dream of....I found myself becoming a documentary filmmaker trying to tell stories and using American history to tell those stories that I wanted to tell. When you look back at it, the job that I try to do is to wake the dead, and it doesn't seem too far a leap to understand from that early decision to be a filmmaker who I really want to wake up."

Watch below.