Ken Burns: On Story…


Continuing on from last week’s films, here we have esteemed documentary Ken Burns, director of Academy Award nominated docs Brooklyn Bridge & The Statue of Liberty amongst many others, giving a personal and illuminating response to the question ‘What makes a Great story?’.

As he explains eloquently in the film, the great stories seem not to be black and white matter of fact affairs, but tend to deal with the complexities of human life by focusing on the bigger questions that don’t always have simple answers…

His approach to all storytelling as a form of manipulation in some sense is certainly an interesting one, and raises questions about what a filmmaker is actually doing when he or she presents their narrative in a certain light. We can’t escape from the fact that the stories we tell will reflect something about ourselves and the way we look at the world, but this isn’t necessarily a negative thing… without a human touch what would filmmaking be?

On this note, here’s an interesting snippet of legendary filmmaker Andrei Tarskovsky discussing his advice for young directors… Notice that for Tarkovsky, that it’s putting their lives into their work that he considers the most important thing for young directors to do…

Here then are a couple more examples of storytelling that we like!

Vimeo is awash with incredible little documentaries, the great variety of characters that crop up let you know that whatever state the film industry may be in, people will always want to tell the stories that mean something to them, and as long as that’s the case, we look forward to watching them!

This profile of charismatic New Yorker Ricky Powell made us smile, these are the kind of people that need a light shone on them!

This short about an architects plan for a private library, is another nice little clip for a Friday…

We’d love for you guys to share with us some of your favourite examples of this kind of story telling and hope that you’ve enjoyed watching these!

Till next week then, take care, BYE!


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