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Communique items for Aug 4


burnsOne of the nation’s most prolific and respected documentary filmmakers will deliver the 2006 UCCS Reach Your Peak Lecture Series address.

Ken Burns, 53, is known for a 30-year film career that includes Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge (1981) and Public Broadcasting System favorites such as Jazz, The Civil War, Baseball and Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

Burns will present “Sharing the American Experience” at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Pikes Peak Center. Ticket prices are $50, $40 and $30. They are available at www.ticketswest.com or at the Pikes Peak Center box office, 190 S. Cascade Ave. A $10 discount for UCCS faculty and staff members is available. For  website purchases, use promotion code mtnlion06.

“We are proud to bring to Colorado Springs a compelling storyteller and the opportunity to hear first-hand the importance of American history,” Mary Ellen McNally, chair, UCCS Reach Your Peak Lecture Series, said.

Born in 1953 in Brooklyn, New York, Burns graduated from Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass., in 1975. He co-founded Florentine Films and went on to both direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made.

Mark Twain, a two-part, four-hour portrait of one of America's funniest and most popular writers, was co-produced with Burns’ long-time collaborator Dayton Duncan and aired on PBS in Jan. 2002. In Jan. 2001, JAZZ, the third in Ken's trilogy of epic documentaries, which began with The Civil War and continued with Baseball, was broadcast on PBS. Co-produced with Lynn Novick, this 19-hour, ten-part film explored in detail the culture, politics and dreams that gave birth to jazz music, and follows this most American of art forms from its origins in blues and ragtime through swing, bebop and fusion.

Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, winner of the prestigious Peabody Award, was co-produced with Paul Barnes and aired on PBS in Nov. 1999. This dual biography tells the story of the two women who almost single-handedly created and spearheaded the women's rights movement in America, changing for the better the lives of a majority of American citizens.

Frank Lloyd Wright, co-directed and produced with Lynn Novick, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Jan.1998, and aired on PBS in November 1998. The film tells the riveting story of America's foremost architectural genius. In 1999, it won the Peabody Award.

In Nov. 1997, Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discoverywas released to critical acclaim and garnered the second-highest ratings in PBS history. This four-hour film, co-produced with Dayton Duncan, chronicles the corps' journey westward on the first official expedition into uncharted spaces in U.S. history.

Thomas Jefferson, a three-hour portrait of the third U.S. president, aired in Feb. 1997. This film explores the author of the most sacred document in American history and condemned as a lifelong owner of slaves.

In the fall of 1996, The West, an eight-part, twelve-hour film series on the American West was released. The West is the story of one of the great crossroads in human history, a place where, tragically and heroically, the best met the worst and nothing was left unchanged. Burns was executive producer and creative consultant for this highly praised series, directed by Stephen Ives, which won the 1997 Erik Barnouw Prize.

Burns was the director, producer, co-writer, chief cinematographer, music director and executive producer of the PBS series Baseball. Four and a half years in the making and eighteen-hours in length, this film covered the history of baseball from the 1840's to the present. Through the extensive use of archival photographs and newsreel footage, baseball as a mirror of our larger society was brought to the screen over nine nights during its premiere in Sept. 1994. It became one of the most watched series in PBS history, attracting more than 45 million viewers. Baseball received numerous awards, including an Emmy, the CINE Golden Eagle Award, the Clarion Award, and the Television Critics Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Sports and Special Programming.

Burns was the director, producer, co-writer, chief cinematographer, music director and executive producer of the landmark television series The Civil War. This film was the highest rated series in the history of PBS and attracted an audience of 40 million during its premiere in Sept. 1990. The series has been honored with more than 40 major film and television awards, including two Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, Producer of the Year Award from the Producer's Guild, People's Choice Award, Peabody Award, duPont-Columbia Award, D.W. Griffiths Award, and the $50,000 Lincoln Prize, among dozens of others.

In 1981, Ken Burns produced and directed the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge. He has gone on to make several other award-winning films, including The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God, The Statue of Liberty, Huey Long,  The Congress: The History and Promise of Representative Government, Thomas Hart Benton, a portrait of the regionalist artist, and Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio. Burns has also produced and directed two films, William Segal and Vezelay, which explore the question of search and individual identity through the work and teachings of philosopher and painter William Segal.

Previous speakers in the UCCS Community Lecture Series include former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, former U.S. Senator Robert Dole (R-Kan.), and political analysts Mary Matalin and James Carville.

Proceeds from the lecture are donated to the Reach Your Peak Scholarship fund. The fund provides need- and merit-based scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students at the university. About 50 percent of the university’s 7,600 students receive some sort of financial aid.

Underwriting and gold-level sponsors for this year’s event include: Hill Foundation, the Gay and Lesbian Fund, ENT Federal Credit Union, Rocky Mountain PBS, UCCS Office of Campus Activities, Jon and Becky Medved, Colorado Springs, KOAA 5/30, and the Colorado Springs Gazette.