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World Premiere Ken Burns Film Festival Debuts This February In Gettysburg; Guest Speakers Announced

First-ever film festival dedicated to films of Ken Burns announces guest speakers and breakout sessions.

Gettysburg College's Majestic Theater has announced guest speakers and breakout sessions scheduled for the first-ever film festival dedicated solely to the work of award-winning documentarian Ken Burns next February 10-12, 2023 in the historic theater located in Gettysburg, Pa.

Experts in music, cinematography, filmmaking, criminal justice reform, and public policy will join Ken Burns in engaging with the public and Gettysburg College students in consequential conversations about the question Burns has explored in all of his films about American history: Who are we?

Special guests currently scheduled to attend include longtime Burns collaborators Geoffrey Ward, writer; Sarah Botstein, producer; and Allen Moore, cinematographer as well as musicians Jay Ungar, Molly Mason, and Jacqueline Schwab, and exonerated Central Park Five member Kevin Richardson. Tracie Potts and Susan Eisenhower of Gettysburg College's Eisenhower Institute will also offer their perspective during the festival. The festival is produced by Gettysburg College and the Majestic Theater in cooperation with Florentine Films and American Storyteller, LLC. Tickets for all events are available now.

"Gettysburg is both a place of remembering and imagining," said Ken Burns when the festival was announced in April 2022. "It is of course a burial ground for those who fought there - North and South - but it is also where President Lincoln imagined a new country, one where the values we associate with our country's founding were given new meaning. I'm honored and so appreciative for this opportunity to share our films as part of this festival and to join many of my colleagues in a conversation about our art form - and our country's history."

Acclaimed musicians Jay Ungar, Molly Mason, and Jacqueline Schwab will present a breakout session on their collaboration with Burns on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 11:45 a.m. Musical performances by the trio have been essential ingredients in numerous Ken Burns film soundtracks since the 1980s. Most notably, Ungar's composition "Ashokan Farewell," and Schwab's lyrical and evocative piano playing were hallmarks of the Grammy Award-winning soundtrack album of Burns's groundbreaking 1990 series The Civil War.

On Saturday, Feb. 11 at 3:45 p.m., producer Sarah Botstein and writer Geoffrey Ward will present a breakout session highlighting the craft of writing and producing documentaries, outlining the process from first ideas to finished scripts, as well as the relationship between the writing and filmmaking teams. Botstein most recently co-produced Burns's The U.S. and the Holocaust. Ward has worked with Burns since 1984, including as sole or principal script writer on The Civil War, The War, Baseball, and The Vietnam War, among many other films.
Kevin Richardson, an activist and one of the exonerated Central Park Five, will offer a post-film talk following The Central Park Five on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.

Richardson was one of five teenagers convicted of the brutal 1989 attack of a jogger in Central Park after false confessions and improper use of forensic science. He and his co-defendants were exonerated and their convictions overturned in 2002 after DNA testing linked the attack to another man who confessed.

On Sunday, Feb. 12 at 11 a.m. Allen Moore will discuss the craft of cinematography and how it has been used to illustrate America's history. Imagery and techniques used in Burns's films have become an iconic part of American culture, and deepen audience connections with the material. Moore has served as director of photography on several of Burns's films, including The Civil War, The Roosevelts, and Baseball.

Also on Sunday, Tracie Potts and Susan Eisenhower of Gettysburg College's Eisenhower Institute will take part in a post-film discussion about Episode 4 of The War, "Pride of Our Nation." The episode covers D-Day and General Dwight D. Eisenhower's leadership of American armed forces and will be shown at 1 p.m. Potts is the Executive Director of the Eisenhower Institute and a former Washington correspondent for NBC News. Susan Eisenhower is chairman emerita and expert-in-residence at the Eisenhower Institute. She is an expert in public policy, national security, energy security, and strategic leadership, and granddaughter of President Eisenhower. The Eisenhower Institute promotes the study of critical global issues and developing engaged citizens through its programs in Gettysburg and Washington, D.C.

All events comprising Who Are We?: A Festival Celebrating the Films of Ken Burns require reservations and many are free to attend, including breakout sessions with historians and filmmakers, screenings of various documentary episodes from Burns's 40-year catalog, and a marathon presentation of all 11.5 hours of The Civil War. Limited tickets remain available for two thematic highlight reel presentations compiled and introduced by Burns on Saturday at $29 per person, per event, as well as many free events. Tickets for all festival events are available at the Majestic Theater Box Office, 25 Carlisle St., Gettysburg, by calling (717) 337-8200 or online at www.gettysburgmajestic.org.


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