The famous American Civil War documentarian and multi Emmy Award filmmaker Ken Burns came to campus today as a guest of the once-in-a-semester Arts & Issues event. Past guests to the event include the Count Bassie Orchestra, Frank Warren of Post Secret, poet laureate Maya Angelou among others. The event, of course, sold out many weeks in advance, and this blogger was left at his wits end to find a way into the packed auditorium where the man who “more Americans get their history from than any other source” was going to be speaking. It looked like an impossible task in the beginning, but turned out well in the end. Let me see how best I can tell the story in very few words.
Okay, I can’t. It’s a long story. It started with a despairing email to the faculty of the foreign language department and ended with me sitting beside the visitor in an upstairs reception room and assisting him sign books for the scores of people who had come to see him talk, and listen to the way he has influenced American perception of history, especially the Civil War which started 150 years ago. He also looked young for someone who had been in the film business for more than thirty years.
I should probably write a longer post about the event itself, my perception of the man, and the power of storytelling, especially the medium of film. This has always been a favourite interest.