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Why filmmaker Ken Burns won’t make documentaries for streaming giants



Britney Spears’ conservatory, college admission fraud scandal, allegations of sexual abuse against Woody Allen – all these stories are in the recent past after the new documentary provided new insights Makes headlines in a few weeks.

These movies appeared on streaming platforms Hulu (DIS), Netflix (NFLX) and HBO Max (T), satisfying people’s strong interest in non-fiction movies.

Despite this, the legendary documentary filmmaker Ken Burns said in a new interview that he will never make movies for these streaming giants. He said, on the contrary, he plans to maintain a long-term relationship with PBS, which will give him complete creative control and a longer production schedule.

Burns said: “I have been working on public television and I have always stayed by their side,”

; Burns premiered the three films “Hemingway” which premiered on April 5. . “

Burns is known for his famous American classics such as “Jazz” and “Baseball”. He quoted the marathon production schedule in his 10-part documentary series “Vietnam War”, which was broadcast in 2017. .

“PBS gave me 10 and a half years”

“I could have switched to streaming channels or high-quality cables a few years ago-about ten and a half years-and then said, with my track record,’I needed 30 million US dollars to build Vietnam,’ and they would have given me Yes,” he added. “But they won’t give me ten and a half years.”

He said: “PBS gave me 10 and a half years.” “They gave me Ernest Hemingway (Ernest Hemingway) six and a half years.”

In the United States, thousands of people are quarantined at home, and even in other parts of the world, this epidemic has caused a surge in the ratings of documentaries. According to Nielsen, in April last year, 34.3 million viewers watched the first 10 days of the murder mystery “Tiger King”, making it one of the most popular original shows ever broadcast on Netflix.

ESPN said that this is a documentary series about basketball legend Michael Jordan, titled “The Last Dance,” which was broadcast for five weeks from April to May 2020, with an average of 6.1 million viewers per episode. Become the most viewed documentary in history. The internet.

Documentaries are a key part of a high-profile production deal between streaming giants and creators. Last September, Netflix signed a multi-year production agreement with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, reportedly worth more than $100 million, which required a series of projects, including documentaries. Similarly, former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama signed a huge deal including non-fiction works with Netflix in 2018.

Despite this, Burns said that his arrangement for PBS is precious, and there is no pressure to turn losses into profits because it relies on many individuals and organizations that support his work.

He said: “This is not a financial model, but a grant model.” “We raise funds from the public broadcaster, PBS’s own foundation and personal wealth.”

“We do [the films] He added: “Zero-sum game.” We “do not allow accidents, do not allow any profit margins, and this will only happen.”

He said: “Give me complete creative control. If you don’t like these movies, it is my fault.” “This is what you want: no excuses.”

Burns had a conversation with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in the episode “The Influence of Indy Serwer”. This is a weekly meeting with business, political A series of interviews with leaders in the entertainment field.

Film producer Ken Burns talks with Yahoo Finance editor Andy Serwer

Film producer Ken Burns spoke to Andy Serwer, editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance, on “people who have an influence with Andy Serwer.”

Burns has been nominated twice for Oscars and has been making films for more than four decades, with themes related to “Vietnam War”, “Civil War”, “Country Music” and “Brooklyn Bridge”. In addition to the upcoming movie “Hemingway”, Burns will release “Muhammad Ali” later this year, a four-part documentary composed of legendary boxers and social activists.

For many years, he lived and worked in the small town of Walpole, New Hampshire.

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Burns welcomed the rapid development of documentary production. He described the beginning of his career in the 1980s as the “golden age” of the time, but he acknowledged how output has improved since then.

He said: “The spectrum is amazing.” “And it will only become bigger and more effective.”

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