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Ken Burns on America, history, and “the better angels of our nature”

The Christophers/Photographer: Paul Schneck
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Video of the acclaimed filmmaker's heartfelt speech at the 69th annual Christopher Awards, along with the evening's other presentations

On May 17, 2018, The Christophers presented our Life Achievement Award to documentary filmmaker Ken Burns for his body of work exploring American history over the past nearly-40 years. Based on the feedback we received from our guests at the 69th annual Christopher Awards ceremony, Burns’s acceptance speech was a memorable highlight.

Having won seven Christopher Awards prior to this one, he noted that he felt like he grew up at the Christopher Awards and always feels at home with his fellow winners who also produce works that affirm the power of the human spirit.

Burns went on to talk about his approach to history and storytelling, and he also quoted novelist Richard Powers as saying, “The best arguments in the world won’t change a person’s mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.”

The video of his heartfelt speech is below, followed by the evening’s other presentations: Books for Adults, Books for Young People, Feature Films, and TV/Cable. Many thanks to our Master of Ceremonies, Ernie Anastos, and presenters Elizabeth Vargas, Tony Aiello, Joan Bauer, Jeannie Gaffigan, and Father Jonathan Morris.

Books for Adults:

Books for Young People:

Feature Films:

TV/Cable:

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