IDA to salute Burns

Career achievement kudo to be given at Dec. 13 benefit

HOLLYWOOD — The Intl. Documentary Assn. will honor Ken Burns with its 2002 career achievement award.

The kudo will be presented during the 18th annual IDA Awards Gala Benefit on Dec. 13 at the Directors Guild of America Theater in Hollywood.

Previous recipients include filmmakers Ricky Leacock, Albert Maysles, Frederick Wiseman, Henry Hampton, Robert Drew, Marcus Ophuls, Jacques Yves Cousteau, Charles Guggenheim, Jean Rouch, David Wolper and Michael Apted.

The award also has been presented to Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Fred Friendly, Sheila Nevins and Ted Turner.

‘Exceptional body of work’

“Ken Burns is in a relatively early stage of his career to receive this acknowledgment from his peers, but he has already compiled an exceptional body of work that will stand the test of time,” said IDA prexy Michael Donaldson. “Ken has found innovative ways to dig deep into the roots of our society and tell stories that make an enduring impression. He has succeeded with his integrity as a filmmaker intact, and that makes him a great role model for every filmmaker.”

Burns has produced 19 docs beginning with “Brooklyn Bridge” in 1980, which earned an Oscar nom. His works include “The Civil War,” “Huey Long,” “The Statue of Liberty,” “Baseball,” “Thomas Jefferson,” “Frank Lloyd Wright,” “Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony,” “Jazz,” “The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God,” “Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio” and “Mark Twain.”

Bolstering docmakers

“Ken Burns has proved the public will respond to documentaries that enlighten and entertain them,” said IDA exec director Sandra Ruch. “Ken’s success in connecting with millions of viewers during his career has created opportunities for other serious documentary filmmakers.”

Burns is working on “Horatio’s Drive,” which follows the first cross-country automobile trip, and “Jack Johnson,” a portrait of the boxer who became the first African-American heavyweight champion.

His New Hampshire-based company, Florentine Films, is also remastering his entire body of work, and PBS, which originally programmed all his films, is launching weekly retrospective series “Ken Burns American Stories” on Sunday.

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