The Ken Burns Effect is a Ken Burns-style documentary homage to Ken Burns featuring Ken Burns.
Nine years ago we were a group of freshmen living on the first floor of Binford Hall at Guilford College. We happened to share a love and (potentially creepy) enthusiasm for the films of Ken Burns, celebrated director and producer on more than twenty films. He is the hero of Public Television and his name has become synonymous with his style of filmmaking. He became our hero, our inspiration and our common bond.
In the spring of our freshman year, Ken Burns himself visited our campus to speak. We were so excited that we decided to use body paint to show our devotion. At the end of Mr. Burns' speech he approached us, wide-eyed. When a photographer for the College's newspaper asked to take a picture, Mr. Burns – always the documentarian – responded, "I – I don't have to be in this picture." Lucky for us (and for posterity), the photographer was quick.
In the past nine years we have grown into (what some would call) adulthood. When the summer issue of Guilford's Newsletter arrived in our mailboxes announcing the return of Ken Burns to Guilford College, we began to plan a trip back to our alma mater to witness this auspicious event, almost as rare as a comet.
We decided that the only way to truly and properly pay homage to our hero was to document our trip – our reunion, our pilgrimage – in the way he taught us. That's right - with long panning shots of everything you can possibly take long panning shots of.
And that's exactly what we did, as you can see in our trailer above. We made it to Greensboro via Gettysburg, Shenandoah National Park, an historic Speakeasy and, surely, faced as many travails as Horatio himself faced on his fabled Road Trip.
Now we want to share the rest of the story with you! There will be narration, stock photography, letters and emails read aloud, expert testimonials and (beacuse we are very lucky) Mr. Burns himself.
What We Need
We made it to Greensboro, NC in the spring – thanks to the generous donations of people like you. Why keep going? The greatest documentarian of our time, potentially of all time, Mr. Burns never backs down from a project because it might be too grand, too broad or too difficult. We have decided that we will not back down from this project because it seems too surreal, too parochial, or FAR too silly.
As you can see in the above trailer, we have almost all the footage we need – and it’s truly beautiful. But that's not enough, we want MORE. More interviews! More cathartic panning shots! More narration (by Sam Waterston)! We’re asking for your help to us move into post-production, which will include buying rights to archival footage and music (and find a real adult lawyer who can explain to us how to do that), and feeding a real-life editor to make this whole thing look as incredible as we know it can look. We have the drive, the blind ambition, the truly silly disposition and all the espresso and steamed (soy) milk we need to do this. We just need some funding.
We are asking for far less than we actually need, but we are committed to making this film, no matter what, and any and all contributions will get us farther down the road!
Other Ways You Can Help
We are excited to share this experience with all of you, just as we have always shared our love for Ken Burns. You can help us by sharing information about our little film with your friends, family, social networks and passers-by. Indigogo makes it easy to share via Facebook, Twitter and email, and because we believe in the collaborative nature of filmmaking, we would love to involve as many people as possible!
If you love Ken Burns as much as we do, we encourage you to join us! Share your stories on our website, and email us at theKBeffect@gmail.com to see how you can get involved. And if you think Ken Burns' films would be better if they just had more jokes - this is the film for you.
The films of Ken Burns brought us together, instilled in us a love of the United States and its history, and taught us the value of public broadcasting and of filmmaking – that is the Ken Burns effect and we are living proof of its power to unite and create unbreakable bonds.