Florentine Films: Ken Burns

As a boy, Ken Burns was captivated by the power of film and dreamed of being the next Alfred Hitchcock or John Ford. But in college, he discovered that stories about American history could be just as dramatic as any he could make up. Eventually, he set out to make a new kind of documentary, layered with actors’ voices and sound effects; and animated by a gentle panning motion that became known as the Ken Burns Effect. But he also had to run a business: knocking on doors to raise money, managing a small team of producers, and fiercely protecting his creative vision and IP. Today, 40+ years after it was founded, Ken’s company Florentine Films has built one of the most valuable documentary archives in the world, including The Civil War, Jazz, Baseball, The Statue of Liberty, and most recently, Benjamin Franklin.

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