Academy Award Nominated and Emmy Winner Ken Burns Joins MasterClass to Teach Documentary Filmmaking

Filmmaker Ken Burns

Are you an aspiring filmmaker who would like to learn from a masterful storyteller who creates compelling historical documentaries? MasterClass, the online education company, has announced that Ken Burns—one of the most influential and prolific documentary filmmakers of our time—is offering his first-ever online class exclusively through its platform.

Ken Burns is one of America’s most celebrated filmmakers of historical documentaries with more than 40 years of masterful storytelling. Since the Academy Award nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Burns has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The Statue of Liberty; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; The Roosevelts: An Intimate HistoryJackie Robinson; Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War; and The Vietnam War, which has been seen by more than 39 million people. His work has garnered numerous awards including 15 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, and two Oscar nominations. In 2008, Burns was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award. His newest film, The Mayo Clinic: Faith – Hope – Science, will air nationally on PBS on September 25, 2018.

Natural “Drama of Truth” in Narrative Documentaries

In his MasterClass, Burns will teach students how to uncover and highlight the natural “drama of truth,” and he will demonstrate how documentaries can match, and even exceed, the depth of fictional narrative.  Burns will deconstruct scenes from some of his most notable works to explain how he finds the “human story” in true events, and he’ll share the documentary filmmaking techniques he utilizes to “wake the dead.” His class will embolden students to tell stories that interweave deep and difficult themes of the American experience—race, gender, power, politics and war—and teach them how to distill vast research into compelling narratives that embrace complex truths and multiple points of view.

While millions of viewers have seen the final version of Burns’s The Vietnam War, students in his MasterClass will have the rare opportunity to access early rough cuts of the film as Burns walks them through the process of sculpting the story in the edit. While Burns is recognized for his mastery of documentary filmmaking, storytellers from all disciplines will learn from his nuanced approach to crafting a story.

MasterClass Enrollment Information

Burns’s class on documentary filmmaking is now available for pre-enrollment at Enrollment for the class is $90 for lifetime access, or $180 for an annual All-Access Pass subscription, which grants unlimited access to all new and existing classes.

MasterClass provides educational, inspiring, and engaging classes taught by the world’s greatest minds in photography, cooking, film, writing, acting, music, sports, journalism, and more. With more than 35 classes that dive into philosophies, processes and techniques, MasterClass helps students progress more rapidly towards their own mastery. It offers a unique learning experience, including video lessons, interactive exercises, course materials, peer interaction, and more. All classes are available online as part of an annual subscription, or for individual purchase, at; or via the MasterClass app for iPhone and iPad, available for free download on App Store at:

Andrea Hammer
About Andrea Hammer 282 Articles
Andrea Karen Hammer is the founder, director and owner of Artsphoria Publishing, Media Group & Shop ( Artsphoria International Magazine (; Artsphoria Movie Reviews & Film Forum (; Artsphoria: Arts, Business & Technology Center (; Artsphoria Event Advertising & Reporting (; Artsphoria: Food for the Soul (; Artsphoria Animation & Imagination World ( and Artsphoria Shop ( She is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer who has published articles in international publications.

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