peace

INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I
Rescued or Reoccupied?

 

The history between Guam’s native Chamorro population and the U.S. military is complicated. After remaining loyal to the U.S. through the Japanese occupation during World War II, many Chamarros believe they were stripped of their ancestral lands. Today, they live with the threat of nuclear destruction.

 

Your questions and comments are welcome via phone, email and online via Facebook and Twitter during the Live Broadcast.

 

Phone Lines:
462-5000 on Oahu or 800-238-4847 on the Neighbor Islands.

 

Email:
insights@pbshawaii.org

 

Facebook:
Visit the PBS Hawai‘i Facebook page.

 

Twitter:
Join our live discussion using #pbsinsights

 

What Drives KEN BURNS?

 

CEO Message

What Drives Ken Burns?

 

Ken Burns, Photo courtesy of Justin Altman

 

Filmmaker Ken Burns, who’s coming out with an 18-hour Vietnam War film to be shown over 10 evenings this month on PBS Hawai‘i, freely admits that he’s a workaholic; that he’s obsessive in his pursuit of archival material for his films; that his detractors dismiss him as long-winded.

 

And Burns can laugh at himself.

 

As he did when he was being honored as the greatest American documentary filmmaker of his generation. Stepping up to receive a lifetime achievement, he joked that he’d prepared a nine-part response.

 

He had to learn about laughter, since sadness and loss were prevailing childhood themes.

 

Burns, 64, is clear about what drives him and his compulsion to look at the past. It is the death of his mother, Lyla Burns, just before he turned 12. She had suffered from breast cancer for nearly a decade.

 

Burns remembers coming home from school or play every day and telling his ailing mother stories about what had happened, in effect sharing life with her. After she passed away, he recalls watching movies with father, Robert Burns, and seeing him cry, which was something his father didn’t do in other circumstances. That’s when young Burns says he grasped the storytelling power of film.

 

In a short video posted online at creativeplanetnetwork.com, Burns says: “I found myself becoming a documentary filmmaker, trying to tell stories and using American history to tell those stories that I wanted to tell. When you look back at it, the job that I try to do is to wake the dead. And it doesn’t seem too far a leap to understand, from that early decision to be a filmmaker, who I really want to wake up.”

 

From the earliest time that he can remember as a child, he says he knew his beloved mom was sick. He was not close to his father.

 

As a young man, he rejected chasing a Hollywood-type career. He says he innately knew, and was taught at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, that “there’s much more drama in what is and what was, than in anything the human imagination can dream of.”

 

Delivering the commencement address at Stanford University last year, Burns explained that delving into history can lead to personal and professional breakthroughs.

 

“The past often offers an illuminating and clear-headed perspective from which to observe and reconcile the passions of the present moment, just when they threaten to overwhelm us,” he told new graduates.

 

Burns wants this newest film with his creative partner Lynn Novick, about the divisive Vietnam War era, to spur national healing.

 

As he told an interviewer from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee:

 

“We caught something during the Vietnam War – like a virus – and we are still suffering from the effects of that virus today. I’m hoping my film is a bit like a vaccination – that it exposes you to a little bit of the disease to permit you to go past it and heal from it.”

 

I invite you to join me in viewing this new Burns/Novick film series, starting at 8:00 pm, Sunday, September 17, on your TV station, PBS Hawai‘i.

 

A hui hou (until next time),
Leslie Wilcoxʻ signature

 

 

INDEPENDENT LENS
National Bird

 

In this excerpt from the Independent Lens film National Bird, Heather, a former U.S. military drone pilot who is now a masseuse, talks about the emotional distress caused by knowing she was responsible for the deaths of people, something she tried to push out of her mind but found impossible to shake. “You see someone die, because you said it was okay to kill them,” she says.

 

PBS HAWAI‘I PRESENTS
Kid Kine Kurses

PBS HAWAII PRESENTS Kid Kine Kurses

 

Kid Kine Kurses harkens back to the days when local people didn’tlock their doors, kids played outside until the sun went down and friends and family got together to talk story.

 

In Lemon Tree Billiard House (1996), written by Cedric Yamanaka, Dean Kaneshiro plays a young pool hustler who believes that he was cursed as a young child. He plays the match of his life against an older version of himself…cocky, talented and also cursed. Together they face their demons over the pool table. The older pool hustler is played tongue-in-cheek by the late Ray Bumatai. The late James Grant Benton plays an exorcist, and familiar face Dan Seki plays the owner of the Lemon Tree Billiard House. Directed by Tim Savage.

 

Dancing With The Long Bone (1996) tells the story of a young girl who finds a bone buried in the forest. Innocently, she brings the bone home and a series of suspicious events unfold around her and her loved ones. The spirit of a pig hunter haunts her dreams and eventually she realizes the steps she needs to take to restore peace in her life and her household. Natalie Young stars as Mina, the young girl who learns the lesson of respect for those who have passed; Karen Keawehawaii brings her exceptional talents to the role of Minaʻs aunty; and Henry Kapono makes a cameo appearance as the pig hunter. From a story by Nora Cobb-Keller.

 

1 2 3 4 5 6