At any given moment, there are some truly talented film makers at work in Los Angeles

Some years ago, I wrote several documentary films for PBS. It was a very simple and direct
process. My producer and I made a proposal to the head of PBS. We wanted to do a film
about Thoreau, and a five-part series on America’s continuing “search for community.” The
head of PBS approved both projects. We went to work.

From start to finish, the Thoreau project went smoothly. Thoreau was a very passionate
writer, and a very eloquent speaker, and his books are more relevant today than ever. If
he were alive now, he would be raging about man’s unwillingness to take the steps we
must take to survive the climate change that is overtaking our planet.

We only completed two of the five-part series, because PBS was asked by some bureaucrats
to hire some alleged scholars to work with us. We didn’t need them, and wouldn’t hire them
and so our series of five shrank to a pair of two.

For some time. Ken Burns has had a “special” relationship with PBS, a virtual PBS monopoly, and makes much-trumpeted appearances at PBS fund raisers. His films are very nice, but they are Ken Burns’ tidy takes on America. And surely PBS should be showing a broad mix of films by the best and brightest film makers they can find.

Burns has had a long run. It’s time to turn the cameras over to a variety of film makers.


PBS There’s also a foundation that’s devoted exclusively to fund his PBS projects.