Summit ’21: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, A+E’s Rob Sharenow join keynote line-up

The agenda for the 2021 Realscreen Summit Virtual Marketplace, taking place from January 25 to February 4, is now live, with the first wave of keynotes for the event now ...
October 29, 2020

The agenda for the 2021 Realscreen Summit Virtual Marketplace, taking place from January 25 to February 4, is now live, with the first wave of keynotes for the event now confirmed.

Joining the virtual event for special keynote interviews are acclaimed documentary filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, and A+E Networks president of programming Robert Sharenow.

In their keynote conversation, taking place on Friday, January 29 from 12-1 p.m. ET, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick will discuss their upcoming film Hemingway, a three-part series on the life and art of the writer that will air on PBS in April, 2021. The filmmakers will also discuss the role of documentary filmmaking in our current sociopolitical climate, and the interrelationship between documentary and non-fiction content, and the mandate of public television.

Ken Burns has been making documentary films for more than 40 years. Since the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge in 1981, Burns has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made, including The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; The Roosevelts: An Intimate History; Jackie Robinson; The Vietnam War; and Country Music.

A December 2002 poll conducted by Realscreen listed The Civil War as second only to Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North as the “most influential documentary of all time,” and named Ken Burns and Robert Flaherty as the “most influential documentary makers” of all time. David Zurawick of the Baltimore Sun called Burns “not only the greatest documentarian of the day, but also the most influential filmmaker period. That includes feature filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.” His films have been honored with dozens of major awards, including 16 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations; and in September of 2008, at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, Burns was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

For more than 30 years, Lynn Novick has been directing and producing landmark documentary films for PBS about American life and culture, history, politics, sports, art, architecture, literature, and music. In collaboration with Ken Burns, she has created more than 80 hours of acclaimed programming — including The Vietnam War, Prohibition, Frank Lloyd Wright, The War, Jazz, Baseball, and The Tenth Inning. Her debut as a solo director, College Behind Bars, premiered at the New York Film Festival and aired on PBS in 2019, and later received two Emmy nominations.

Future projects from Burns and Novick include the upcoming Hemingway, set to debut on PBS in April, a six-hour examination of America’s response to the Holocaust; and a series on the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Realscreen is also thrilled to announce that Robert Sharenow, president of programming for A+E Networks, will join the Realscreen Summit Virtual Marketplace for a keynote conversation on February 2 from 12:15-1:15 p.m. ET.

In his role, Sharenow is responsible for overseeing all content for the entire A+E portfolio of networks, including A&E, Lifetime and The History Channel. Under Sharenow’s leadership, A&E has become a leader in thought-provoking non-fiction programming with Emmy Award-winners, Intervention and Biography among other award-winning series; Lifetime is a leading platform for women in front of and behind the camera including more than 150 original movies per year, the impactful No. 1 limited series on cable, Surviving R. Kelly and the top-rated non-fiction series Married at First Sight; and The History Channel is the home to the No. 1 non-fiction series on cable, The Curse of Oak Island, and the definitive documentaries on the most prolific figures and moments in our history — including the No. 2 mini-series on cable in 2020, Grant, executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

In this keynote interview, Sharenow will discuss current trends in unscripted and non-fiction programming, as well as his thoughts on the challenges of creating and slating content in the midst of the current pandemic. He will be interviewed by the host of A&E’s upcoming new series, I Survived a Crime, award-winning ABC News reporter Gio Benitez.

Stay tuned for more keynote announcements in the days ahead. For more information on the Realscreen Summit Virtual Marketplace, including how to register, visit the official site.

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