Submissions wanted for Ken Burns mental health project; “Hemingway” release date

Washington, DC-based PBS outlet WETA has announce a national call for audio submissions for inclusion in an upcoming project executive produced by Ken Burns, Hiding in Plain Sight: Our Mental Health ...
December 8, 2020

Washington, DC-based PBS outlet WETA has announce a national call for audio submissions for inclusion in an upcoming project executive produced by Ken Burns, Hiding in Plain Sight: Our Mental Health Crisis (w/t).

Hailing from filmmakers Chris and Erik Ewers of Ewers Brothers Productions, the two-part, four-hour film is the foundation piece of a national awareness campaign about health called Well Beings, with a focus on youth mental health through the Youth Mental Health Project.

Well Beings looks to demystify mental health through storytelling, featuring a series of documentaries that will begin with Hiding in Plain Sight (w/t). The film will premiere on PBS in the spring of 2022 as part of a multi-year campaign that will include feature documentaries, short-form content, user-generated storytelling, a digital and social media campaign and educational curriculum created by WETA.

In their audio submissions, users can answer prompts on the subject of mental health, including: What does it feel like? How do you cope with your challenges? Are there any specific moments that may have contributed to your mental health challenges? How do you feel around other people? Who/what makes you feel supported?

“We have traveled the country to hear the stories of young people courageously tackling a wide-range of mental health issues,” said the filmmakers. “We’ve come to appreciate that there’s a chorus of activity across the country, with young people engaging one another, sharing best practices and truly opening up about issues that for too long have been stigmatized and suppressed. We’re hopeful that this call for submissions will result in more young people sharing their stories, something we believe will help other people and also help us as filmmakers better capture what is taking place throughout the country.”

Multiple submissions of up to three minutes each will be accepted. Submissions may be featured in the documentary series or on

Submissions can be uploaded via this link.

In other Ken Burns news, the upcoming three-part, six-hour documentary series Hemingway, directed by award-winning filmmakers Burns and Lynn Novick (The Vietnam WarProhibition), is slotted for release on PBS April 5 to 7, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Narrated by Peter Coyote, the series features an all-star cast that includes Jeff Daniels as the author, with Meryl Streep, Keri Russell, Mary Louise Parker and Patricia Clarkson as his four wives.

The documentary — written by Geoffrey C. Ward and produced by Sarah Botstein, both long-time collaborators of Burns and Novick – paints an intimate picture of iconic novelist Ernest Hemingway, while also penetrating the “man’s man” myth of Hemingway “to reveal a deeply troubled and ultimately tragic figure.”

The films serve as a close study of the biographical events in the author’s life with excerpts from his writings, while also interweaving interviews with celebrated writers, scholars and Hemingway’s son, Patrick.

Hemingway is a production of Florentine Films and WETA. It’s directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, written by Geoffrey C. Ward, and produced by Burns, Novick and Sarah Botstein. Original music is produced by Johnny Gandelsmen, with additional music created by longtime Florentine collaborator David Cieri.

Hemingway is both an intimate, turbulent family saga and an examination of some of the greatest works of American literature in the 20th century,” said Burns. “The documentary attempts to show how flawed our assumptions about Ernest Hemingway and his writing have been. At the same time, we are unsparing in our inquiry into less well-known aspects of his character and writing. Our intent is to offer viewers an honest portrayal of a complex and conflicted writer who left an indelible mark on literature.”

With files from Daniele Alcinii

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