GM Says Goodbye to PBS Filmmaker Ken Burns
According to the Detroit News, the 22-year-old relationship between the Detroit-based automaker and the filmmaker, who is a graduate of Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School, will come to an end this year. Starting with 1999, GM agreed to pay 35 percent of each film's budget and educational programs related to each documentary about the nation's wars, jazz and baseball made by Burns for the public television.
"Ken has had a wonderful relationship with GM from the Civil War through the parks film and feels very close to everyone there," said Dave Donovan, a Burns spokesman. "I also know he is incredibly thankful for what they've done. As a partner, they have allowed him to tell many stories about American life that would either not have been told or told in a different way. It was an extraordinary contribution to public television and to filmmaking and of course greatly appreciated by Ken."
The last film for which the automaker contributed substantially is "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," a six-part series to be launched this autumn.
"As for going forward, the agreement that expires this year was in place for the last 10 years so we've known for some time that this would be the last film with General Motors," the spokesman added.
As for GM, the Detroit automaker confessed it regrets the end of their partnership with Burns but the financial crisis has forced it to resort to such extreme measures in order to avoid bankruptcy.
However, the end of their partnership with Burns doesn't mean their connection with the movie industry is over. As we reported in a previous news, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm encourages the development of a movie production facility to boost the film business in the ruins of GM. The studio is going to be built in a shuttered General Motors Corp.