Honoring heritage: Bank of America helps to restore The Civil War documentary by Ken Burns

Aug 31, 2015

We have a longstanding commitment to supporting programs that bring the theme of heritage to life. One key partnership is that with filmmaker Ken Burns, who has served as a storyteller of American history for decades. We helped support the digital remastering of his award-winning 1990 film The Civil War, in recognition of the film’s 25th anniversary. “The re-mastering and rebroadcast of The Civil War are a testament to the timelessness of Ken’s films, which chronicle our nation’s history like no other,” said Bank of America Vice Chairman, Global Chief Strategy and Officer Anne Finucane. Bank of America has also partnered with Burns on other documentaries about the National Parks, baseball and most recently the Roosevelts.

50,000 feet of film

During the course of two months, 50,000 feet of the original 16mm film negative was scanned frame by frame for ultra-high definition. The standard definition 1990 broadcast was taken from a duplicate of the original negative, resulting in a loss of quality. This is the first time the film will be seen with the exact fidelity and framing that Burns and his co-cinematographers Allen Moore and Buddy Squires shot more than 25 years ago. “I’m beyond excited,” said Ken Burns. “For the first time, viewers will see what I saw when I looked through the lens of my camera. It is truly remarkable.” The Civil War, narrated by historian David McCullough, and featuring the voices of noted actors including Morgan Freeman, attracted an audience of 38.9 million during its premiere in September 1990. It set a record for the highest-rated PBS series broadcast, which stands today. The series has been honored with more than 40 major film and television awards, including two Emmy Awards; two Grammy Awards; Producer of the Year Award from the Producers Guild; People’s Choice Award; Peabody Award; duPont-Columbia Award; D.W. Griffith Award; and the Lincoln Prize, among dozens of others.

For more information about the broadcast and the Civil War, visit www.pbs.org/civilwar.

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