August 19, 2011

Filmmaker Ken Burns to Call for National Dialogue on Civility at National Press Club, Oct. 3

Burns' "Prohibition" Documentary Raises Questions about Democracy and Role of Government

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, director of the upcoming PBS film series Prohibition, will call for a national discourse on the tenuous relationship between civility and democracy in American history using his new film as a starting point at a National Press Club Speakers Series luncheon on Monday, October 3.


"This year as we think about the 150th anniversary of the start of our Civil War, we must remember that the lack of civility in our political language threatens the very basis of American society," Burns said. "I believe civility is essential to our ability as a nation to confront together difficult issues even when we may disagree."

Prohibition, a three-part film series chronicling the rise and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is scheduled for PBS broadcast on October 2. Mr. Burns will discuss Prohibition as one of America's most notorious civic failures as an object lesson in the challenge of legislating human behavior and its relevance to today's political discourse.

Called one of the "most influential documentary makers" of all time, Mr. Burns was honored by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with a Lifetime Achievement Award. His films have won twelve Emmy Awards and two Oscar nominations. Co-founder of Florentine Films, Mr. Burns has directed and produced such acclaimed historical documentaries as the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge, The National Parks, and the landmark The Civil War, the highest-rated series in the history of American Public Television. Future projects include films on the Dust Bowl, the Roosevelts, the Vietnam War and the Central Park Jogger case.

The Press Club luncheon will begin promptly at 12:30 p.m. Remarks will begin at 1:00 p.m., followed by a question-and-answer session. Advance reservations should be made through (202) 662-7501 or [email protected]. The cost of luncheon admission is $18 for National Press Club members, $29 for their guests, and $36 for the general public. Tickets must be purchased at time of reservation.

National Press Club Luncheons are webcast live on Follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #NPCLunch, or on Facebook at ( and Twitter (@PressClubDC). Submit questions for speakers in advance and during the live event by sending them to @QNPCLunch on Twitter. TO email a question in advance, type BURNS in the subject line and send to [email protected] before 10 a.m. on the day of event.

The Press Club is on the 13th floor, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. Credentialed press may cover this event.

About the National Press Club

The National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists with more than 3,400 members worldwide representing every major news organization. More than 250,000 people visit the Club each year to attend more than 2,000 events. The Club was founded in 1908 and is on the web at

SOURCE National Press Club