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in Filmmaking
on Mar 9, 2009

The economic crisis has hit filmmaker Ken Burns. As reported in the Detroit News, General Motors, which has been a major funder of the director, is ceasing its support due to its own economic woes.

From the piece by Robert Snell:

The cash crunch ends a 22-year relationship between GM and Burns, a graduate of Ann Arbor’s Pioneer High School and award-winning filmmaker who has created documentaries for public television about the nation’s wars, jazz and baseball, among others. Under a 10-year deal that started in 1999, GM paid for 35 percent of each film’s budget and funded educational outreach programs tied to each documentary.

While exact figures were not available, GM has spent millions underwriting Burns’ films. The last film made under the deal is The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, a six-part series that airs this fall…

Under the GM deal, Burns and his production company, Florentine Films, agreed to produce one film a year. GM provided funding to support production, marketing and educational programs.

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