Aug 1, 2010

Rare Burns films available for pledge

PBS is offering two never-broadcast Ken Burns films for pledge about painter and spiritual teacher William Segal, the New York Times reports. The Segal films have only been seen in museums and a DVD, “Seeing, Searching, Being,” and have become "something of an underground commodity for devotees of Mr. Segal’s approach to self-realization," the paper notes. The third film in the trilogy will be provided as a premium.

The films are in a style much different from the PBS documentarian's usual work. They do not use the "Ken Burns effect," his trademark technique of using still shots of historical documents to tell a story. There are long periods of silence and no narrator. “These were little films that could tell themselves,” he told the paper.

Burns became intrigued with Segal after the two met in the 1970s at a drawing class. The artist's vitality "rearranged my molecules," as Burns put it.

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