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Sacred Heart Press Release


Ric Burns, Documentary Filmmaker, PBS Writer and Producer to Speak at Best Western in Bethlehem


May 6, 2011

Abby Barlok

Publications Specialist




ALLENTOWN, PA – Ric Burns, Documentary Filmmaker, PBS Writer and Producer, will be speaking at 11:00 a.m. May 11, 2011 as part of the Celebrity Luncheon Series at the Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel & Conference Center in Bethlehem. The luncheon benefits pediatric services provided by Sacred Heart Hospital's Visiting Nurses and Hospice Program.

Who:  Ric Burns, Documentary Filmmaker, PBS Writer and Producer

What:  Ric Burns will be a guest speaker as part of Sacred Heart Hospital’s Celebrity Luncheons Series

Where:  Best Western Lehigh Valley Hotel & Conference Center, Bethlehem, PA

When:  Wednesday, May 11, 2011

10:30 a.m.: Doors open

11:00 a.m.: Speaker presentation

12:00 p.m.: Lunch

1:00 p.m.:  Questions & answers

1:30 p.m.:  DVD sales and signing in lobby *

* Time for media to get live footage of guests with speaker

Why: The Celebrity Luncheons series provides financial support for pediatric services of Sacred Heart Visiting Nurses and Hospice by providing four Celebrity Luncheons a year.  Such speakers include writers, actors, filmmakers, correspondents, etc. 

Ric Burns is an internationally recognized documentary filmmaker and writer, best known for his epic series New York: A Documentary Film, which premiered nationally on PBS to wide public and critical acclaim. The eight-part, seventeen and a half hour film chronicles the city's rise from a tiny Dutch trading post down through its continuing preeminence as the undisputed economic and cultural capital of the world.

The first five episodes of New York were broadcast in November 1999; the sixth and seventh episodes in the fall of 2001; and the eighth and final episode in September 2003. The first episodes earned the prestigious Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University award for excellence in broadcast journalism, an Emmy for outstanding achievement in non-fiction editing, and two other Emmy nominations, for outstanding non-fiction special and achievement in cinematography. In 2002, episode seven of the series was awarded the American Cinema Editors award for best edited documentary, as well the Cine Golden Eagle Award. The eighth and final episode received an Emmy and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, among other awards.

Burns has been writing, directing and producing historical documentaries for nearly 20 years, since his collaboration on the celebrated PBS series The Civil War, (1990), which he produced with his brother Ken, and wrote with Geoffrey C. Ward. He received numerous awards for his work on the series, including two Emmys (for producing and for writing), the Christopher Award, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, and the Producer of the Year Award from the Producer's Guild of America.

Since founding Steeplechase Films in 1989, he has directed some of the most distinguished programs in the award-winning public television series, American Experience, including Coney Island (1991), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to receive the Erik Barnouw prize of the Organization of American Historians. Burns also wrote and directed The Donner Party (1992), which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and received a Peabody Broadcasting Award from the University of Georgia; a Writers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Achievement of 1993; and the D.W. Griffith Award of the National Board of Review for the best television program of 1992.

In 1995, Burns wrote, directed, and co-produced The Way West, which received an Alfred I. du Pont-Columbia University award, the Writer's Guild of America Award for outstanding achievement, and the National Educational Media Network's Gold Apple Award. In April 2002, Burns completed Ansel Adams, a co-production of Steeplechase Films and Sierra Club Productions for American Experience. It received both an Emmy for Outstanding Cultural Programming and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

Mr. Burns's most recently completed projects include Eugene O'Neill (March 2006). Nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award, the film tells the story of the life and work of America's greatest and only Nobel Prize-winning playwright. The Wall Street Journal wrote: 'Superbly told narrative of America's greatest playwright that grows stronger and surer as it moves toward its end, much as O'Neill's own creative life did.' In September 2006, Burns premiered Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film as the premiere of PBS' American Masters 20th Anniversary series. New York Magazine's review read: 'Hypnotic, powerful and revealing!' The film recently received a 2006 Peabody Broadcasting Award.

Burns is co-author, with James Sanders and Lisa Ades, of New York: An Illustrated History, the companion book to the New York series, as well as co-author, with Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns, of the companion book to The Civil War. Both books are published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Burns was educated at Columbia University and Cambridge University. He lives in New York City with his wife and two young sons.

About Sacred Heart Hospital

Sacred Heart Hospital is a 233-bed Catholic medical center located in central Allentown, Pa. Founded in 1912, Sacred Heart Hospital offers a wide range of advanced medical services ranging from acute rehabilitation to bariatric services to adult psychiatric services. A network of physician practices throughout Lehigh and Northampton Counties provide complete primary and pediatric medical care to the region’s residents. Sacred Heart Hospital is nationally recognized in case management, as a Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, and its Transitional Care Facility was granted a Five-Star rating by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Sacred Heart Hospital earned Primary Stroke Center certification from The Joint Commission as well as the Silver Performance Achievement Award from the American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program. Additional information is available at www.shh.org.

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