"I have made a film about jazz that tries to look through jazz to see what it tells us about who we are as a people. I think that jazz is a spectacularly accurate model of democracy and a kind of look into our redemptive future possibilities."
"The empires of the future are the empires of the mind."Ken Burns on Winston Churchill
"Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future."Ken Burns on Oscar Wilde
"Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."Ken Burns on Steve Jobs
"I never think of the future - it comes soon enough."Ken Burns on Albert Einstein
"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves."Ken Burns on William Shakespeare
"I think we too often make choices based on the safety of cynicism, and what we're lead to is a life not fully lived. Cynicism is fear, and it's worse than fear - it's active disengagement."
"History is malleable. A new cache of diaries can shed new light, and archeological evidence can challenge our popular assumptions."
"You can learn as much about the history from reading about the present as you can vice versa, that is learning about the present through history, which is what I do for a living."
"I began to feel that the drama of the truth that is in the moment and in the past is richer and more interesting than the drama of Hollywood movies. So I began looking at documentary films."
"I record all of my music with authentic instruments in a studio before we start editing, doing many, many versions. The music shapes the film as we edit so it has an organic relationship to the content."