Doc News: Ken Burns Tourism; Colin Hanks Reaches Goal; Netflix Removes “Death Scenes”


– Any documentary fans looking for summer vacation ideas? Well, as was announced last fall, Ken Burns is now involved in the tourism industry with a company called Tauk. Through the partnership, the filmmaker has produced a series of “filmed narratives” called “Stories by Ken Burns” which coincide with special Burns-inspired trips (titled) “Crafted by Tauk & Ken Burns.” One involves places featured in his “Civil War” series while another, based on his “National Parks” series, takes you through the national parks of the southwest. One-day-only trips called “Ken Burns Events” are also offered, one tied to “Civil War” (which happened in May) and another based on his “Jazz” series. It’s kind of like Alamo Drafthouse’s Rolling Roadshow in a way, bridging cinephiles with special cine-tourism opportunities, yet these are more about pre-existing significance as opposed to locations turned famous by films.

Check out a trailer/ad for the tours and events after the jump.

– More proof of how celebrity involvement gets documentaries made: 5 days after a whole slew of major movie blogs posted about Colin Hanks’ Tower Records doc, “All Things Must Pass,” the production reached its initial $50,000 goal on Kickstarter. At least it’s something Hanks is passionate about and he’s directing himself. Also, in spite of all the “why doesn’t he ask his dad for the money” complaints on Twitter, it’s pretty cool that he’s both doing the grassroots thing and encouraging it for others, whether or not they have a super famous father.

– Perhaps Tom Hanks could have lent some influence to Oscar nominee Sam Pollard (“4 Little Girls”), whose latest documentary ran into trouble in Alabama. Shooting his non-fiction adaptation of Douglas A. Blackmon’s “Slavery By Another Name” back in March, Pollard was denied access by the entire community of Centreville to parts of their town which were to be used for reenactment footage, likely because the film adds negative repute to the area. Actually, instead of Hanks, maybe Lars von Trier would have been better suited as a sponsor (because of “Manderlay”). The film will air on PBS in 2012.

– Following a number of complaints over the weekend about Netflix streaming the controversial doc video series “Death Scenes” (there’s three installments), the rental service has removed the titles completely. I haven’t seen the videos and I’m a bit conflicted over whether or not this is too much of a censorship issue now. But whatever, I guess people who want to see that stuff can find it elsewhere easily. I would like to point out, though, that if you want to ban stuff with scenes of real death, the hundreds of films featuring the 9/11 WTC footage also qualify.

“Cave of Forgotten Dreams” crossed the $3 million mark over the weekend and is actually now the filmmaker’s highest grossing documentary (in the U.S. that is), just passing over “Grizzly Man.” Meanwhile, according to the film’s Twitter, “Senna” now holds the record for best opening of a UK-produced documentary in the UK. Let’s hope it’s a big success in the U.S. when it opens here in August.

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About Christopher Campbell
I am a blogger for Documentary Channel and Movies.com, where I write the Doc Talk column. I prefer real stories to fake ones. I tweet here: @thefilmcynic

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