Over the years, award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns has changed the way documentaries are made with his unique style of using a mixture of photographs and video footage to tell a story. After tackling massive historical subjects like the Civil War and the settling of western America, he’s setting his sights on the origins of country music.
According to the Tennessean, Burns has been working on the film, which will give an overview of country music, its many sub-genres and its evolution, for over four years.
So far, he’s collected interviews from Willie Nelson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Roy Clark, Brenda Lee, Mel Tillis, Charley Pride, Kris Kristofferson, Jim Ed Brown, Loretta Lynn and dozens of others. Although he planned on having conversations with George Jones and Ray Price, they unfortunately passed away before he could get their viewpoints for the project.
All in all, Burns has collected over 200 hours of interviews and 40,000 photographs for the documentary. Nashville’s Mayor Megan Barry also plans to use money from the city’s “music and entertainment economic development and film initiatives” budget to help fund the film, which is currently slated for release in 2019.
Burns’ co-producer Dayton Duncan says their team just wants to give people some insight into both the history and future of country music.
“We don’t consider ourselves the last word in anything,” he explained. “We are more introducing people to parts of our history and parts of our culture that we get excited about, and we hope we can infect other people with that enthusiasm.”