Lynn Novick: Dozen Days of Filmmakers — Day 2

Chicken & Egg Pictures is celebrating the holiday season by featuring a dozen Nest-supported women and gender non-conforming filmmakers. For more Dozen Days of Filmmakers, see here.

Lynn Novick has been making documentaries about American history for nearly thirty years. A director and producer, she has been a principal collaborator of Ken Burns since the early 1990s. Together they have been responsible for more than 60 hours of programming and some of the most critically acclaimed and top-rated documentary films and series that have aired on PBS, such as The Vietnam War, an immersive 18-hour epic that aired on PBS in the fall of 2017.

Lynn Novick. Photo courtesy of Rahoul Ghose/PBS.

Other credits include ProhibitionThe Tenth Inning, and The War.  In 1998, Novick was director and producer (with Burns) of the two-part biographical documentary Frank Lloyd Wright, for which she received a Peabody Award. The film was shown at the Sundance, Telluride, Edinburgh, and Seattle Film Festivals.

Novick directed the Nest-supported project College Behind Bars, a documentary series four years in the making which follows a handful of ambitious and inspiring incarcerated students struggling to earn degrees in one of the most rigorous liberal arts college programs in America—the Bard Prison Initiative.

Lynn Novick College Behind Bars: The Bard Prison Initiative
Production still from College Behind Bars, directed by Lynn Novick.

In the four part miniseries, the students debate and discuss American history and mathematics, philosophy and science, Moby Dick and King Lear, DuBois and Arendt, and simultaneously navigate the difficulties and cruelties of prison life and attempt to come to terms with their pasts. College Behind Bars asks several essential questions: What is prison for? Who in America has access to educational opportunity? Can we have justice without redemption?  It aired on PBS in November of 2019 and is currently available to stream on the PBS website.

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