PBS International Scores Sales for New Ken Burns Holocaust Doc


PBS International has sold Ken Burns’ latest documentary, The U.S. and the Holocaust, into Europe, Latin America, Australia and Israel.

Combining first-person accounts of Holocaust witnesses and survivors and interviews with leading historians, the six-hour documentary dispels competing myths that Americans were either ignorant of the persecution happening in Europe or were callously indifferent.

The film also tackles questions such as how racism influences policies related to immigration and refugees, as well as how governments and people respond to the rise of authoritarian states that manipulate history and facts to consolidate power.

The U.S. and the Holocaust comes from Burns, Lynn Novice and Sarah Botstein and is produced by Florentine Films. It has sold ARTE France (France, Germany), KAN 11 and SH Channel 8 (Israel), BBC (U.K.), SBS (Australia), DirecTV (Latin America), CBC (Canada), Yle (Finland), MacTV (U.K.) and RTÉ (Ireland).

“History cannot be looked at in isolation,” Burns said. “While we rightly celebrate American ideals of democracy and our history as a nation of immigrants, we must also grapple with the fact that American institutions and policies, like segregation and the brutal treatment of indigenous populations, were influential in Hitler’s Germany. And it cannot be denied that, although we accepted more refugees than any other sovereign nation, America could have done so much more to help the millions of desperate people fleeing Nazi persecution.”

Joe Barrett, VP of sales for PBS International, added, “This remarkable and thought-provoking film offers an unflinching look at the United States’ response to the Holocaust. While it is a story of an American reckoning, the film raises questions and perspectives that transcend borders. PBS International is proud to distribute this unmissable series from Florentine Films.”

PBS International will also distribute Burns’ upcoming film The American Buffalo later this year. It tells the story of America’s national mammal, which sustained the lives of Native Americans for untold generations before being driven to the brink of extinction by colonists. Much later, an unlikely collection of people rescued it from disappearing forever. The film recounts the collision of two opposing views of the natural world and the unforgettable people who pointed the nation in a different direction. It is slated for broadcast in October 2023.