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Franklin Theatre to Host Showing of Ken Burns’ Newest Film

See the special preview screening at the historic Franklin Theatre on Monday, September 25.

The historic Franklin Theatre will host an early preview of The American Buffalo, a new film directed by Ken Burns on Monday, September 25. Excerpts of the film will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Senator Bill Frist, global chair of The Nature Conservancy, featuring Dayton Duncan, the film’s writer, Dr. Dwayne Estes, executive director of the Southeastern Grasslands Institute and Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian Jon Meacham.

The Franklin community will be among the first in the country to receive a preview of the highly anticipated film weeks before it airs nationally on Oct. 16 and 17 on PBS and be one of the few locations to host the film’s writer Duncan in person. Duncan is also the author of the companion book, Blood Memory: The Tragic Decline and Improbable Resurrection of the American Buffalo, to be published in early November.

“We’re so proud to welcome the most talented people working in documentary filmmaking for a very special evening in Franklin at the historic Franklin Theatre,” said Tracy Frist, philanthropist and host of the event. “Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan are celebrated American treasures, so to host Dayton Duncan and be among the first to be treated to a preview of Ken Burns’s newest film is an opportunity that does not come along often.”

Continued Frist, “As a community that so deeply values history and its preservation, the story will resonate with Franklin and Middle Tennessee. We’re so excited to be able to showcase the very best of American storytelling on literally one of America’s most celebrated Main Streets.”

Tickets are available on the Franklin Theatre’s website. All proceeds will go to The Better Angels Society, Heritage Foundation of Wiliamson County, and The Franklin Theatre.

The American Buffalo | A New Documentary from Ken Burns | PBS

About The American Buffalo

It’s the biography of an improbable, shaggy beast found at the center of many of the country’s most mythic and heartbreaking tales. Journey through more than 10,000 years of North American history and across some of the continent’s most iconic landscapes, tracing the mammal’s evolution, its significance to the Great Plains and, most importantly, its relationship to the Indigenous People of North America.

“It is a quintessentially American story,” Ken Burns said, “filled with unforgettable stories and people. But it is also a morality tale encompassing two historically significant lessons that resonate today: how humans can damage the natural world and also how we can work together to make choices to preserve the environment around us. The story of the American buffalo is also the story of Native nations who lived with and relied on the buffalo to survive, developing a sacred relationship that evolved over more than 10,000 years but which was almost completely severed in fewer than 100.”

For thousands of generations, buffalo have evolved alongside Indigenous people who relied on them for food and shelter, and, in exchange for killing them, revered the animal. The stories of Native people anchor the series, including the Kiowa, Comanche and Cheyenne of the Southern Plains; the Pawnee of the Central Plains; the Salish, Kootenai, Lakota, Mandan-Hidatasa, Aaniiih, Crow, Northern Cheyenne and Blackfeet from the Northern Plains; and others.

The film includes interviews with leading Native American scholars, land experts and Tribal Nation members. Among those interviewed were Gerard Baker (Mandan-Hidatsa), George Horse Capture, Jr. (Aaniiih), Rosalyn LaPier (Blackfeet of Montana and Métis), N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa), Marcia Pablo (Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai), Ron Parker (Comanche), Dustin Tahmahkera (Comanche) and Germaine White (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes).

For more information on the film, visit the PBS website.



About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.