The worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, “the dust bowl,” caused by the heedless actions of thousands of individual farmers, encouraged by their government and influenced by global markets, resulted in a collective tragedy that nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation. This decade-long natural catastrophe is chronicled in all of its complexity and profound human drama in a new film by iconic filmmaker Ken Burns. He previews his new documentary with clips and discussion, along with writer and producer Dayton Duncan and producer Julie Dunfey, in this special evening. The film combines both oral history, using compelling interviews with 30 survivors, along with a historical accounting of what happened and why during the 1930s on the Southern Plains when the skies withheld their rains and pillars of dust choked out the mid-day sun. The Dust Bowl reveals an epic of human pain and suffering, causing the largest exodus in the nation’s history. Mirroring this morality tale about our relationship to the land that sustains us, the film also tells a story of heroic perseverance and examines the roles and limits of government. The film combines Florentine Films’ standard elements of narration and commentary by historians along with photographs, footage and music from the period. Directed and produced by Ken Burns. Written and produced by Dayton Duncan. Produced by Julie A. Dunfey.

The Dust Bowl

2012 US 60 min
Festival Year: 2012
Types: Documentary
Topic: Climate Change, Environmental Advocacy and Justice, Global Perspectives, Sustainable Living