Via Zoom: Sarah Burns on ‘The Central Park Five,’ ‘Jackie Robinson’ & “Muhammad Ali’

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CHICAGO – Say the name “Ken Burns” and immediately images are evoked regarding the best of American documentaries. For three films – “The Central Park Five,” “Jackie Robinson” and the latest PBS documentary series, “Muhammad Ali” – Ken’s daughter Sarah Burns co-directed with him. Sarah talked to Patrick McDonald of on the three landmark films.

Sarah Burns joined her father Ken in documentary production with “The Central Park Five” in 2012. Expanding upon her undergrad thesis, the father/daughter duo – along with Sarah’s husband David McMahon – took on the case of five black youths wrongly accused of attack and rape in Central Park (a case where Donald Trump infamously took out a full page newspaper ad condemning the five before their trial). Their next collaboration was “Jackie Robinson” (2016), a four hour life story of the famous baseball pioneer. “Muhammad Ali” marks the third film for the writing/directing team.

’The Central Park Five,’ Co-Directed by Sarah Burns
Photo credit: PBS

In Part Two of the interview, Sarah Burns expands upon her three collaborations with her father and husband …

A promo for “Muhammad Ali” …

A promo for “The Central Park Five” …

A promo for “Jackie Robinson” …

CLICK HERE for Part One of the interview with Sarah Burns, by Patrick McDonald of

The ”Muhammad Ali” documentary series is currently available through PBS. See local listings for PBS channel in your area, and CLICK HERE for streaming. Co-directed by Sarah Burns, Ken Burns and David McMahon. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

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© 2021 Patrick McDonald,

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