Burns, Ken: Footage from his Docu Dust Bowl is in Nolan’s Interstellar

Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has released footage from a documentary for use in a motion picture.

Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” features interview footage from Burns’s two-part PBS miniseries The Dust Bowl that recounts the impact of the Dust Bowl on the U.S. during the Great Depression of the 1930s and served as inspiration for several of Nolan’s key scenes.

“I’ve long admired Ken’s work and we watched ‘The Dust Bowl’ while researching the earth bound story aspects of Interstellar said Nolan. “The documentary is an amazing illustration of the devastating impact of a real life ecological disaster, and it was incredible to realize that the imagery Ken captured was more extreme than anything I could make up for a science fiction film.  I am grateful that with Ken’s help, we are able to share the voices of the survivors of the Dust Bowl with the audience of  Interstellar.’”

Added Burns: “As a fan of Christopher Nolan’s films, I am honored that he found inspiration in ‘THE DUST BOWL’ and am thrilled to be a part of his latest cinematic achievement.”

“The Dust Bowl,” which aired on PBS in 2012, chronicles the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history, in which the frenzied wheat boom of the “Great Plow-Up,” followed by a decade-long drought during the 1930s nearly swept away the breadbasket of the nation. Vivid interviews with twenty-six survivors of those hard times, combined with dramatic photographs and seldom seen movie footage, bring to life stories of incredible human suffering and equally incredible human perseverance. It is also a morality tale about our relationship to the land that sustains us—a lesson we ignore at our peril. The film was directed by Burns and written by his longtime writing partner Dayton Duncan.

Burns has been making documentary films for more than 30 years. Since the Oscar-nominated “Brooklyn Bridge” in 1981, he has gone on to direct and produce some of the most acclaimed historical documentaries ever made.