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July 27: Ken Burns and Beau Willimon in Conversation

Hampshire College invites the public to a discussion by Ken Burns and Beau Willimon on Sunday, July 27 at 2 p.m. in Franklin Patterson Hall.

Beau Willimon is the playwright and screenwriter who developed the American version of House of Cards. Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is a graduate of Hampshire College.

They will compare and contrast the Roosevelt family, the subject of Burns’ latest documentary, and the Underwoods, the main protagonists of the Netflix series House of Cards.

Burns and Willimon will specifically compare strategies and aspirations of the real-life Roosevelt dynasty, the subject of Burns’s upcoming PBS series The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, and the fictional Underwoods. Dissecting clips of the Roosevelts and Underwoods in action, Burns and Willimon will comment on the role of government and the nature of political compromise, as well as how leaders grapple with their own strengths and weaknesses.

The discussion is part of Hampshire College’s Creative Media Institute, a four-week summer program for professionals, emerging artists, and undergraduates working in film, video, photography, and new media.


Charlotte Cook, Creative Media Institute curator for the week, will moderate the Burns and Willimon conversation. Cook is director of programming for Hot Docs, Canada’s premier documentary film festival.

Beau Willimon is a screenwriter, playwright, and producer. He is the creator of Netflix’s original series House of Cards for which he serves as showrunner and executive producer. House of Cards recently made television history, earning nine Emmy nominations, including Best Drama, the first online streaming show to ever be so honored. The Producers Guild recently nominated Willimon and fellow producers for the Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama.

For more information on the Creative Media Institute, please email program director Andrew Hart at, or phone 413.559.6988.

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