“The Pilgrims,” a new film by Ric Burns narrated by celebrated actor Oliver Platt, will premiere on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on PBS on Tuesday, November 24 at 8:00 PM EST, and air again on Thanksgiving Day at 9:30 PM EST (check local listings). Produced by WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, and Steeplechase Films, in association with the BBC and CTVC, this two-hour documentary endeavors to tell the true story of the Pilgrims, a small group of religious radicals whose determination to establish a separatist religious community planted the seeds for America’s founding.
A trailer for the film is available at the following link: https://youtu.be/KvBCPxktydE
Arguably one of the most fateful and resonant events of the last half millennium, the Pilgrims’ journey west across the Atlantic in the early 17th century is a seminal, if often misunderstood episode of American and world history. “The Pilgrims” will explore the forces, circumstances, personalities and events that converged to exile the English group in Holland and eventually propel their crossing to the New World; a story universally familiar in broad outline, but almost entirely unfamiliar to a general audience in its rich and compelling historical actuality.
“The Pilgrims” also features a gripping performance by the late actor Roger Rees as William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Plantation for more than 30 years and who wrote the definitive history of the early colony. Drawn from Bradford’s written account, Rees’s monologue provides the spine of the Pilgrims’ narrative, from the early formation of a separatist Protestant sect in England to a colony in the New World whose hard-fought success after a decade would trigger a massive influx of colonists throughout New England. Rees’s performance was his last on film before he passed away on July 10, 2015.
Exclusive corporate funding for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance. Major funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Major funding for The Pilgrims provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence; Lilly Endowment and The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. Additional funding for The Pilgrims provided by Rosalind P. Walter; The Annenberg Foundation; the 1772 Foundation and The Overbrook Foundation/Arthur G. Altschul Jr. Additional funding for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Public Television Viewers. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is produced for PBS by WGBH Boston.
“The Pilgrims” is written and directed by Ric Burns, edited by Li-Shin Yu, and produced by Leigh Howell, Robin Espinola, Bonnie Lafave and Ric Burns. With cinematography by Buddy Squires, ASC, Tim Cragg, Michael Chin, Brian Heller, Stephen McCarthy, Allen Moore, and Anthony Savini. Music for “The Pilgrims” is by Brian Keane. Senior Historical Advisor on the project is Nick Bunker. Executive Producers for WETA are Jeff Bieber and Dalton Delan.
About WETA Washington, D.C.
WETA Washington, D.C., is one of the largest producing stations of new content for public television in the United States. WETA productions and co-productions include “PBS NewsHour,” “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill,” “The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize,” “In Performance at the White House,” “Latino Americans,” “The Italian Americans” and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including “The Life and Times of Jackie Robinson,” premiering April 11 & 12, 2016. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO of WETA. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org.
About Steeplechase Films
Since its founding in 1989 by Ric Burns, Steeplechase Films has produced more than 30 hours of award-winning humanities programming for prime-time national broadcast on public television, including “Coney Island,” “The Donner Party,” “The Way West,” “New York: a documentary film,” “Ansel Adams,” “Eugene O’Neill,” “Andy Warhol,” “We Shall Remain: Tecumseh’s Vision.” “Into the Deep: America, Whaling and the World,” and “Death and the Civil War.” For these projects Steeplechase Films has garnered fourteen national Emmy Award nominations, five Emmy Awards, three Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, and the Erick Barnouw Award from the Organization of American Historians.
PBS PRESSROOM: http://pressroom.pbs.org/Programs/a/AMERICAN-EXPERIENCE.aspx