The Filmmakers | Lynn Novick

Lynn Novick

Filmmaker Lynn Novick has been making documentaries about American history for nearly twenty-five years. A director and producer, she has been a principal collaborator of Ken Burns since the early 1990s and together they have been responsible for more than 60 hours of programming, some of the most critically acclaimed and top-rated documentary films and series that have aired on PBS. Currently Novick is directing and producing — with Burns — The Vietnam War, a 14-16 hour series about the history and meaning of the conflict, airing in 2016, and Ernest Hemingway, a two-part biography of the writer slated for broadcast in 2019.  Novick is also directing A Liberating Education, which explores the personal and intellectual transformation of incarcerated men and women in a highly successful prison education program. Sarah Botstein is producing the film; Burns is its executive producer.

In 2011, Novick directed and produced (with Burns) Prohibition, a three part, five and a half hour series that was viewed by 22 million in its premiere broadcast, and received three Emmy nominations. The film tells the story of the rise, reign, and fall of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and all of its consequences – intended and otherwise. Prohibition raises vital questions that are as relevant today as they were 100 years ago – about means and ends, individual rights and responsibilities, the proper role of government, and finally, who is – and who is not – a real American.

In 2010, Novick was director and producer (with Burns) and writer (with Burns and David McMahon) of The Tenth Inning, a four hour update of the 1994 series, Baseball which brought the tumultuous story of our national pastime up to the present day.

In 2007 she was director and producer (with Burns) of The War, an epic seven-part series that told the story of the Second World War through the personal accounts of nearly 40 men and women from four American towns. The series explored the most intimate human dimensions of the greatest cataclysm in history and demonstrated that in extraordinary times, there are no ordinary lives.  The War received 3 Emmy awards as well as the Television Critics’ Association award for best news and information program of 2007.

In 1998, Novick was director and producer (with Burns) of two-part biographical documentary, Frank Lloyd Wright, for which she received a Peabody Award.  The film was shown at the Sundance, Telluride, Edinburgh and Seattle Film Festivals.

In 1994, she produced the most-watched series in the history of public television, Burns’s nine-part, 18 hour series, Baseball, (1994) for which she received an Emmy Award.

In 2001, Novick produced Burns’s 10-part series, Jazz, which explores in detail the culture, politics and dreams that gave birth to jazz music and follows this most American of art forms from its origins in blues and ragtime through swing, bebop and fusion. Jazz was nominated for five Emmy Awards.

Novick came to Florentine Films in 1989 to work on Burns’s landmark 1990 series, The Civil War, as associate producer for post production.  She previously served as researcher and associate producer for Bill Moyers on two PBS series: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth and A World of Ideas with Bill Moyers. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale with honors in American Studies, she lives in New York City.