An ongoing series of award-winning primetime specials examining the lives, works, and creative processes of our most outstanding cultural artists. Created in 1984, the series is both a celebration and an exploration of creativity in America, documenting the role important individuals, groups, and movements have played in the formation of our cultural identity.
American Masters Previous Broadcasts
A Letter to Elia (Episode #2305)
KQED Life: Sat, Jun 29, 2013 -- 10:30 PM
His name was brought front and center to the world again during the buzz and build-up to the March 1999 Academy Awards. Elia Kazan was to be recognized with an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement, an honor that divided Hollywood and fueled social commentary across the country. Then 89 years old and best remembered for his film directing in the 1950s -- On the Waterfront, East of Eden, A Streetcar Named Desire, Gentleman's Agreement, A Face in the Crowd -- Kazan remained a controversial figure. To many, he was personally and permanently emblematic of the sin of "naming names" before HUAC in the darkest days of the Hollywood Blacklist. To others, his extraordinary body of work deserved honors, despite any questionable behavior. One of his strongest supporters was Martin Scorsese, the director of this documentary. The film is a meditation on the nature of art and influence.
- KQED Life: Sun, Jun 30, 2013 -- 4:30 AM
Garrison Keillor: The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes (Episode #2204)
KQED Life: Mon, Jun 24, 2013 -- 8:00 PM
America's foremost humorist and commentator, Garrison Keillor, is a public man who remains an enigma to many. Peter Rosen's revealing documentary goes behind the scenes of America's most popular radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, and inside the imagination of the man who created it. In this intimate portrait of our "everyman philosopher," we begin to understand the man whose stories reflect the American tradition so well.
- KQED Life: Tue, Jun 25, 2013 -- 2:00 AM
Harper Lee: American Masters (Episode #2504)
KQED 9: Fri, Jun 14, 2013 -- 10:00 PM
Reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" has been a national pastime for five decades - it is still selling nearly a million copies a year, its classic popularity and power are a common reference. And the courtroom image of Gregory Peck, as the passionate Atticus Finch, gave us an enduring picture for the novel's message. Behind it all was a young Southern girl named Nelle Harper Lee, who once said she wanted to be Alabama's Jane Austen.
This program explores her life and unravels its mysteries, particularly why she never published again. Illuminated with family photos, revealing personal letters and an exclusive interview with her sister, Alice Finch Lee (100 years old), the film is steeped in the texture of the novel's Deep South and the social changes it inspired. Tom Brokaw, Rosanne Cash, Anna Quindlen, Scott Turow, Oprah Winfrey and Andrew Young reflect on how "Mockingbird" shaped their lives.
- KQED Life: Sun, Jun 16, 2013 -- 4:00 AM
- KQED Life: Sat, Jun 15, 2013 -- 10:00 PM
- KQED 9: Sat, Jun 15, 2013 -- 4:00 AM
Neil Young: Don't Be Denied (Episode #2203)
KQED Plus: Tue, Jun 11, 2013 -- 11:00 PM
Neil Young grants rare and unprecedented access for this documentary in which he traces his musical journey in his own words. The film includes new interviews shot in New York and California and utilizes previously unseen performance footage from the star's own extensive archives. It also features cohorts Stephen Stills, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Nils Lofgren and James Taylor. From his first success with Buffalo Springfield to the bi-polar opposites of mega-stardom with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and the soulful rock of Crazy Horse, Young's career has enjoyed many guises. The film takes Young through his rise in the '60's, his solo artist period in the '70's, his '80's embrace of the New Wave, and it ends with Young still refusing to be denied, pursuing a more eclectic musical approach but also touring in the USA with Crosby Stills Nash & Young and teaming on occasion with Crazy Horse.
- KQED Plus: Wed, Jun 12, 2013 -- 5:00 AM