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May 12, 2017

Filmmaker, Revolutionary in Residence Ric Burns to Preview New Film “The Chinese Exclusion Act” May 21 at the Kimball Theatre

Partial pre-release screening of the film, to air on PBS later this year, precedes a REV Talk and Q&A with the Emmy, DuPont and Peabody award winner

Colonial Williamsburg welcomes award-winning filmmaker Ric Burns as its newest Revolutionary in Residence, in a collaboration to include a special partial pre-release screening of his forthcoming film, “The Chinese Exclusion Act,” as part of a REV Talk program May 21 at the Kimball Theatre in Merchants Square.

A writer, producer and director of historical documentaries for public television for nearly 30 years, Burns’ honors include seven Emmy Awards, three DuPont Awards, and two Peabody Awards.

“The Chinese Exclusion Act,” to air on PBS later this year, examines the 1882 law that for 61 years uniquely singled out a specific race and nationality and made it illegal for Chinese laborers to enter the United States, for Chinese nationals to become citizens, and for Chinese immigrants already here to leave the country then re-enter it. The film addresses economic, cultural, social, legal, racial and political dimensions of the law; the forces and events that gave rise to it; and the effect it has had, and continues to have, on American culture and identity.

Following the screening, Burns delivers a REV Talk presentation and fields audience questions.

“Ric Burns’ films are invaluable resources that have redefined how audiences engage with American history,” said Jim Thomas, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president of development. “His work underscores the undiminished relevance of history and embodies the spirit of the Revolutionaries in Residence program.”

Burns’ prior projects include the PBS series “The Civil War” (1990), which he produced with his brother Ken Burns and co-wrote with Geoffrey C. Ward, “Coney Island” (1991), “The Donner Party” (1992), “The Way West” (1995), “New York: A Documentary Film” (1999, 2001, and 2003) ; “Andy Warhol” (2006), “Tecumseh’s Vision” (2009), “Into the Deep: America, Whaling and the World” (2010) and “The Pilgrims” (2015).

The Revolutionaries in Residence program hosts provocative thinkers who engage audiences with fresh perspectives that embody the spirit and relevance of the Revolutionary era. Other Revolutionaries in Residence are food historian Michael Twitty and scholar and actor Chaz Mena.

The Revolutionaries in Residence program is generously sponsored by The Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Illinois.

Burns’ REV Talk begins at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and are available at Colonial Williamsburg ticketing locations including the Kimball Theatre box office, online at, or by calling 1-855-296-6627. Additional information is available by following Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook and @colonialwmsburg on Twitter and Instagram.

Media Contact:
Joe Straw