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Thousands Gather in Santa Monica Mountains for 12-Hour Movie about the National Parks

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"We're not a travelogue, we're not a nature fim, we're not a recomendation on which lodge to stay in. It's the story how this place got started," a zealous Ken Burns said of his upcoming twelve hour documentary on the National Parks. He and his crew have spent what many dream about: six years of traveling the country from National Park to National Park exploring some of the country's most beautiful and historically and culturally significant places.

"We've been curious how our country ticks and for 30 years we made films trying to figure out who these strange and complicated people are who like to call themselves Americans," explained Burns, whose film repertoire includes documentaries on the Civil War, Baseball, Jazz and most recently, World War II. "One of the ways we reveal ourselves is in relationship to the land... There's nothing that reveals more of us than this best of all ideas that was to set aside land not just for rich folks but everybody and for all time. That's what National Parks are."

A few weeks ago in the Santa Monica Mountains, over 2,000 members of KCET gathered for a one-hour preview screening of Burns' film at Paramount Ranch, one of the many National Park areas within minutes of Los Angeles. In fact, from the popular Runyon Canyon in Hollywood running along the mountain range to the ocean, the land all part of one of the most progressively and collaboratively managed park areas in the nation. Designated in 1978 by congress as the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the 153,000 acres of land is comprised of National Park Service, state, local and private land (for more background, read LAist's intro the area).