New Documentaries and Online Events Examine Life of Ernest Hemingway

Two upcoming documentaries — one national and one produced in Idaho — examine the life and works of writer Ernest Hemingway. Two companion online discussions will give viewers the opportunity to hear from the filmmakers behind these documentaries along with special guests. Look for the registration links in the event descriptions below.

Documentary: ‘Idaho’s Hemingway’ on Idaho Experience

Many Idahoans are familiar with the basics of Ernest Hemingway’s Idaho story: the celebrities, the promotion for the new Sun Valley resort, the love for hunting — and that he died by suicide at his home along the Big Wood River. For a lot of people, that’s about it — until now. The upcoming Ken Burns documentary about Hemingway offered Idaho Public Television’s original series Idaho Experience an opportunity to tell a companion story about Hemingway’s life in Idaho.

Idaho’s Hemingway (airing Thursday, March 4, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 14, at 6 p.m.) explores how the time he spent in Idaho from 1939 to 1961 influenced the writer’s life, his work, his friends and his wife, Mary. By looking for the traces of Hemingway that remain in Ketchum, the film explores what the Hemingway story tells us about our state’s cultural landscape, in Hemingway’s time and ours. “The Community Library staff helped us examine the most important Hemingway materials in his Ketchum home and in its history center’s collection,” says producer Bill Manny. “The art, the books, the tools of his trade, they all give us a glimpse into the life of this complicated man who redefined writing and celebrity in the 20th century.”

Local broadcast of Idaho’s Hemingway is made possible with support from Idaho Central Credit Union.

Documentary: ‘Hemingway’

Ernest Hemingway, the iconic literary figure considered one of the greatest American writers and among the first to live and work at the treacherous nexus of art and celebrity, is the subject of this three-part, six-hour documentary series directed by filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Hemingway airs Monday-Wednesday, April 5-7, at 7 p.m. and again at 9 p.m.) on Idaho Public Television.

The film paints an intimate picture of the writer — who captured on paper the complexities of the human condition in spare and profound prose, and whose work remains deeply influential around the world — while also penetrating the myth of Hemingway the man’s man, to reveal a deeply troubled and ultimately tragic figure. The film also explores Hemingway’s limitations and biases as an artist. It interweaves a close study of the biographical events of the author’s life with excerpts from his fiction, nonfiction and short stories, informed by interviews with celebrated writers, scholars and Hemingway’s son, Patrick.

Local broadcast of Hemingway is made possible with support from Delta Dental of Idaho and the Idaho Humanities Council.

Online Event: ‘Hemingway and the Natural World’

PBS is hosting a series of eight free online discussions to illuminate topics discussed in the Burns/Novick documentary. Conversations on Hemingway: A Virtual Event Series will take place via Zoom on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning Feb. 23 and continuing through March 18, with a final event on March 24.

On March 2 at 5/4 p.m. Mountain/Pacific, Idaho Public Television and The Community Library in Ketchum will present one of these discussions, “Hemingway and the Natural World.” The conversation will include Ken Burns, producer Sarah Botstein, and writer Terry Tempest Williams, who was The Community Library’s 2019 Hemingway Distinguished Lecturer. The discussion about Hemingway’s connection to the natural world will be moderated by The Community Library’s executive director, Jenny Emery Davidson, and will feature clips from the Burns/Novick documentary. Register for this free event here.

Online Event: ‘Idaho’s Hemingway: A Free Virtual Discussion’

On Thursday, March 25, at 6/5 p.m. Mountain/Pacific, Idaho Public Television will host a free discussion as a companion to the Idaho Experience documentary Idaho’s Hemingway. The film’s producer, Bill Manny, will lead a conversation from the Hemingway House in Ketchum with special guests Jenny Emery Davidson, executive director of The Community Library in Ketchum; poet Richard Blanco; and Hemingway scholar Stacey Guill. Manny will discuss the making of the documentary and discuss the impact of Hemingway’s years in Idaho on his life, works and personal relationships. Register for this free event here.

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