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Ken Burns: a witness to war

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Ken Burns, perhaps the country’s most famous documentarian, is in town to screen “The War,” his PBS epic about World War II as seen through the eyes of everyday Americans. Excerpts from his 14-hour, seven-part series are being shown during the San Francisco State University Doc Film Institute’s festival, called “Witness to War: Documentary Perspectives from WWII to Iraq,” happening today through Sunday.

At 7:30 p.m. today, Burns will appear at the Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., to introduce a 90-minute compilation of the film in a presentation co-sponsored by KQED. (Tickets are $15; visit www.cityboxoffice.com.) At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Burns will appear in conversation with author Thomas Sanchez in a program that includes a screening of Part 1 of the series; each part is two hours. That event is at the Premier Theater, Letterman Digital Arts Center, Chestnut and Lyon streets, in the Presidio. (Tickets are $15; visit www.ticketweb.com.)

Additional “Witness to War” screenings on Saturday and Sunday, which are free, are at the de Young Museum’s Koret Auditorium at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in Golden Gate Park.

The program isn’t limited to film, either. San Francisco State’s International Center for the Arts is also sponsoring an art exhibit, “Witness to War: Revisiting Vietnam in Contemporary Art,” which runs through March 15 in the Fine Arts Gallery on campus, 1600 Holloway Ave. For information about all events, visit http://ica.sfsu.edu.

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