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How to watch documentaries by Louisville filmmaker Morgan Atkinson

He’s the Ken Burns of Louisville.

A person stands in with arms crossed over a camera, while standing in a rural setting.

In 2022, Morgan Atkinson received the Media Award during the Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

Photo via Kentucky Arts Council

Last month, we told you about a newly released documentary, “This is the Ohio; Life Death Rebirth of the Beautiful River,” which chronicles the history and importance of the Ohio River — you can now stream it online for free, by the way.

Today, we’re going to document a bit more about the man behind the film, Morgan Atkinson.

  • Atkinson has produced over 20 documentaries that have aired on PBS locally and nationally.
  • A Louisvillian, Atkinson graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1974.
  • Atkinson’s father, B. M. “Buddy” Atkinson, was a television writer, penning scripts for shows like “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “The Tim Conway Show.”
  • Atkinson recieved the Media Award during the 2022 Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

Most of Atkinson’s filmography covers topics related to Louisville and Kentucky. Here are a few that really caught our eye:

“Our Library: A Louisville Documentary”

Synopsis: This doc takes a tour of Kentucky’s largest library system, exploring its value, meaning, and impacts.
Year released: 2018
How to watch: The DVD is available at LFPL

“A Way of Life: Basketball in Kentucky”

Synopsis: This film examines one of the commonwealth’s oldest and best loved pastimes — high school basketball. It follows the 1999 season, culminating in a state championship for Louisville’s Ballard High.
Year released: 1999
How to watch: Available on YouTube or stream it on Vimeo

“Beargrass: The Creek in Our Backyard”

Synopsis: Atkinson explores Louisville’s other major waterway with a slight comic touch.
Year released: 2016
How to watch: The DVD is available at LFPL or stream it on Vimeo

“Falls City”

Synopsis: This film splashes back to the 1980s when Louisville attempted to add a landmark to its waterfront — that has since gone by the wayside.
Year released: 1994
How to watch: Stream it on Vimeo

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