Skip to content Skip to navigation

Thomas Burns

Thomas Burns

Documentary Film and Video


Thomas Burns is an award-winning cinematographer with a deep interest in design and the narrative experience. His background, which includes international development, print, and photographic work, informs an underlying aesthetic commitment to exploring the visceral relationship between producer and consumer, artist and audience. He holds a master's degree in film production from Stanford University, where one of his films won a Student Academy Award.


Enersen Foundation Production Grant, 2002
Stan Bohrman Memorial Scholarship, 2002
Stanford's Institute for International Studies and the Center for Russian & East European Studies Summer Grant, 2001

Red, Hot and Blue

digital video

JUNE, 2002
Red, Hot and Blue chronicles the epic struggle of Soviet musicians to establish as revolution in the face of the regime's immense efforts to repress popular culture. Throughout its evolution from a borrowed American dance craze to a capitalist bourgeois threat to a mainstream art form, jazz behind the Iron Curtain resisted decades of Stalinism's political legacy to emerge as a champion of artistic expression in the USSR. This film is the story of Soviet jazz as revolution in its fight for legitimacy and in its struggle to find its own voice.

Revolutions Per Minute

16mm color film

JUNE, 2001
The advent of digital sound ended the era of vinyl records. Or did it? Revolutions Per Minute explores the fate of vinyl in the twenty-first century, it's seductive quality, and the reason it survives today, despite all odds.

Awards, Festivals, and Screenings

Bronze Medal, Student Academy Award, 2002
Ann Arbor Film Festival, 2002
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, 2002


digital video

Co-directed by Eriko Yamato
MARCH, 2001

Locomotive engineers face the threat of unavoidable track fatalities every day, both on the job and off. Nevertheless, most engineers love their work and it is precisely this commitment that compels them to endure the extreme stress and trauma that characterizes life behind the wheel of a railroad engine. Train examines the testimonies of several veteran engineers and contrasts our experience of riding trains with the often gruesome reality of driving them.

Cowboy Poker

16mm black and white film


Cowboy Poker is a portrait of an American bullfighter whose weekly dances with rodeo bucking bulls has saved the lives of countless bullriders. Often mistaken for rodeo clowns, rodeo bullfighters make a living facing down death and learn a thing or two in the process.