PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns has gotten local research help for his latest documentary on the Dust Bowl.

Jim Pontarelli is president of the Providence-based communications agency RDW Group. He sifted through as many as 1,500 photographs from the Farm Security Administration collection at the Library of Congress as research for the film. "The Dust Bowl" airs Sunday and Monday on PBS.

Pontarelli became familiar with the collection while working for then-Rhode Island Sen. John Chafee on Capitol Hill more than 30 years ago when he was an aspiring photographer.

When he met Burns a few years ago and learned he was doing a film on the Dust Bowl, he jumped at the opportunity to help.

Pontarelli says the poignant images and the stories behind them hooked him on the collection.