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Aspirin. Nobel Prizes. Flintstones vitamins. Slavery. War crimes. Mass murder. A brilliant company that made a killing. Literally.
211 backers pledged $24,778 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

I.G. Farben/Sarin film update

Posted by Black Eye Productions (Creator)
6 likes

Hello everyone:

It's been almost a year since I checked in and wanted to let you all know that this project will get done! An independent documentary film of this scope takes time—and good things are happening.

I was in Leipzig, Germany last month to present the project to German and European broadcasters and they universally acknowledged that it is an important film to make. In the next few months we will determine which broadcaster is best to move forward with.

We are also excitedly waiting to hear back from the National Endowment for the Humanities on a major production grant we have submitted. The announcement is in December and if we get approved we will have nearly all of the money to make the film!

So fear not, your support and generous donations are not for naught. And stay tuned!

All the best,

Jonathan

Something to see!

Posted by Black Eye Productions (Creator)
8 likes

Hello everyone:

At long last, I am happy to provide a link to the section about Branko in Croatia. Thank you for all of your patience and support. Just click here (the password is croatia): 

Mind you, this is how I envision Branko's story at the end of the film. He will appear earlier when talking about his experiences at Furstengrube, the I.G. Farben underground mine that was part of the vast Auschwitz complex.

As a bonus, I am also providing a link to the new preview of the film, which now includes the history of Sarin gas and the man most responsible for bringing it into the world, Otto Ambros.

The Godfather of Sarin preview (password: sarin2014)

The preview I am keeping under wraps a bit, so later this week I will change the password. We are diligently moving forward with scripting and additional production in 2015, and hope to have the film completed by the end of next year. If any of you are moved to help with production funding, please contact me.

Happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays!

All the best,

Jonathan

P.S. If you can let me know you've received this it would help me in gauging how effective these updates are at reaching everyone. Even a simple "got it."

Way overdue update

Posted by Black Eye Productions (Creator)
7 likes

Hello everyone! if you are living anywhere on the U.S. East Coast, let me commiserate with your long and snowy winter. The good news is that we are in the home stretch!

It's been nearly eight months since I've updated you on the project, so my apologies. However, since that time the scope of the project has changed pretty dramatically. And it's all because of what is happening in Syria.

Last August, there was a chemical attack on neighborhoods near Damascus where hundreds of people were killed by the poison gas Sarin. How does this connect to I.G. Farben? Sarin is named for four German scientists who were responsible for the discovery and development of the nerve agent beginning in 1938—another deadly Nazi legacy 75 years later.

Since this incident, I have realized that something so current needs to be prominently featured in the film. So the new title of the documentary is The Godfather of Sarin, and it parallels the story of I.G. Farben with Otto Ambros, the man most responsible for bringing Sarin into the world. His life before, during, and after are a sobering reminder of how brilliant science can be perverted, and how realpolitik trumps morality.

I've been working hard to document the efforts to get the chemical weapons out of Syria. I've also been trying to gain access to the remaining tons of chemical weapons stockpiles in both the U.S. and Russia, a lesser known remnant of the Cold War. I have secured a lab where Sarin is tested for sensing devices and materials that can withstand it, and I am also working on filming something called live-agent training, where first responders are sent into a sealed room with actual Sarin to see if they can perform their duties under real conditions.

The film will also document other uses of Sarin in the last 25 years, including Saddam Hussein's chemical attack on the Kurds in 1988, and a Japanese terrorist group's release of the gas in the Tokyo subway system in 1995. 

What all of this means is that the amazing footage in Croatia that you helped to make happen is still being worked on and will be incorporated into the final film—it will just take longer with this major shift. Our original estimate of Fall of 2014 will likely now be a Summer 2015 delivery. 

I'd love to hear from you, even just to confirm that you have received this. I've heard that not everyone is receiving these updates, so it would be good feedback for Kickstarter.

Stay warm and look for updates on a more timely basis!

All the best, Jonathan

And now for something completely different

Posted by Black Eye Productions (Creator)

Hello everyone:

It has been two weeks since my return and it has been an exciting time with juggling multiple things. I am still in the process of editing the incredible footage from Croatia. Concurrently, I've had to finalize one project that just went up on the NY Times' site today about the first genetically-modified food approved in the U.S. and the impact it has had on all of us:

New York Times: Test Tube Tomato

I'm now traveling to New York to do another story on the massive 2003 blackout that knocked out power to 50 million people in the Northeast and Canada. Then a meeting with the nephew of Oriana Fallaci. I am developing a documentary on this fascinating woman. If you don't know about her you should:

Oriana Fallaci

Finally, there is a remarkable artist named Miriam Beerman, who is now in her late 80s and losing her memory. Her work is powerful and disturbing:

Miriam Beerman

She has had a tremendous career, yet her art has not been known to a broad audience. We hope that with the release of our film later this year that will change.

It's nice to keep you all updated. Oh, one more thing. I've been thinking for awhile of changing the name of the I.G. Farben film from A Deal with the Devil to Making a Killing. Please let me know what you think!

All the best, Jonathan

P.S. You can also keep track of the I.G. Farben film and any of these other projects on my company Facebook site.

Heading home

Posted by Black Eye Productions (Creator)

Hi everyone:

It's Sunday morning in Zagreb. We are about to board the plane back to the U.S., and I'm reflecting on what has been a tremendous shoot. Rijeka is a charming town on the Adriatic Sea with a fascinating and diverse history.

We were so fortunate to spend time with Branko Lustig at his Festival of Tolerance. He sat with us for around 90 minutes on Thursday for an interview and shared his experiences with poignancy, humility, and humor. The next day we followed him as he saw an exhibit of the Jewish history in Rijeka, and then as he shared his story with hundreds of Croatian teenagers. 

This has been a critical part of the I.G. Farben film to capture. It was everything and more than I expected. I hope to begin editing this week and incorporating Branko's story into the preview that you have already seen and will send it out when it is ready. Each and every one of you are responsible for making this happen. Thanks! 

All the best,

Jonathan 

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