FBI file #65-53615
FBI file #65-53615
The story of the Jewish American gangster plot to kill Hitler. A documentary film narrated by the historian Robert Rockaway.
The story of the Jewish American gangster plot to kill Hitler. A documentary film narrated by the historian Robert Rockaway. Read more
"FBI file #65-53615", why is our documentary named after an FBI file?
In the summer of 1989 historian Robert Rockaway was doing research in the FBI’s Washington DC archives when he first came upon file #65-53165. Officially titled “Hitler, Adolf file #65-53165,” it confirmed an outrageous and fascinating story he’d been told a year earlier by a former gangster named Abe “Dutch” Goldberg. For Professor Rockaway, this marked the start of his journey investigating a stunning story involving Jewish American gangsters, Adolf Hitler, J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, all in depression-era America.
Watch the video of Professor Rockaway introducing the story of " FBI file #65-53615 " :
Everything started one morning in May, 2016. I was waiting for my plane at Paris Charles de Gaulle going to join my film crew on the set of a documentary shooting in Spain. My flight was delayed, so I ended up surfing the web and scanning social media. And then out of the blue, perhaps by chance and certainly by fate, it caught my eye: an article titled “The Jewish Plot to Kill Hitler.”
The article appeared in the online magazine Tablet, telling the incredible story of a 1933 plot by New York - based Jewish American gangsters to kill Hitler. It was written by an Israeli-based American historian who’d made the stunning find, a Professor Robert Rockaway:
Robert Rockaway was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan in 1970. He taught at the University of Texas before moving to Israel in 1971. Since then, he has been a member of the Department of Jewish History at Tel-Aviv University, where he is a professor emeritus.
Rockaway has authored The Jews of Detroit, From the Beginning, 1760-1914 (1986); Words of the Uprooted: Jewish Immigrants in Early 20th Century America (1998); But He Was Good to His Mother: The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters (2000); a monograph, The Jews Cannot Defeat Me: The Anti-Jewish Campaign of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam (1995), as well as numerous articles on American history, American Jewish history, and modern Jewish history.
Rockaway has been a visiting professor at Brandeis University, Boston University, San Diego State University, and George Washington University; as well as a visiting scholar and guest lecturer in Detroit, Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Montreal, and Melbourne, Australia, among others. He has appeared on radio and television in Israel, the United States, and on NTV in Russia. He appeared on the Arts and Entertainment series, American Justice (“The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Mobster”), and on American Biography (“Louis Lepke,”; and "Mickey Cohen").
And just how powerful the story is becomes all too clear when you inevitably imagine what the world might have looked like if the plot uncovered in File #65-53165 had succeeded. You cannot help but think that Dutch and his crew would have been heroes, possibly derailing the bloodshed and millions of lives lost in World War II.
With this in mind I contacted Professor Rockaway immediately upon returning to Paris. Ten short days later, I landed at Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport to meet him in person. This first meeting surpassed my greatest hopes: Robert was as fascinating as his wild exposition.
For a producer it’s truly rare, even thrilling, to find both the story and the man that unearthed it, and find them both still speaking loudly.
Happily, such was the case for me, and my next move was clear: I’d make a documentary about this amazing story. Robert jumped immediately to participate in the project, eager to tell the story of his shocking discovery, and so our documentary project was born.
Having a fascinating historical subject is one thing, translating it into film is another. In deciding how best to tell the story most effectively there’s much to consider:
- What’s the best way to approach and tell a story that took place in the past, in a historically accurate way?
- Which style of storytelling and/or narration best suits the individual story? • What’s the best way to present the material?
- From whose point of view?
- What type of pacing and rhythm will be most powerful in driving the story forward?
As plans progressed, one thing was clear: only Robert Rockaway himself could tell the story of this extraordinary discovery. Robert will narrate the documentary, in effect including the viewer in every step of his investigation.
That said, the documentary’s construct will not be “typical.” It will follow how Robert actually uncovered the story, and not in a traditional documentary scheme. So viewers will experience the investigation come together piece by piece with Robert, hearing his explanation and commentary at every turn.
Reconstructed historic sequences, archival images, production design and graphic effects will give the film a distinctive signature look and style.
The global budget for the production totals $210,000 USD (175, 000 €)
Because we are committed to documenting Robert’s story on film, producers covered preliminary expenses prior to the funding campaign. This is a rare move, however these initial items were critical to launching the project. They include:
- Travel expenses to Israel
- Shooting and editing the teaser
- Documentary posters and story board
- Initial marketing and communications-related laying the groundwork for the project
These expenses amount to $20,000, reimbursement of which is included in the total budget.
The total budget breaks out as follows:
- Film shoot: 35,000
- Editing suite: 29,000
- Transportation expenses: 27,000
- Copyright: 22,000
- Graphics and animation: 17,000
- Marketing and Promotion: 15,000
- Archival footage (photos & videos): 15,000
- Production Manager: 6,000
- Music: 4,500
- intro and end credits : 4,000
- Archivist research: 4,000
- Insurance: 3,000
- Kickstarter gifts/rewards/incentives: 3,000
- Miscellaneous: 5,500
- Reimbursement of initial costs to Producer: 20,000
- Total : $210,000 USD
The Kickstarter launch is scheduled for middle April, 2018. Upon completion of a successful funding campaign, filming with Robert in Israel should start in June. Editing and production work in Paris will take place in September and October, animation, corrections and control slated for November. The launch and initial premieres are forecast for December.
Daniel Ben Chimol, Paris - Filmmaker and producer
For more than 25 years, Daniel has worked in film and TV production with various responsibilities: columnist, author, director and producer. He has worked on numerous documentaries for major French and European television channels (France 5, Arte, TMC ...).
In these last years he also participated in the production of a film series on the most beautiful gardens in the world for Arte TV (“Jardins d'ici et d’Ailleurs”) and on a famous weekly TV travel magazine “ Echappées Belles” broadcast on french national TV France 5. .
Jean Pierre Hadida, Paris - Composer
Jean Pierre Hadida is a creative talent recognized for over 30 years. Music composer for television (documentaries, series) and advertising, he is the producer and composer of the hit musical comedy “Madiba” and of "Anne" the successful musical comedy on Anne Frank.
May Kindred Boothby, England - Animation
May is an exceptional and multi-faceted graphic designer. She creates, adapts and integrates her animations in all types of audiovisual formats. Her work on the documentary " I have a message for you " illustrates her genius.
Jonathan Mimouni, Israel - Camera work and crew supervisor
Jonathan is a very passionate and highly experienced cameraman and director. He works regularly on major Israeli productions (documentaries, magazines, advertising), directing as well as supervising film and production crews. He directed the teaser for our documentary project.
Phillipe Chekroun, Paris - Film editor
Phillipe is comfortable both behind a camera and in an editing suite. He edite documentaries, short programs, corporate films and promotional footage for major companies in France. He regularly works with the renowned French television director Gérard Pullicino.
Margo Collins, Detroit - Marketing and communication
Margo is a US-based marketing and communication specialist, advising us on content and promotional strategy. She comes to this project with an extensive background working on websites of multinational Fortune 500 corporations and on a variety of digital and print campaigns.
To thank you for backing our documentary project we’re offering these rewards as unique gifts. Whatever the level of your participation, we have the perfect souvenir of this remarkable story for you to enjoy.
- An official digital " FBI file #65-53165 " poster
- An exclusive streaming link to to stream the completed film prior to release
- Exclusive Kickstarter backer news and updates
- Your name will be listed in the “Thank you to” credits at the end of the film.
- Your name on the “ FBI file #65-53615 ” Wall of Fame on our official Facebook page
- A 10 minutes skype video chat with Robert Rockaway
- An official " FBI file #65-53165 " badge
- A digital copy of the story board first pages signed by the author
- You are listed in the film credits as " Executive Producer "
- A copy of Robert Rockaway’s book sent to your doorstep
- An autographed copy of Robert’s book sent to your doorstep
- An official " FBI file #65-53165 " baseball cap
- A specially dedicated “thank you” video from Robert and the production team
- An invitation for two to the premiere in Tel Aviv ( no transportation included)
- A « 1930's mobsters » photo printed and signed by Robert Rockaway
- Private diner in Tel Aviv with Robert Rockaway
- The official " FBI file #65-53165 " polo shirt
- A genuine Borsalino hat shipped directly to your doorstep
The " FBI file #65-53165 " official poster :
The story board first page signed by the author Fernando Servin :
Your " FBI file #65-53615, a documentary film" official badge :
Robert Rockaway book : " but he was good to his mother " :
Your " FBI file #65-53615, a documentary film " official baseball cap :
Your real Borsalino hat :
Your " FBI file #65-53615, a documentary film " official polo shirt :
And, above all, our deepest gratitude for your support !
When Robert’s story became known, it caught fire with media around the world. Articles appeared in publications in the US and across Europe. With that level of interest generated internationally in Robert’s story, we have no doubt the reaction to the film documentary will be even more passionate, with enthusiastic press coverage. Such is the power of this heretofore-unknown chapter in history.
- Tablet, USA :
- The Independant, UK :
- Le Figaro, France :
- The Nouvel Observateur,France : https://www.nouvelobs.com/monde/20160525.OBS1230/le-jour-ou-les-etats-unis-ont-dejoue-l-attentat-d-un-gangster-juif-contre-hitler.html
- Le Soir, Belgium :
- Slate, France :
With our special thanks for their unflagging support from the very first day:
- Mr. Marc Haddad, Tel Aviv University friends. France
- Mr. Richard Odier, Simon Wiesenthal Center. France
Risks and challenges
After working for over a year on this project we’re convinced that "FBI file #53 65 165" will be a great documentary, sure to find an audience. We’re passionate about this story, and we want to share it with as many people as possible. To that end we already took contact with the major VOD plateforms to give the best distribution to our documentary.
The risk in achieving our funding goals is minimal, as we’re not starting from scratch. The story and shooting script are already written. The film crew is ready to start rolling and all have extensive experience in the industry. Our scope of work, production schedule and budget are reasonable.
The funds from this Kickstarter will allow us to shoot our documentary and complete post-production. Rewards will be delivered to our generous supporters when the funding goal has been met.
Finally, a heartfelt “thank you” for helping us to accomplish making what we know will be an outstanding documentary, “FBI file…”Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)