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The story of Whittaker Chambers, an American defector from communism and the author of the spiritual classic Witness.

A feature-length documentary about Whittaker Chambers, journalist, theologian, and one of the great anti-communists of the 20th Century. Chambers was born in 1901 and died in 1961. His book, Witness (1952), is a political classic, but perhaps more importantly a spiritual classic. Chambers had insight into the human condition and the value of human suffering that transcended his time. He has been compared to Dante and Augustine. He was a member of the communist party after leaving Columbia University in the 1920s. He left the party in the 1930s and then, after ten years as an editor at Time, revealed his past - and fingered Alger Hiss, a prominent lawyer and government official. The Chambers-Hiss case was the trial of the 20th Century; the story had espionage, revenge, thrilling escapes and even a subtext of homosexuality. Chambers became a Quaker, and warned a young William F. Buckley about working with Senator Joe McCarthy. More than a simple spy story from the 1950s, the Chambers story touches on humankind's quest for utopias - and the role of suffering in triggering fanaticism.

Although this campaign ended, the film project is still in motion with new strategies to build on all this generous momentum. Please remember our permanent address at whittakerchambersfilm.com, and stay in touch with us in the collaborative spirit of these early pledges. Thank you.

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We were selected as the "Project of the Day" at Indiewire!

FAQ

  • This is an independent project, built on the instinct to "just get out and shoot," but meeting the highest standards of filmmaking. Unlike other feature-length documentaries that go through long phases of fundraising and foundational support, this indie film is a labor of love. Your donation makes possible critical components like content clearances, location permits, and talent. It does NOT go toward buying new gadgets, food or fancy hotels. Whittaker Chambers, for all his frugality, would approve.

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  • The filmmakers are in Washington, D.C., already the location where most of the story happens, and most of the interviews will happen. Some further shooting will occur in New York and Maryland, following the trajectory of Whittaker Chambers' life. Lush footage of Moscow is already in-the-can from the director's prior work.

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  • The film is being shot digitally using a Super 35mm sensor, supplemented with Steadicam and dolly movements during key re-enactments as artistic tableaus. Post-production will include non-linear editing in full high-definition, professional color grading, and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround audio mastering.

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  • Yes! It is faithful to the historical record. It asks questions, without trying to answer what can't be proven. It is the consummation of lifetimes of research. It does not try to re-write history. It is not political. It is, in short, a truthful and artful documentation of a life that has never been seen on film.

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  • Basically, yes. As explained here - http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/backing%20a%20project#WhatIfIWantToPledAnon - you can provide any user name you wish.

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    A signed copy of my book "A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism and Rock and Roll," published in 2010 by Doubleday.

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    Top-secret spy paraphernalia (classified). A DVD copy of the finished film. Donor listing on film's Web site.

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    Authentic, new Bailey of Hollywood fedora hat (film noir style!). A DVD copy of the finished film. Donor listing on film's Web site.

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    Dinner with the director, producer and crew at an exclusive pre-release screening in Washington, D.C. (sorry, travel/accommodations not included). Special Thanks listing in the film's end credits.

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    Private viewing of the finished film with you and up to 10 guests of your choosing (with cocktail reception) at a deluxe screening room in Washington, D.C. (sorry, travel/accommodations not included). Special Thanks listing in the film's end credits.

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    Associate Producer credit in the film. Invitation to all launch events. Top secret, exclusive prize (classified).

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Funding period

- (57 days)