All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days

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TYPE
: Documentary Feature
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Development

LOGLINE

An untold true story of courage and resistance - and the quest to uncover the buried heroism of the only American woman executed by Hitler.

SYNOPSIS

"All The Frequent Troubles of Our Days" brings to life the story of Mildred Harnack, the American leader of the anti-Nazi resistance - beheaded at Hitler's personal request and her great niece’s tenacious quest to reconstruct the story of a fierce defender of democracy, one that resonates in our times.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

Rebecca Donner is teaming up with the filmmaking duo of Peter Miller and Renée Silverman, who will co-produce and direct the documentary version of her biography, “All the Frequent Troubles of our Day”. An Emmy award winning filmmaker of historical films who collaborated on a number of Ken Burns’ productions, Peter brings a meticulous approach to historical subjects that seamlessly combines his strong story skills and his nuanced visual sensibility. Renée is an American producer for public television in Germany whose recent credits include Cannes 2020 hit, “Wim Wenders: Desperado.” She has also been an instructor in documentary film narrative at the Gotham and is married to a German, fluent in the language and travels frequently to Berlin. The team envisions a film that brings to life this urgently important and timely story, one that speaks to a broad contemporary audience troubled by the rise of anti-democratic powers and explores how democracy can crumble with alarming speed. With so many bystanders passively observing the fascist takeover of Germany, the question of complicity through inaction threads throughout the documentary. The film includes unseen footage from Nazi Germany as well as recently released archives of the former Soviet Union. The filmmakers also deploy carefully curated scenes from feature films and documentaries of the 1930s and 1940s. When footage is lacking, animation inspired by 1920s visionary Berliner cartoonist Lotte Reniger illustrates the action, adding visual verve. In addition to animation, the motif of archival documents, a stream of words appearing as if etched by hand on the screen, interweaves throughout the narrative. A-list celebrities serve as the voices of Mildred, Arvid and their circle as they read from the original documentation, love letters and intimate journals. The mix of voice and music conjures the fraught hothouse atmosphere of the rising passions and the determined commitment of the Resistance in an increasingly fascist system. Also included are verité scenes with the charismatic writer, Rebecca Donner on her odyssey from Brooklyn to Milwaukee to Berlin and Moscow as well as Washington and California. Throughout she reveals her tenacious determination to uncover any shreds of evidence that can be used to fill-in the erasure of Mildred’s story. The team expects to use the highest production values at their disposal. The film score is unabashedly emotional and tense; the cinematography echoes the stark contrast of light and shadows in noir films and the locations from Wisconsin, Berlin, Moscow, Washington and Los Angeles capture the creeping horror of the story. The goal is to create an unforgettable experience through story, music and imagery.

KEY CREW

Antonio Rossi - cinematographer
Antonio Rossi is among the most highly acclaimed cinematographers working today. His many collaborators include Academy Award winner, Alex Gibney and MacArthur “Genius”, Stanley Nelson.

 

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ACCOLADES

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The Gotham Film & Media Institute - Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2021

 

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