His Vision and the Decades of Opportunity Lost
What begins as a look back on the history of the assassination of Robert Kennedy, at his policies and at the fascinating trial of Sirhan Sirhan, explodes into a cutting look at the evolution of the politics in America over the past 40 years that has led the world into economic and social crisis.
Cinecan Film Productions Presents
A Mark Sobel Film
Produced by Mark Sobel and William Matson Law
Co-Producers: Robin Lee and Melanie L. Skehar
Original Score: Robin Lee
Film Editing: Mark Sobel and Robin Lee
Research: William Matson Law
Cinematography (UNCREDITED): Sobel
Directed by: Mark Sobel
"I don't want to be a part of the American people and have them write of us as they wrote of Rome: "They made a desert and called it 'peace' " This country needs honesty and candor in its political life and from the President of the United States."
-Senator Robert F. Kennedy, 1968, shortly before his death, (from the film "RFK")
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (2009, 100 minutes): Through looking back at the assassination of Robert Kennedy, this documentary probes the changes that subsequently took place in America over the next 4 decades. The film paints the idea of “a full circle” from the enforcement of Civil Rights by Robert Kennedy as Attorney General, to the election of the first Black American President 40 years later.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (2009, 100 minutes): RFK is a
feature film by Mark Sobel that is both fascinating as well as very relevant to
America of today, through an exploration of the past 40 years of political
developments. The film opens the night of the tragic assassination of Senator
Robert F. Kennedy.
Inherent in the film is the underlying concept of Barack Obama as the first leader since the murder of Bobby Kennedy to reflect RFK’s views. Indeed, the virtually never-before seen footage of RFK discussing the challenges that he sees himself facing as the possible next President could be taken verbatim from an Obama press conference of today.
The film began production several years before the Obama election victory, and so the final subtext is a totally unplanned result that the movie came to take on as the 2008 election approached. For the filmmaker, it has been incredibly satisfying to discover that during the years invested in making “RFK,” "the film has become even MORE relevant with the passage of time than when production began," Sobel says.
What begins as a look back on the history of the assassination of Robert Kennedy, at his policies and at the fascinating trial of Sirhan Sirhan, explodes into a cutting-look at the evolution of the politics in America over the past 40 years that has led the world into economic and social crisis. Co-Produced by William Law.
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE (2009, 100 minutes):
When Filmmaker Mark Sobel screened his new documentary feature
film “RFK – His Vision and the Decades of Opportunity Lost” as a
“work-in-progress” at a local cinematic event held by the Sacramento Film
Society in April of 2008, he was gratified by receiving an award for Best
Documentary. But he could not have imagined the effect that the still unfinished
and unreleased film would have.
“RFK – His Vison and the Decades of Missed Opportunity,” which was co-produced by historian and author William M. Law, starts on the night of Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s tragic assassination on June 5, 1968 and follows the events of the next 40 years, telling many stories in parallel time: of RFK’s own vision for the future were he to become President (as told through never-before seen footage of RFK that was made for TV promo spots for the fall 1968 campaign against Nixon that never took place), of the actual events within America shown by newsfilm over the following 40 years, and of the effort by RFK friend and labor leader Paul Schrade (himself surviving a shot in the head that night) to have the case officially re-examined in light of disclosures since the 1988 release of secret police files that the official investigation had deliberately sought to limit investigate of whether anyone other than convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan might have been involved in helping to plan the murder.
The film also tells the curious story --- virtually unknown to most Americans --- of how convicted assassin Sirhan was placed in solitaire confinement on September 11, 2001, on suspicion of helping to orchestrate the attack on the World Trade Center from his jail cell, and that he was held there for the 7 years as of the film’s screening in Sacramento. Sirhan has always stated that he does not have any memory of the assassination or, most significantly, of even planning the event or of wanting to kill Senator Kennedy.
“RFK” also presents to the public for the first time major sections of tape recordings of the 'time regression' hypnosis of convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan.
The placement of Sirhan in solitaire on 9-11 had the effect of cutting off efforts starting in the 1990s by his attorneys to have Sirhan placed under a contemporary process of hypnotic “time regression,” in order to retrieve memories from Sirhan’s subconscious of the months leading up to the tragic night of June 5, 1968, in order to determine if others had been involved in the planning.
Every Senator and Member of the House in the State Legislature in Sacramento, Capital of California where Sirhan is now housed, was invited to the Sacramento screening of “RFK,” and pantry survivor Vincent DiPierro, a 19-year old waiter in 1968 who was standing within 2-3 feet of RFK at the instant of the shooting and whose face was splattered with blood, flew to Sacramento to issue an appeal to the legislature to aide in moving the effort forward to seek the process of “time regression” to help answer the mystery of whether others had been involved in the crime.
Both Sobel and co-producer William Law were taken aback when just months after the screening the California prison system suddenly removed Sirhan from Solitary confinement. Sobel sees the otherwise inexplicable event as a result of political pressure brought to bear as a result of the screening of “RFK” in Sacramento, and of its potential to cause political embarrassment when seen by large segments of the public upon released.
“By moving Sirhan now, it minimizes criticism later,” Sobel says. “And it is a lesson of the power of film.
“There is nothing more exciting for a filmmaker,” he adds, “than when your film actually becomes more relevant by the time of its release than you could have imagined while you were making it. Now that the movie is finished, I hope that it will find a form of release that will allow all of America to learn the complete story … on its many different but parallel levels.”
Ultimately the final film, not completed until after the Presidential election of November 2008 (which marked the 40th anniversary of RFK’s run for the White House). “Ultimately,” the director says, “the movie links RFK’s efforts as Attorney General in using Federal forces to ensure that the fledgling Civil Rights movement became so deeply rooted in American society that it could not be stopped, with the election of America’s first African American President. Indeed after the Civil Rights movement had begun in earnest in the early 1960s, Bobby Kennedy predicted in a Voice of America radio interview that within 40 years he thought that an African American could be elected President. Given that the nature of the policies of President Obama echoes the policies of Robert Kennedy, the film essentially says that it took 40 years for a 'circle to become complete.' "
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