By Vincent Bohlinger
There’s no money for documentaries.
– Emile de Antonio[i]
Where any view of Money exists Art cannot be carried on, but War only.
-William Blake (as quoted by P. Adams Sitney)[ii]
On 21 October 2017, U.S. President Donald J. Trump proclaimed with his all-too-characteristic boldness and bluster that he would order the release of all classified files related to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A 1992 law, however, already had stipulated that these files were to be released by no later than 26 October 2017, and in the five days leading up to 26 October, Trump’s all-too-uncharacteristic reserve and caution seemed to intervene and thousands of documents were suppressed from release for the sake of further review[iii]. That 1992 law, the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, was passed after the release of Oliver Stone’s film JFK (1991) with the intent of making public nearly all of the documents related to the assassination within 25 years in order to quell the curiosity and undercut the claims of conspiracy theorists[iv]. The continued suppression of thousands of documents after all this time – even with the release now of many thousands more – surely renews further concerns of doubt and conspiracy. Indeed, the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy assassination just a few years back led to a boom in publications, their titles alone revealing the perpetuation of conspiracy theories (e.g., Joseph McBride’s Into the Nightmare: My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and the Officer J.D. Tippit or Philip Shenon’s A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination – emphases mine).
The steady churn of commercial work related to the Kennedy assassination suggests the existence of an established industry in which there is still as much money to be made as there are angles and avenues of doubt and conspiracy to explore. Such was not the case back in the mid-1960s when documentary filmmaker Emile de Antonio was trying to secure financing to make Rush to Judgment, his collaboration with Mark Lane, the attorney who was hired by Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother Marguerite to represent her son before the Warren Commission. In 1966, Lane published Rush to Judgment, a lengthy and systematic critique of the 26-volume Warren Commission report, and de Antonio’s film of the same title was to serve as a companion film to Lane’s book. Lane famously had great difficulty getting Rush to Judgment published, even though it would end up on the New York Times bestseller list for over seven months – entering the list at #9 in September 1966 and then peaking at #1 from late November through the beginning of January 1967[v]. The fundraising and production of the film version – significantly more costly than publishing the book and attempted before they could ride on the coattails of the book’s success – was impeded by its controversial subject matter, which de Antonio described as an “attack on the Establishment and government . . . a very hot potato”[vi]. As de Antonio himself conceded, “for this film, it was almost impossible to raise money”[vii].
Further complicating de Antonio’s fundraising effort was his innovative approach to documentary filmmaking. By virtue of the straightforward polemics of his films – the manner in which he lays bare his personal/political opinions via the practice of compilation – de Antonio has become canonized within studies of the documentary tradition. Bill Nichols, for example, frequently labels de Antonio and his films as “innovative” and “pioneering”[viii]. Thomas Waugh identifies de Antonio as “the pioneer and the foremost practitioner of the new documentary sensibility which has at long last reached the fore”[ix]. This ‘new documentary sensibility’ of a collage-based aesthetic in the service of an overtly subjective stance has become one of the mainstream modes of contemporary documentary, albeit in modified form. Critical and commercial successes such as Our Daily Bread (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2005), An Inconvenient Truth (Davis Guggenheim, 2006), Food, Inc. (Robert Kenner, 2008), and 13th (Ava DuVernay, 2016) – even hit pieces such as Hillary: The Movie (Alan Peterson, 2008) – owe much to de Antonio’s pioneering stylistic and thematic vigor.
De Antonio’s polemics and aesthetics prevented him from seeking funding through television, a key source of financing for his contemporaries. De Antonio’s most notable American peers in the sixties were affiliated with Robert Drew and were proponents of what they called ‘cinema verité’ (‘cinema truth’), a documentary movement most scholars now label as ‘direct cinema’, related to but distinct from the French documentary movement ‘cinéma vérité’[x]. Capitalizing on technological developments such as lightweight cameras and synchronous sound recording, Drew Associates – Robert Drew and his team of now recognized luminaries such as Richard Leacock, the Maysles brothers and D.A. Pennebaker – argued that their decision to limit voiceover narration and minimize filmmaker intervention led to a more realistic and more objective account of the events being filmed[xi]. This fly-on-the-wall approach proved compatible with ABC Television’s commitment to public affairs programming[xii]. Because Drew Associates claimed to present both sides of a contentious issue objectively and without commentary, their films were seen as journalism and Robert Drew was hired as a producer on ABC’s Close-Up series[xiii]. (The equating of these documentaries with journalism actually led to tension and discord in the news division at ABC[xiv].) Although Drew Associates’ contract with ABC led to only four films in the early sixties, the direct cinema/cinema verité style proved television friendly. Frederick Wiseman, for example, was able to secure contracts for his films with New York’s PBS station WNET through the early eighties[xv].
Although de Antonio’s films were similar to direct cinema in their limiting of voiceover narration and their seeming minimization of the presence of the filmmaker, they were far from presenting anything close to a façade of objectivity. De Antonio’s genius was the arrangement of found footage in the service of an oft-scathing argument. With his first film Point of Order (1964), he exposed Senator Joseph McCarthy’s indecency during the Army-McCarthy hearings[xvi]. With Rush to Judgment, his second film, de Antonio aimed to take on the Warren Commission report. American television networks would balk at such ambitions, as program sponsors would be wary of underwriting overtly controversial material. De Antonio’s polemical virtuosic style and his status as a still fairly un-established filmmaker forced him to become creative in seeking funding. Singling out Rush to Judgment, Robert C. Ladendorf writes, “The difficulty of raising funds for an independent film is best illustrated by Rush to Judgment, involving the most complicated and unique financial arrangement of de Antonio’s films”[xvii]. Unfortunately, Ladendorf does not offer a comprehensive account of the funding for any of de Antonio’s films, so this essay focuses on such details for the financing of Rush to Judgment. The widely held notion that de Antonio financed his films fairly easily through the generosity of his wealthy friends can be tested here. Moreover, the struggles he faced allow for generalizations to be made concerning the difficulties faced by other independent documentary filmmakers working both then and now. Of further interest is the fact that the financing system de Antonio employed for Rush to Judgment was outlined in a 1961 article in Film Culture that gave tips to filmmakers on how to finance their films. Not only was de Antonio a founding member of the group that published this guide, but he also helped contribute in the writing of this article. This financing system, adapted from a strategy for financing theatrical productions, looks quite similar to what we all now recognize as a crowdfunding – crowdfunding in the age before social media, if you will. De Antonio, therefore, can be seen as not only an innovator in documentary film style, but also as a practitioner of an innovation in film financing, one that he became forced to depend upon. The remainder of this essay describes how de Antonio would leverage his personality to secure funding with respect to a particular financing strategy – the syndication approach – and examines how the financing particulars for Rush to Judgment offer an example of this proposed strategy in action.
Salesmanship at the Intersection of Personality and Politics
Emile de Antonio led a fast-paced, on-the-edge, celebrity-filled lifestyle and made masterfully polemical films ranging from the humorous to the scathing. It is not surprising, therefore, that the scholarship on de Antonio has approached him and his work by way of his personality and politics. The single lengthiest account of de Antonio, Randolph Lewis’s Emile de Antonio: Radical Filmmaker in Cold War America, combines both approaches by synthesizing de Antonio’s personal anecdotes and political opinions in a career biography spanning from Point of Order in the early sixties to Mr. Hoover and I in the late eighties. Interestingly, de Antonio himself has managed to direct the focus of much of the writing about him and his work, as his own words have consistently served as the foundation for the scholarship concerning him. Most of the literature on de Antonio is either comprised of or based upon interviews he did during the three decades of his documentary filmmaking career. In the only other large-scale volume on de Antonio, Douglas Kellner and Dan Streible’s essential Emile de Antonio: A Reader, about half the book is devoted to either interviews with de Antonio or excerpts written by de Antonio himself. Indeed, de Antonio proves an entertaining and provoking writer and interviewee. It is particularly fascinating, moreover, to examine how, within many interviews, de Antonio manages to direct and redirect the conversation again and again toward two topics: his sensational personal life and his leftist politics. Even if his interviewer does not prompt him to discuss such issues directly, he will invariably raise them anyway and festively ramble about them at length. In the following excerpt from a 1978 interview conducted by Alan Rosenthal, consider how de Antonio’s responses repeatedly spin toward the personally and politically salacious:
How did you get into documentary? What was the starting point for you?
I began in 1961 with a film called Point of Order. My life up until that point had been very much living by my wits. Unlike most filmmakers I was an intellectual. I went to Harvard and did graduate work at Columbia. At college I joined the Young Communist League, and the John Reed Society. In fact, for someone who is not much of a joiner, I joined everything political I could. Later I taught philosophy [at the College of William and Mary] but thought that was a mug’s game. So I became a one-day-a-year business person. I made a lot of money one day a year. I was a Marxist among capitalists but became depoliticized by my army experiences in World War II. Afterwards I got into alcohol and women. I was married five times and lived with countless other ones. I read a lot and led a generally chaotic bohemian life. In 1959 I became a communist again – unaffiliated – and also got interested in film, which I had always disliked. I had admired the Marx brothers, W. C. Fields and the early Soviets, but I did not go to the movies as Americans did. I mean a year would go by without [my] seeing a picture.
Why did you suddenly become political again in 1959?
I think I sniffed in the air that politics might work again. I knew Kennedy and I was more uncomfortable with his election than I was with Eisenhower’s or Truman’s. I started meeting young radicals who were political for the first time. During the fifties I had as friends what you might call the homosexual avant-garde. My best friends were John Cage, Rauschenberg, and Jasper Johns, who used to come to my house in the country, and get drunk, and talk.[xviii]
In his first response, de Antonio answers a rather general question about his initial interests in documentary filmmaking with an autobiographical overview of both his personal and political entanglements. The second question, specifically about de Antonio’s politics, draws directly from de Antonio’s first response. De Antonio responds by associating his politics with his friends, and he proceeds to list some celebrity artists who just happen to be among his closest acquaintances. With such constant name-dropping, and with open declarations such as “Every film I’ve made is a political film; it was intentionally a political film”[xix] and “The documentary film artist lives in opposition. He or she is nurtured best on revolutionary soil”[xx], de Antonio has, either consciously or unconsciously, single-handedly established the foundation on which all scholarship about him is built.
Indeed, de Antonio’s personality and politics loom large. As a pioneer of documentary form and voice, de Antonio must have faced some difficulties, not only as a result of making unconventional films (such as being under government surveillance, which would prove to be the case with de Antonio), but also just in the very attempt of making these unconventional films. A proposal for such an unconventional film probably would have difficulty guaranteeing an exhibition venue, which, in turn, would make the securing of financing more difficult. Yet de Antonio would be the first to admit that he was well connected. Yes, de Antonio made radical films, the subject matter of which probably would make raising money difficult, but de Antonio knew scores of famous and rich people. The assumed solution, therefore, seems easy: de Antonio hit up his friends to finance his films. As de Antonio himself asserts, “All my films are financed by, for lack of a better term, ‘rich liberals’; usually, they are people who have been friends of mine for a long time”[xxi]. But was fundraising really just that easy? For the most part, it looks as though de Antonio did raise money from his friends. As he told one interviewer, “I have always been good at raising money. I have raised over one million dollars to make leftwing films. I don’t come from a poor background and I have always known people with money”[xxii]. Even more succinct, yet ambiguous, is his claim that “It was always easy. I never had any trouble raising money”[xxiii]. For the most part, scholars seem to take de Antonio at his word. As the issue of financing does not seem to be a problem, it does not get discussed at any great length. Usually, any mention of financing is anecdotal and simply demonstrates de Antonio’s precious connections. Consider, for example, how the financing for Point of Order (1963) is succinctly and thrillingly narrated by Randolph Lewis: “de Antonio paid a visit to a friend named Elliot Pratt, a liberal heir to the Standard Oil fortune. Over hamburgers and drinks at a Manhattan diner that ended with the millionaire leaving a ten-cent tip (an irony that stuck in the filmmaker’s memory), de Antonio persuaded Pratt to contribute $100,000”[xxiv].
Robert C. Ladendorf, however, connects de Antonio’s financing difficulties to his politics: “As a result of his independent filmmaking status and radical reputation, de Antonio had to spend much of his creative time collecting money to begin as well as to finish his documentaries. He did not have the Hollywood luxury of concentrating fully on the creative process of filmmaking. He had to talk financing first”[xxv]. Randolph Lewis’s chapter on Rush to Judgment suggests financing troubles and briefly outlines some figures, but concentrates more on de Antonio’s political and personal life during the making of this film: how de Antonio heard of Kennedy’s murder from Andy Warhol while at Jasper Johns’s apartment, how Paul McCartney was going to write the score for the film because he wanted to be more than just a Beatle, how de Antonio and his crew were harassed by local police as they filmed in Dallas, how the film dismantles the Warren Commission’s Report. As we shall see, de Antonio capitalized on his personality and his connections in order to promote his politics and artistry. Starting with Rush to Judgment, de Antonio would rely upon multiple friends – along with the friends and associates of these friends (a crowdfunding model?) – in order to fund his work.
The New American Cinema Group and the Syndication Approach to Film Financing
De Antonio’s introduction into the world of independent filmmaking occurred by way of distribution. He worked as the distributor for the landmark Beat film Pull My Daisy (1959), directed by Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie, based on an un-produced play by Jack Kerouac and starring painters and poets such as Larry Rivers and Allen Ginsberg. It was through his participation in Pull My Daisy that de Antonio became involved with the New American Cinema Group. De Antonio, along with 22 others involved with independent filmmaking (such as Robert Frank, Alfred Leslie, and Peter Bogdanovich), was invited by Jonas Mekas and Lewis Allen to the Group’s inaugural meeting on 28 September 1960. On that day, De Antonio was elected to a temporary executive board, also consisting of Shirley Clarke, Edward Bland, Jonas Mekas and Lewis Allen. (Note how many luminaries of American independent cinema have been brought together here!) Randolph Lewis identifies de Antonio’s involvement with the New American Cinema Group as “his first tentative step toward film”[xxvi], but Lewis suggests that the Group did not influence de Antonio. He writes that de Antonio soon separated from the Group over the issue of profit – because de Antonio apparently felt that the Group was not as interested in generating a profit from its films as he was[xxvii]. While it appears that de Antonio’s involvement with the Group was quite brief, I believe that this period was very instructive, perhaps even formative. In examining two articles published by the New American Cinema Group, I think that it is here where de Antonio learned the method for independent film financing he would later adopt.
“The First Statement of the New American Cinema Group,” proclaimed on 30 September 1960, lists nine tenets by which the Group sought to change the practices of film production, distribution, and exhibition in the United States. The Group makes explicit – and perhaps this is what de Antonio would later find so problematic – that “We are not joining together to make money. We are joining together to make films. We are joining together to build the New American Cinema”[xxviii]. Three of the Group’s tenets appear pertinent to de Antonio and film financing. The first tenet declares, “We therefore reject the interference of producers, distributors and investors until our work is ready to be projected on the screen”[xxix]. The third tenet states, “We are seeking new forms of financing, working towards a reorganization of film investing methods, setting up the basis for a free film industry”[xxx]. These two tenets, calling for interference-free investors and a new method of film investing, will be elaborated below. The sixth tenet is also of interest, as it specifically applies to de Antonio: “We plan to establish our own cooperative distribution center. This task has been entrusted to Emile de Antonio, our charter member”[xxxi].
Moreover, de Antonio himself helped to contribute to an article titled “The Methods and Problems of Film Financing”, released by the New American Cinema Group and appearing in the same issue. The article was divided into four sections, each with its own contributor. De Antonio’s section, the fourth, titled “A Real Mediocre Conspiracy”, is more of a diatribe against Hollywood (“the arid allegory of The Misfits, the phony charm of Around the World in Eighty Days, the fake sociology of The Apartment”) than an actual discussion of methods or problems related to film financing[xxxii]. The other three sections, however, do explore three different strategies for film financing. Don Gillin, a film distributor and producer, explains “Film Financing through a Distribution Firm”, while Aldolfas Mekas describes “Financing through Laboratories”. But it is the section titled “The Syndication Approach to Film Financing”, prepared by Lewis Allen and Jack M. Perlman, that appears most relevant to de Antonio, for in the syndication approach we find de Antonio’s future strategy for film financing.
The following is the “General Statement” of the syndication approach:
In this approach the production budget is raised by selling interest in the film to one or more individual investors who may or may not be persons friendly to either the producer or to members of the cast, or to the property, etc. The disadvantages of this approach are: (1) many individual investors are highly sophisticated when it comes to evaluating the situation; (2) the syndication may have to be filed with the SEC. The advantages of this approach are (1) the producer is completely free from artistic control on the part of the money interests; (2) the producer need not put up a completion bond and in fact does not even legally obligate himself to complete the film; and (3) there may be no other way to finance the film.[xxxiii]
The third advantage alone seems reason enough to follow the syndication approach, but one important appeal is the artistic autonomy of a filmmaker from investors – which is also the first tenet of the Group’s First Statement. It should be noted that the two authors of this approach had a background in theater: Lewis Allen was a theater producer; Jack Perlman, a theatrical attorney. They were merely applying a conventional model for Broadway financing to independent film financing.
What seems most important in Allen and Perlman’s approach is that the independent filmmaker/director acts as producer in order to be in charge of his own financing. Allen and Perlman, however, suggest that the filmmaker distance himself financially from both his film and his investors and form a corporation, described as follows:
A corporation is a separate legal entity which is set up and becomes the owner of the film. The corporation, once set up, issues stock to the producer and to the investors. The proportions in which the stock is issued reflects the financial deal worked out between the producer and the investors. The great advantage of a corporation is that it acts as a shield protecting both the producer and the investors from any personal liability to the outside world in connection with obligations incurred in the making or distribution of the film. The disadvantage of a corporation is that whatever profits are made on the film will be taxed twice – first as income to the corporation and secondly as dividends to the stockholders.[xxxiv]
Allen and Perlman suggest that the corporation’s profits be split, “Similar syndications on Broadway are traditionally 50% to the producer, 50% to the investors”[xxxv].
Although this model may seem fairly self-evident in retrospect, the fact that the New American Cinema Group felt that it needed to be explained in print perhaps indicates that it might have not been that obvious at the time. In any case, as we will see, de Antonio clearly followed the syndication approach. As de Antonio was involved with this article, he either learned of or at least refined his understanding of this approach from Allen and Perlman before he began making films several months later.
The financing of Rush to Judgment
On 22 November 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated, Officer J. D. Tippit was killed, and Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested. Two days later, Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby. One week after the assassination, on 29 November, President Johnson established the Warren Commission with the expressed purpose “to evaluate all the facts and circumstances that surround such assassination, including the subsequent violent death of the man charged with the assassination, and to report to me its findings and conclusions”[xxxvi]. By December, Mark Lane published his first article on the evidence against Oswald and was retained by Marguerite Oswald to represent her son before the Warren Commission. In February of 1964, de Antonio met with Lane for the first time and proposed the basic film concept for Rush to Judgment. De Antonio and Lane agreed to three conditions before they would begin on the film: “1) the Warren Report had to be published; 2) Lane’s book had to be finished; and 3) the funds had to be raised”[xxxvii]. On 27 September 1964, the 888-page Warren Report was submitted to the White House. The 26 volumes of Testimony and Exhibits were published on 23 November 1964, one year and one day after Kennedy’s assassination. In December of 1965, de Antonio began acquiring stock footage. In March and April of 1966, Lane, de Antonio, and the rest of the film crew traveled to Dallas to shoot portions of his film. In August, Lane’s book Rush to Judgment was published and became a #1 non-fiction bestseller. In November, de Antonio officially finished his film, and it was released in 1967.
From the above chronology, we see that the securing of financing was, not surprisingly, an explicit precondition to the production of Rush to Judgment. We also see that more than a year passed between the publication of the Warren Report (November 1964) and the beginning of film production (December 1965). During this year, de Antonio worked to raise money for Rush to Judgment while pursuing other projects on the side. Although the extant financial records are, as described by Ladendorf, “partial and scattered”[xxxviii], I believe that I have been able to reconstruct much of the financing particulars for this film.
Following the syndicated approach to film financing, de Antonio established a separate production company for each film he made. With Rush to Judgment, de Antonio actually established two companies, one in England and one in the United States. As for de Antonio’s lucrative connections, it is difficult to surmise why exactly they were not forthcoming on this particular project (unless this film was, as de Antonio suggested, too hot a potato). But it should be noted that Rush to Judgment comes early in de Antonio’s career. Even with the all-around praise and recognition he earned with Point of Order, his reputation might not have been strong enough to help obtain investors, and the ease for which he received funding for Point of Order might have been a fluke. Perhaps it was with – and therefore after – Rush to Judgment that de Antonio began receiving the notice and sponsorship of the celebrities of whom he could later boast more confidently. For example, Paul Newman, Robert Ryan, Leonard Bernstein, and three Rockefeller heiresses all helped finance de Antonio’s next film In the Year of the Pig. Also note that de Antonio was in England during part of this hiatus, so he might have not been in regular contact with his usual circuit of wealthy friends. Furthermore, de Antonio was somewhat preoccupied with another project.
During the hiatus, Mark Lane persuaded de Antonio to visit him in England, where de Antonio met the philosopher Bertrand Russell. Lane was acquainted with Ralph Schoenman, the Secretary of the Lord Bertrand Russell World Peace Foundation, and de Antonio met both Russell and Schoenman through Lane. Also through Lane, de Antonio met Richard Stark,[xxxix] whom Randolph Lewis identifies as “an heir to the Buster Brown shoe fortune”[xl]. Lane had met Stark through either Schoenman or his British contacts. De Antonio proposed to Russell to make a documentary, more specifically, a living obituary about his life and accomplishments. Russell seemed fond of such novelty and agreed, even offering Lane and de Antonio seats on the Board of Directors of his Peace Foundation. Though this project was never fully realized – Lewis describes the process in considerable detail in his book – the four investors for the Bertrand Russell film were Lane, de Antonio, Stark, and Schoenman, through the Peace Foundation.
These four investors, along with an Englishman named Mark Peploe, created Current Events Documentary Films Limited, which was originally to produce the Bertrand Russell living obituary project. The Managing Directors of the company were Richard Stark and Mark Peploe; the Board of Directors were de Antonio, Lane, and Stark[xli]. When the living obituary project fell through, this company served to produce Rush to Judgment. Voting stock was issued and distributed as follows: 40% to de Antonio, 40% to Lane, 10% to Schoenman and 10% to Stark.[xlii] A project proposal issued sometime in 1965 summarized the initial production strategy for Rush to Judgment:
Nature of Film
A feature length film which will consist of stock footage, existing stills, reconstructions and re-enactments as well as live footage to be shot in Dallas, Washington and New York. The live footage will consist mainly of interviews with witnesses to the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, as well as interviews with members and staff of the Warren Commission. Current Events Documentary Films Limited has already in its possession tapes and stills never before published in any media. These are of a highly controversial and sensational nature. An English film crew will be sent to the United States in mid-December to film the interviews. Projected completion date for the picture is March 1966. The nature of the film will be didactic and argumentative in that it will compare the Warren Commission’s own evidence contained in its published twenty-six volumes of testimony and exhibits with the Warren Commission’s conclusions contained in the one-volume Warren Commission Report. The film will offer no conclusions and will indulge in no speculation. It will, however, fill the judicial void left by the murder of Oswald and the subsequent secret proceedings of the Warren Commission. The film will constitute the only trial afforded to Lee Harvey Oswald with each viewer serving as a juror.[xliii]
This proposal served as printed material for prospective investors. It stipulated the division of profits as follows: “50% to Investors; 50% to Production/Creative staff including Producer, Director, Writer”[xliv]. It is unclear exactly how much money the company had at this time, and the value of each percentage of voting stock is also unclear. Whatever the company’s financial situation, the proposal also listed the following budget to be distributed to potential investors, included below as Figure 1. It is also unclear which of these investors first signed on with Current Events Documentary Films Limited. De Antonio apparently did not get along with Schoenman, and Stark was slow in bringing in the money that he promised. Stark’s investment, in fact, largely came from his father[xlv]. De Antonio acquired stock footage for the film from VisNews in England and returned to the United States. Soon after, Judgement [sic] Films Corporation was founded in New York, with de Antonio as President and Secretary and Lane as Vice President and Treasurer[xlvi]. As for the funding situation, de Antonio explained, “I had to go to England to raise the money . . . It was impossible to raise the money in the United States, because this subject really touched the psychic uneasiness of America about as deeply as anything we’ve had to face, including the war”[xlvii]. All of the major investors for Rush to Judgment were brought in by Lane, not de Antonio (associates of his associate), and these investors, mostly British, ultimately invested in Judgement Films Corporation – a few, no doubt, by having their investment transferred over from Current Events Documentary Films Limited. De Antonio likely chose to form this second company so that it would be easier to make the film in the United States. He also had a tendency to create an entirely separate company for each of his film projects, so not carrying over the same company for the aborted film project might have offered some financial or legal safeguards.
|1||Acquisition of stock footage and still material (this includes royalty payments, duplicate negatives and striking of positive prints)||$15,500|
|2||Production in Dallas, New York, Washington, etc. (this includes transportation, accommodations, etc. for film crew), the purchasing and processing of film, rental of equipment for a minimal crew of Director, Cameraman, Sound, plus Assistant||$9,000|
|3||Editing expenses (Editing Room and equipment plus Editor and Assistant Editor)||$4,000|
|4||Mix, opticals, animation stand work, sound transfer, and negative work||$3,000|
|6||Acquisition of exclusive interview material in Dallas||$6,000|
|7||Transport and duty on film||$2,000|
|8||Salaries for Director, Producer, Writer are now being negotiated with the Corporation. It is understood that in no case will any salary exceed an amount of $300 per week. Salaries will terminate upon delivery of an answer print.||$14,000|
Figure 1: Proposed budget (1965) for Rush to Judgment.[xlviii]
The list of investors in Judgement Films Corporation, with their respective share holdings, is included below in Figure 2. These were all non-voting shares, with each share worth $600. These investors did not, therefore, have influence in any creative aspects of the film’s production. They were only entitled to a return on their investment, provided that the film indeed made money. Was the film to generate actual profit, then the proportioning of the shares allowed for respective profit distribution back to the investors, with each share being worth slightly less than one percent – 0.88% – of the company’s investment stock. Based on Figure 2, the total amount raised was $68,300. Lewis reports that the film was ultimately budgeted at $75,000[xlix]. In any case, give or take a few thousand, the budget seems to be around $70,000. Note that this list below is reproduced from an affidavit de Antonio would offer a few years later during a lawsuit filed by Richard Stark against Mark Lane, which seems to contradict anecdotal evidence of other investors[l].
Many of these investors were brought in by Lane, as de Antonio freely admitted, “the money came from extraordinary sources . . . friends of Mark’s”[li]. The biggest investor, Oscar Lewenstein, worked as an associate producer on Tom Jones (Tony Richardson, 1963), and soon would go on to produce several other prestige and/or art films, such as the Jeanne Moreau vehicles Mademoiselle (Tony Richardson, 1966) and La Mariée était en noir (The Bride Wore Black, François Truffaut, 1967). Lane and de Antonio met Lewenstein through the Peace Foundation, and they must have made a considerable impression, as Lewenstein’s fifty-share investment accounts for almost half of the film’s budgeted investment (50 shares x $600 a share = $30,000). Ladendorf claimed that Lewenstein’s investment actually was done through Woodfall Films, an English company comprised of Oscar Lewenstein, John Osborne, and Tony Richardson. Ladendorf argues that “It is unclear why the firm invested in the film”[lii], but it does not seem clear that Lewenstein’s company ever actually made such an investment at all.
List of Investors in the Judgement Films Corporation
|Name and Address||Number of Shares|
144 Bleecher Street
New York, New York
11A Curzon Street
London, W1, England
|Mrs. Hiram R. Mallinson
169 E. 69th Street
New York, New York
77 Cadogan Gardens
London, SW3, England
12 Rogers Avenue
Bellport, L.I., New York
22 Hans Road
London, SW3, England
|Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation
344 Shaver’s Place, Haymarket
London, SW1, England
|Norman Eisner, c/o Lincoln Press
35 9th Avenue
New York, New York
|Richard Stark, c/o Stark
380 Arlington Way
Menlo Park, California
Figure 2: Final list of investors for Rush to Judgment.[liii]
Ladendorf’s assertion likely comes from de Antonio’s claim that he got money “from people like Tony Richardson and Oscar Lewenstein of Woodfall Films”[liv]. In actuality, it seems that Lewenstein made his investment personally, not corporately, as there is no Woodfall Films letterhead on any of his correspondence, and there does not seem to be evidence of corporate correspondence with either Osborne or Richardson. Yet in an interview with Film Comment, de Antonio mentioned receiving private investments from Lewenstein, Osborne, and Richardson[lv]. Concerning Richardson’s motivation for this contribution to help finance the film, Ladendorf quotes de Antonio’s assertion that Richardson, although disagreeing with de Antonio’s position on Oswald, thought that his idea was “very commercial”[lvi]. It is likely that the funds had already been promised for the Russell project and were simply transferred to Rush to Judgment without objection. In any case, the most probable assumption is that the investor(s) initially invested out of friendship – they being friends of new friends.
As for the other investors in the film, Douglas Kellner and Dan Streible have identified Madelyn – a.k.a. Madeleine – Goddard as a “socialite”, presumably an acquaintance of Lane[lvii]. From de Antonio’s letters, Hiram Mallinson appears to be his own personal acquaintance. Interestingly, her investment entitled her to only “one half of one percent of the proceeds”, which is different from the proposal for Current Events Documentary Films Limited[lviii]. It is unclear whether Mallinson was aware of her reduced profit entitlement by one half of one percent – whether she knowingly contributed money with a lesser return rate out of friendship and generosity, or whether de Antonio managed a little scheming (a financing strategy surely not unique to de Antonio). Oscar Lewenstein, on the other hand, was returned the appropriate percentage of 50% of the profits. Lionel Rogosin – de Antonio’s friend, New American Cinema Group associate, and filmmaker of such socially conscious films as Come Back, Africa (1956) and On the Bowery (1957) – refused to invest in the company’s stock[lix]. Opting out of the company’s profit guarantee, he instead issued a five-thousand-dollar loan, which was represented in the company’s finance chart in terms of share holdings in the company (8.33 shares x $600 a share = $4,998)[lx].
As for the film’s reception and profitability, Rush to Judgment was not a commercial success in the United States. In his review in The New York Times, Bosley Crowther compared the film favorably to Lane’s book: “this dramatic materialization of witnesses before the eye and ear has much more immediacy and impact than the printed word in covering the thesis of Mr. Lane”[lxi]. But Crowther also noted that “The testimony, however vivid and forcefully presented, is, at best, rather sketchy and speculative”, and he even complained that “Two or three interviews conducted by Mr. Lane look egregiously staged by him and Emile de Antonio”[lxii]. De Antonio himself later claimed, “with Rush to Judgment, people threatened to cut the seats of the theater with knives, so the theater just dropped the picture”[lxiii]. However, the film did manage to make a small profit. Impact Films, Inc. paid Judgement Films $50,000 to distribute the film in the United States, where it was screened primary on college campuses[lxiv]. De Antonio was sometimes paid to accompany his film for Q&A sessions afterward; for example, Dartmouth College arranged to pay $700 for both screening rights and de Antonio’s participation on the evening of 16 January 1967, an arrangement similar to what had been done the previous year for Point of Order[lxv]. While Rush to Judgment was not carried by any American television networks, it was purchased by European stations. De Antonio later recollected, “I got most of my money for that film in England and from British television”[lxvi], and, in fact, the BBC paid Judgement Films $30,000 for broadcast rights[lxvii]. From these two sales alone, we see that the film made back cost – and this is before the inclusion of foreign distribution sales of a few hundred dollars each for France, West Germany, Denmark and Sweden, where de Antonio was apparently well received. A full estimate of the profit earned by the film is difficult to ascertain, as there appears to be a comparatively paltry number of documents relating to the film’s exhibition history. I suspect that this sketchy document trail is strategic in consideration of the contentious – even litigious – falling out experienced by nearly all principal parties involved in the film soon after it was completed.
The above details, even if incomplete, do give a sense of not only how the syndication approach is applied in actual practice, but also how a filmmaker can modify the terms of investment in order to appease particular financers – or even withhold money to increase self-profit. Moreover, de Antonio’s Rush to Judgment demonstrates some of the possible permutations of the syndication approach model. By offering and allowing for varying levels or degrees of return on investment and in relying on the support and connections of wealthy friends and associates, de Antonio seems to anticipate and take advantage of the same processes that are fairly standard in crowdfunding campaigns we see today. De Antonio had the flexibility to reward different levels of contribution, much like the step-return system found on sites such as Kickstarter (e.g., “pledge $50 or more and you get X, but pledge $100 or more and you get X + Y”). The syndication approach allowed for widely varying levels of investment, with financial risk dispersed among a larger number of investors. Just as in crowdfunding campaigns today, these investors all originated from de Antonio’s social network – limited, as it were, to one, two, or three degrees removed from his own personal contacts. Electronic social media has allowed for far greater degrees of remove and even completely removed or anonymous investments, but these differences seem to be more a matter of degree than kind. The example of Rush to Judgment suggests that even with a model – or a standardized procedure in general – independent filmmaking is still a catch-as-catch-can process in which personal connections and sheer luck are necessary. Plus there is a particular – and socially theoretically fanciful – irony: filmmakers like de Antonio who seek to critique the establishment are often dependent upon those who constitute and/or have benefited from that very establishment for support.
Furthermore, even with a standardized financing plan, de Antonio’s case proves himself exceptional, as demonstrated in his boasts about his financing strategies. He later mused, “I’ve noticed an enormous difference in my fundraising ability today as opposed to eight or nine years ago. You become unclean after a while and the times have changed”[lxviii]. He further boasted, “I’ve a moderately good record of making my own high-handed rules which is that I pay people back but they get no profit because I figure that they have more money than they need anyway. But they’re entitled to be paid back and they get a tax benefit”[lxix]. Such incentives – of either the possibility of profit or, at minimum, a tax write-off – could be offered to potential film investors as a minimum guarantee of some personal economic benefit from the process. De Antonio, however, explained his more fortunate (and rarified) financial situation as follows:
. . . you can donate [film materials] to the University of Wisconsin and claim a tax write-off on their declared value. The film then becomes part of the University’s archive – and I’m lucky, of course, because there’s an archive about me at the University of Wisconsin – and they make it available for study by scholars, film historians, and the like. If you’re in a high tax bracket, you make a fairly good profit just getting your money back plus that later tax write-off. It’s a very good inducement and should be used by young filmmakers who know rich people.[lxx]
Indeed, most independent documentary filmmakers do not have the advantage of wealthy associates, nor do they have the privilege of archival holdings of their work, particularly when they are starting out. But the promise of appeasing the tax burden of potential investors is certainly an investment strategy struggling filmmakers can pursue – a new pledge level on Kickstarter? The syndication approach to film financing, as exemplified by de Antonio’s Rush to Judgment, could still serve as a model, or at least an interesting example, of independent film financing, although it still illustrates de Antonio’s unique, privileged position. Shirley Clarke, another member of the New American Cinema Group, used a variation of this financing approach with her films – though it should be noted that she, too, comes from a privileged background as an heiress to the inventor of the Phillips screwdriver[lxxi]. Not surprisingly, however, the syndication approach has not proven to be the panacea for the financing woes of the independent filmmaker, and a point need not be made that a considerable variety of articles and guidebooks on independent film financing have since been, and continue to be, published. No doubt, each instance of successful financing for an independent film production appears as nothing short of a minor miracle, and, based on the publications concerning them, each of these successful instances seems positioned to serve as a model for future ambitious, cash-strapped independent filmmakers. Filmmaker Michael Moore certainly has proven to be heir and two-fold to de Antonio’s skill of promoting his own personality and politics and leveraging that personality for future projects, which is still no easy task for him. The specific example of de Antonio’s Rush to Judgment can perhaps provide some comfort to the frustrated aspiring filmmaker, for even with a formidable drive, a visionary style, an innovative financing strategy, and wealthy connections in hand, the particulars of actually getting that money still proves to be, at best, a hassle.
[i] Mark Lane and Emile de Antonio, “Rush to Judgment: A Conversation with Mark Lane and Emile de Antonio,” Film Comment 4, no. 2/3 (1967): 17.
[ii] P. Adams Sitney et al., “What Are the New Critics Saying?” Film Culture 42 (1966): 78.
[iii] Michael D. Shear, “Trump to Release Kennedy Killing Papers,” New York Times, October 22, 2017, A27.
[iv] Peter Baker and Scott Shane, “U.S. Releases Some, But Not All, of the J.F.K. File,” New York Times, October 27, 2017, A1.
[v] “Best Seller List,” New York Times, September 18, 1966, 399; “Best Seller List,” New York Times, December 4, 1966, 224; “Best Seller List,” New York Times, December 11, 372; “Best Seller List,” New York Times, January 8, 1967, 285; “Best Seller List,” New York Times, March 26, 1967, 270.
[vi] Lane and de Antonio, “Rush to Judgment,” 3.
[vii] Bernard Weiner, “Radical Scavenging: An Interview with Emile de Antonio,” Film Quarterly 25 (Fall 1971): 7.
[viii] Bill Nichols, “Newsreel, 1967-1972: Film and Revolution,” in “Show Us Life”: Toward a History and Aesthetics of the Committed Documentary, ed. Thomas Waugh (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1984), 136; Bill Nichols, Ideology and the Image: Social Representation in the Cinema and Other Media (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981), 197; Bill Nichols, Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), 48.
[ix] Thomas Waugh, “Beyond Vérité: Emile de Antonio and the New Documentary of the Seventies,” in Movies and Methods, vol. 2, ed. Bill Nichols (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985), 34.
[x] For greater context and an early history of direct cinema in the United States, see, for example, Stephen Mamber, Cinema Verite in America: Studies in Uncontrolled Documentary (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1974).
[xi] For an analysis of direct cinema and its purported objectivity, see Jeanne Hall, “Realism as a Style in Cinema Verite: A Critical Analysis of Primary,” Cinema Journal 30, no. 4 (Summer 1991): 24-50.
[xii] See, for example, Robert C. Allen, “The Beginnings of American Cinema Verité,” in Film History: Theory and Practice, ed. Robert C. Allen and Douglas Gomery (Boston: McGraw Hill, 1985), 215-41.
[xiii] “Television’s School of Storm & Stress: Robert Drew’s Documentaries Aim at Photographic Realism,” Broadcasting, March 6, 1961, 82-84; “Kennedys to Star,” Broadcasting, July 29, 1963, 93.
[xiv] “Daly’s Exit,” Weekly Television Digest, November 21, 1960, 7.
[xv] Barry Keith Grant, Voyages of Discovery: The Cinema of Frederick Wiseman (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 7; Brian Winston, “‘A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma’: Wiseman and Public Television,” Studies in Documentary Film 3, no. 2 (November 2009): 95.
[xvi] For an analysis of de Antonio’s compilation technique in his first film, see Vance Kepley, Jr., “The Order of Point of Order,” Film History 13, no. 2 (2001): 200-15.
[xvii] Robert C. Ladendorf, “Resistance to Vision: The Effects of Censorship and Other Restraints on Emile de Antonio’s Political Documentaries,” MA thesis (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1977), 45.
[xviii] Alan Rosenthal, “Emile de Antonio: An Interview,” Film Quarterly 32, no.1 (Fall 1978): 4.
[xix] Kay Johnson and Monika Jensen, “Film as an Agent of Social Change; The Role of the Filmmaker: Three Views – Emile de Antonio, Ousmane Sembene and Marcel Ophuls,” Arts in Society 10, no. 2 (1973): 211.
[xx] Barbara Zheutlin, “The Art and Politics of the Documentary: A Symposium,” Cineaste 11, no. 3 (1981): 19.
[xxi] Weiner, “Radical Scavenging,” 7.
[xxii] Alan Rosenthal, “Emile de Antonio,” 5.
[xxiii] Gary Crowdus and Dan Georgakas, “History Is the Theme of All My Films: An Interview with Emile de Antonio,” Cineaste 12, no. 2 (1982): 27.
[xxiv] Randolph Lewis, Emile de Antonio: Radical Filmmaker in Cold War America (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000), 30-31.
[xxv] Ladendorf, “Resistance to Vision,” 36.
[xxvi] Lewis, Emile de Antonio, 26.
[xxvii] Lewis, Emile de Antonio, 28.
[xxviii] Lewis Allen, Jonas Mekas, et al., “The First Statement of the New American Cinema Group,” Film Culture 22/23 (Summer 1961): 133.
[xxix] Allen et al., “The First Statement of the New American Cinema Group,” 131.
[xxx] Allen et al., “The First Statement of the New American Cinema Group,” 132.
[xxxi] Allen et al., “The First Statement of the New American Cinema Group,” 132.
[xxxii] Lewis Allen, Jack Perlman, et al., “The Methods and Problems of Film Financing.” Film Culture 22/23 (Summer 1961): 156.
[xxxiii] Allen et al., “The Methods and Problems of Film Financing,” 151.
[xxxiv] Allen et al., “The Methods and Problems of Film Financing,” 152.
[xxxv] Allen et al., “The Methods and Problems of Film Financing,” 152.
[xxxvi] This chronology was written by de Antonio for his ‘Notes on the film Rush to Judgment’, in Emile de Antonio papers, box 4, folder 1.
[xxxvii] Ladendorf, “Resistance to Vision,” 46-47.
[xxxviii] Ladendorf, “Resistance to Vision,” 38.
[xxxix] Letter from Mark Lane to Emile de Antonio (Summer 1965), in Emile de Antonio papers, box 13, folder 6.
[xl] Lewis, Emile de Antonio, 55.
[xlvi] Letter from Edward J. Ennis to Judgement Films Corporation (9 March 1966), in Emile de Antonio papers, box 21, folder 1.
[xlvii] Weiner, “Radical Scavenging,” 7.
[xlviii] Emile de Antonio papers, box 21, folder 1.
[xlix] Lewis, Emile de Antonio, 58.
[l] Lewis, Emile de Antonio, 58.
[li] Lane and de Antonio, “Rush to Judgment,” 3.
[lii] Ladendorf, “Resistance to Vision,” 48.
[liii] Affidavit by Emile de Antonio in the case of Richard L. Stark et al. v. Mark Lane et al., Superior Court, City and County of San Francisco, State of California, No. 596993 (18 June 1969), in Emile de Antonio papers, box 21, folder 3.
[liv] Weiner, “Radical Scavenging,” 7.
[lv] Lane and de Antonio, “Rush to Judgment,” 3.
[lvi] Ladendorf, “Resistance to Vision,” 48.
[lvii] Douglas Kellner and Dan Streible, eds, Emile de Antonio: A Reader (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000), 28.
[lx] Emile de Antonio papers, box 21, folder 1.
[lxi] Bosley Crowther, “The Screen: Mark Lane vs. the Warren Report – Rush to Judgment at Carnegie Hall Cinema,” New York Times, June 3, 1967, 34C.
[lxii] Bosley Crowther, “The Screen: Mark Lane vs. the Warren Report,” 34C.
[lxiii] Weiner, “Radical Scavenging,” 5.
[lxv] Letter to Emile de Antonio from J. B. Watson, Jr. (9 December 1966), in Emile de Antonio papers, box 21, folder 1.
[lxvi] Bruce Jackson, “Conversations with Emile de Antonio,” Senses of Cinema 31 (April 2004), http://sensesofcinema.com/2004/politics-and-the-documentary/emile_de_antonio/.
[lxvii] Letter from Emile de Antonio to Oscar Lowenstein (25 November 1966), in Emile de Antonio papers, box 21, folder 1.
[lxviii] Crowdus and Georgakas, “History Is the Theme of All My Films,” 27.
[lxix] Crowdus and Georgakas, “History Is the Theme of All My Films,” 27.
[lxx] Crowdus and Georgakas, “History Is the Theme of All My Films,” 27-28.
[lxxi] Blaine Allan, “The New American Cinema and the Beat Generation, 1956-1960,” PhD diss (Northwestern University, 1984), 236.
Notes on Contributor:
Vincent Bohlinger is Associate Professor and Director of Film Studies at Rhode Island College. He is currently working on a book on Soviet film style from the late 1920s through the mid- 1930s and is co-editing a volume on Russian and Soviet movie stars.
Allan, Blaine. “The New American Cinema and the Beat Generation, 1956-1960.” PhD diss, Northwestern University, 1984.
Allen, Lewis, Jack Perlman, et al. “The Methods and Problems of Film Financing.” Film Culture 22/23 (Summer 1961): 151-57.
Allen, Lewis, Jonas Mekas, et al. “The First Statement of the New American Cinema Group.” Film Culture 22/23 (Summer 1961): 130-33.
Allen, Robert C. “The Beginnings of American Cinema Verité.” In Film History: Theory and Practice, edited by Robert C. Allen and Douglas Gomery, 215-41. Boston: McGraw Hill.
Baker, Peter, and Scott Shane. “U.S. Releases Some, But Not All, of the J.F.K. File.” New York Times, October 27, 2017.
Crowdus, Gary, and Dan Georgakas. “History Is the Theme of All My Films: An Interview with Emile de Antonio.” Cineaste 12, no. 2 (1982): 20-28.
Crowther, Bosley. “The Screen: Mark Lane vs. the Warren Report – Rush to Judgment at Carnegie Hall Cinema.” New York Times, June 3, 1967.
“Daly’s Exit,” Weekly Television Digest, November 21, 1960.
De Antonio, Emile. Documents on Rush to Judgment, Boxes 4, 13, 21, 22, 54, 55, 67, 72, and 83. In Emile de Antonio Papers. Madison: The Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research and the State Historical Society.
Grant, Barry Keith. Voyages of Discovery: The Cinema of Frederick Wiseman. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992.
Hall, Jeanne. “Realism as a Style in Cinema Verite: A Critical Analysis of Primary.” Cinema Journal 30, no. 4 (Summer 1991): 24-50.
Jackson, Bruce. “Conversations with Emile de Antonio.” Senses of Cinema 31 (April 2004). http://sensesofcinema.com/2004/politics-and-the-documentary/emile_de_antonio/.
Jackson, Bruce, ed. Emile de Antonio in Buffalo. Buffalo: Center for Studies in American Culture, 2003.
Johnson, Kay, and Monika Jensen. “Film as an Agent of Social Change; The Role of the Filmmaker: Three Views – Emile de Antonio, Ousmane Sembene and Marcel Ophuls.” Arts in Society 10, no. 2 (1973): 208-33.
“Kennedys to Star.” Broadcasting, July 29, 1963.
Kepley, Jr., Vance. “The Order of Point of Order.” Film History 13, no. 2 (2001): 200-15.
Kellner, Douglas, and Dan Streible, eds. Emile de Antonio: A Reader, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.
Ladendorf, Robert C. “Resistance to Vision: The Effects of Censorship and Other Restraints on Emile de Antonio’s Political Documentaries.” MA thesis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1977.
Lane, Mark. Rush to Judgment: A Critique of the Warren Commission’s Inquiry into the Murders of President John F. Kennedy, Officer J. D. Tippit and Lee Harvey Oswald. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1966.
—. A Citizen’s Dissent: Mark Lane Replies. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1968.
Lane, Mark, and Emile de Antonio. “Rush to Judgment: A Conversation with Mark Lane and Emile de Antonio.” Film Comment 4, no. 2/3 (Fall/Winter 1967): 2-18.
Lewis, Randolph. Emile de Antonio: Radical Filmmaker in Cold War America. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2000.
Mamber, Stephen. Cinema Verite in America: Studies in Uncontrolled Documentary. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1974.
McBride, Joseph. Into the Nightmare: My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and the Officer J.D. Tippit. Berkeley: Hightower, 2013.
Mekas, Jonas, Shirley Clarke, William Van Dyke, et al. “Film Unions and the Low-Budget Independent Film Production – an exploratory discussion.” Film Culture 22/23 (Summer 1961): 134-50.
Minnett, Mark. “Millhouse: The Problems and Opportunities of Political Cinema.” Film History 26, no. 1 (2014): 108-35.
Nichols, Bill. Ideology and the Image: Social Representation in the Cinema and Other Media. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981.
—. “Newsreel, 1967-1972: Film and Revolution.” In “Show Us Life”: Toward a History and Aesthetics of the Committed Documentary, edited by Thomas Waugh, 135-53. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1984.
—. Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.
Rosenthal, Alan. “Emile de Antonio: An Interview.” Film Quarterly 32, no.1 (Fall 1978): 4-17.
Shear, Michael D. “Trump to Release Kennedy Killing Papers.” New York Times, October 22, 2017.
Shenon, Philip. A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2013.
Sitney, P. Adams, Ken Kelman, et al. “What Are the New Critics Saying?” Film Culture 42 (Fall 1966): 76-88.
“Television’s School of Storm & Stress: Robert Drew’s Documentaries Aim at Photographic Realism.” Broadcasting, March 6, 1961.
Tuchman, Mitch. “Freedom of Information.” Film Comment 26, no. 4 (July/August 1990): 66, 68.
Waugh, Thomas. “Beyond Vérité: Emile de Antonio and the New Documentary of the Seventies.” In Movies and Methods, vol. 2, edited by Bill Nichols, 233-58. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.
Weiner, Bernard. “Radical Scavenging: An Interview with Emile de Antonio.” Film Quarterly 25 (Fall 1971): 3-15.
Winston, Brian. “A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma”: Wiseman and Public Television.” Studies in Documentary Film 3, no. 2 (November 2009): 95-111.
Zheutlin, Barbara. “The Art and Politics of the Documentary: A Symposium.” Cineaste 11, no. 3 (1981): 12-21.