Ever since I first saw John Sayles’ film Lone Star in the late 1990’s I’ve dreamed about getting him to make a film about my parents’ case. One reviewer captured the essence of that film, which is set in a small Texas border town: “Sayles ingeniously sets this mystery against the backdrop of a developing, multicultural community losing its economic base while haggling over a history of racism. The overall effect is of a complicated American tragedy mitigated by the possibility of personal redemption.”
I’d never seen a film in which the filmmaker handled political and personal complexity with such a deft hand. As I developed a more nuanced view of my parents’ case and my understanding of my parents as people deepened, I could think of no better person to do justice to their case and their lives than John Sayles.
As fate would have it, several years ago a dear friend’s sister, who handles John’s legal affairs, invited Elli and me and John and his partner, Maggie Renzi, to her New Year’s Eve party. Afterwards I arranged for my brother and me to meet with John to discuss the possibility of his doing a film about our parents’ case.
Since then, despite his remarkably full schedule, John has written a screenplay about the case that my brother and I are very excited about. In January my brother and I joined with John and Maggie to form JERO Films, LLC. The purpose of the company is to secure financing so that John Sayles’ screenplay can be transformed into a full-length feature film.
Of course the biggest hurdle is still before us: securing the millions of dollars necessary for this production. This is doubly challenging because it is difficult to raise funds for serious films with progressive themes. It is my hope, however, that by 2013, the 60th anniversary of my parents’ execution, the film will be a reality.
In the meantime, my family and the RFC staff have been imagining the cast. Who would play my parents, the Greenglasses, Manny Bloch, Roy Cohen, Judge Kaufman, etc.? I’d love to hear your ideas about this, keeping in mind that my parents were between the ages of 19 and 35 in the time-period covered by the film.
Who do you see as Ethel and Julius?
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