(San Francisco, CA)— STOLEN, a film about one of the most daring art heists of all time, will have its television premiere on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Terrence Howard, on Tuesday, March 20, 2007, at 10pm.
In 1990, in the early morning hours after St. Patrick’s Day, thieves disguised as policemen gained access into Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner museum and successfully executed the largest art heist in modern history. Among the 13 priceless works stolen was Vermeer's The Concert one of only 35 of the masters surviving works. To date, not a single work has been recovered. STOLEN is a full exploration of this unusual crime and the fascinating, disparate characters involved: from the 19th-century Grand dame Isabella Gardner to the 17th- century Dutch masters to a 21st-century terrorist organization with a penchant for stealing Vermeers.
At the heart of the film is the unlikely hero Harold Smith, the renowned art detective. STOLEN follows Mr. Smith as he pursues the mystery of the stolen works. Despite his lifetime battle with skin cancer the cunning and witty Smith has made this case his personal obsession, working with what hope remains. With Mr. Smith as a guide, STOLEN journeys into the mysterious and surreal world of stolen art, and examines the many possibilities as to where the art might be. Interwoven with Smith's investigation are noted contemporary authors discussing the power of Vermeer's work as well as collector Isabella Stewart Gardner’s turn-of-the-century correspondence (read by Blythe Danner) with her advisor Bernard Berenson (read by Campbell Scott). These subplots give the film a larger context and help illuminate just what the world has lost. STOLEN brings the audience on a journey to understand not just a crime but also the nature of beauty itself—its fragility and its power.
STOLEN was made in cooperation with Court TV. The Interactive Companion Website The STOLEN interactive companion website (www.pbs.org/independentlens/stolen) features detailed information on the film including an interview with the filmmakers and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film and more.
About the Filmmakers
Rebecca Dreyfus (Director/Producer) is an award-winning independent filmmaker whose work legendary film critic Stanley Kauffman has called “a testament to what film can do in the hands of a good documentarian: turn fact into truth.” Her first award-winning feature film entitled Bye-Bye Babushka opened to critical acclaim in New York and Los Angeles and has been shown on television in more than 25 countries including PBS affiliates in the United States. Her two short films The Waiting and Roadblock have also earned prizes around the world as well as national and international television broadcasts. Ms. Dreyfus resides in New York and holds a BFA in film from SUNY Purchase. She has received numerous fellowships and grants for her work from institutions including The Sundance Film Institute, New York State Council on the Arts, The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), The Jerome Foundation, The Roy W. Dean Foundation and Women in Film. She is currently at work on a romantic comedy.
Susannah Ludwig (Producer) was named the 2003 Mark Silverman Fellow by The Sundance Institute, recognizing her as a “visionary independent producer.” She is the co-founder of Persistence of Vision Films/Flourish Films, a New York based production company. Ludwig has been a major force in the realization of numerous critically acclaimed films including Our Song, directed by Jim McKay (released May 2001 by IFC Films), The Ballad of Ramblin Jack, (released by Lot 47 Films), Spring Forward starring Ned Beatty and Liev Schreiber (distributed by IFC Films) and La Ciudad, (recipient of the Open Palm Award at the Gotham Awards, Best Picture at the Havana Film Festival and distributed by Zeitgeist Films). She was an associate producer on Mutiny: Asians Storm British Music, which is currently touring the festival circuit. In addition to her feature and television work, Ludwig often acts as producer on corporate videos and commercials. She is on the adjunct faculty at Long Island University where she teaches documentary film production. The PBS broadcast of the film is being sponsored by the Chubb Personal Insurance, long-time supporter of the arts, and leading provider of property and casualty insurance to art collectors and the owners of fine homes, automobiles and yachts.
About Independent Lens
Airing Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS, Independent Lens is a film festival in your living room. Hosted each week by independent film actor, Terrence Howard, the acclaimed, Emmy-Award winning anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of independent producers. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) funds and presents award-winning documentaries and dramas on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. ITVS is a miracle of public policy created by media activists, citizens and politicians seeking to foster plurality and diversity in public television. ITVS was established by a historic mandate of Congress to champion independently produced programs that take creative risks, spark public dialogue and serve underserved audiences. Since its inception in 1991, ITVS programs have revitalized the relationship between the public and public television, bringing TV audiences face-to-face with the lives and concerns of their fellow Americans. More information about ITVS can be obtained by visiting itvs.org. ITVS is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.
PBS is a media enterprise that serves 354 public noncommercial television stations and reaches almost 90 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet.
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