After World War II, a group of private American citizens
banded together in a clandestine effort
to transport Holocaust survivors to Palestine.
On July 11, 1947, in the port of Sête, France, 4,500 Jewish refugees were crammed into the hull of a decrepit steamship, later named Exodus 1947.
A British blockade intercepted Exodus 1947 in international waters off the coast of Palestine. The tense standoff culminated in a direct attack by military personnel against the unarmed civilians on the ship. This highly publicized international incident heavily influenced the United Nations resolution authorizing the partitioning of Palestine into separate Arab and Jewish states. Thus, the Exodus 1947 voyage acted as a catalyst in forming the new State of Israel. The documentary film focuses on clandestine and “illegal” American efforts to finance and crew the most infamous of ten American ships that attempted to bring Jewish refugees to Palestine.
EXODUS 1947 is a one hour documentary narrated by Morley Safer with a score by Ilan Rechtman. The film is a richly layered program, constructed with first person accounts to recall events that shaped world history.
A Production of Cicada Films in Association with Maryland Public Television
Elizabeth Rodgers, a Los Angeles native, is a screenwriter and filmmaker, having written for Paramount Pictures, Carsey/Werner and Showtime, among others. Her documentaries have appeared nationally on PBS and on educational television worldwide. Other producing credits include: Speaking In Strings (Academy Award nomination, 2000), Pharaoh’s Army, Blood Memory; The Legend of Beanie Short. She has a script in development at Killer Films based on the true story of the arrest of missionaries in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
Robby Henson received his M.F.A. from New York University’s graduate film school, his thesis film won the Student Academy Award. His films have been seen on PBS, the BBC, at Lincoln Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris and at festivals in Canada, Ireland, France, Yugoslavia and Australia. He has directed over 30 play productions in New York and regionally and has made 5 award winning documentaries shown on PBS including SPALDING GRAY: A LIFE IN PROGRESS and TROUBLE BEHIND a film about a Southern race riot which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. Switching gears to narrative, Robby’s dramatic first feature PHARAOH’S ARMY with Academy Award winner Chris Cooper, Patricia Clarkson and Kris Kristofferson was released theatrically by Lions Gate Films and was shown on PBS. He collaborated with Norman Jewison on a screenplay for Phoenix Pictures/Michael Medavoy. He wrote and directed THE BADGE, a southern crime drama staring Billy Bob Thornton that was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award and won Best Drama at the Breckinridge Film Festival and Best Feature Film at the Texas Film Festival. His third feature THE VISITATION, a supernatural thriller was released by 20th Century Fox last year and starred Edward Furlong, Kelly Lynch, Martin Donovan and Randy Travis. His 5th feature film, HOUSE, featured Michael Madsen.
Major Corporate Underwriting for EXODUS 1947 provided by:
The Jack Pechter Foundation
The Fund for Jewish Documentary Filmmaking at the National Foundation for Jewish Culture
The Righteous Persons Foundation
The Maryland Humanities Council
The Marvin Schapiro Foundation
The David Geffen Foundation
The Doris Rief Foundation
The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation
The Harry and Leah Gudelsky Foundation
The American-Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
The Experimental Television Center