Haber (film)

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Haber
PosterWebHome.jpg
Directed by Daniel Ragussis
Produced by Daniel Ragussis
Shannon Factor
Chris Spanos
Brian Hwang
Written by Daniel Ragussis
Starring Christian Berkel
Juliane Köhler
Mark Margolis
Wolf Kahler
Music by Simon Taufique
Cinematography Carlos Veron
Edited by Sara Corrigan
Release date(s)
  • August 5, 2008 (2008-08-05) (Rhode Island International Film Festival)
Country United States
Language English

Haber is a 2008 short-film directed by Daniel Ragussis. The film is based around the work of Fritz Haber in developing chemical weaponry for the German army during World War I.

Although the film has not yet been released to the general public, screenings have taken place at film festivals around the world,[1] where it has received praise from the media.[2]

Plot[edit]

Fritz Haber was a brilliant German chemist with one of the most extraordinary dual legacies in history. On the one hand, his revolutionary process for creating synthetic fertilizers averted the greatest overpopulation crisis the world has ever known, won him the Nobel Prize in 1918, and now feeds over 2 billion people.

But Haber was also a staunch German patriot who loved his country with an almost blinding loyalty. Born and raised Jewish, his longing to be accepted as a true German and his intense ambition in his career led him to convert to Christianity and abandon his faith. When World War I broke out, the bloody stalemate of trench warfare threatened to slaughter an entire generation of young Germans, and the German military begged Haber to use his genius to create a new kind of weapon that could break the deadlock.

As Haber agonized over the decision, his wife, Clara, a chemist herself who had sacrificed her own career to support his, implored him not to go through with it. But Haber, his opportunity to become a true German hero finally at hand, agreed to help the military—and became the father of modern chemical warfare. Ultimately, the tragedy of Haber’s legacy was personal as well. Clara, horrified at his decision, committed suicide in protest.

Production[edit]

The film was first conceptualised by Ragussis whilst watching a documentary about Fritz Haber. He spent the first year on research, collecting information on the life of Fritz Haber and his wife, Clara, as well as subjects relating to him - such as World War I, German culture and society, and Jewish life in Germany.

Ragussis spent the second year on promotional efforts and fundraising. He developed film materials and applied for grants, which were accepted, and sought donations for the remainder of the budget.

Pre-production took place the following year leading up to the shoot; including hiring crew, finding locations, extensive additional period research, and casting, culminating with the casting of German actors Christian Berkel and Juliane Kohler as Haber and his wife Clara. The shooting of the film took place in just three weeks in June 2005, and was mostly shot in and around New York City, although the climactic gas attack sequence was shot with the help of the Great War Association in Newville, PA. After that, post-production began, and lasted for an additional two years. The film was released in festivals in 2008, screening at the Telluride Film Festival and winning the Best of the Fest Award at LA Shorts. It continued to screen at several more festivals worldwide into 2009.

Awards[edit]

  • Los Angeles International Short Film Festival - Best Of Festival Award - Winner
  • National Board of Review - Motion Pictures Award - Winner
  • Rhode Island International Film Festival - Grand Prize - Winner
  • The Jerome Foundation - New York City Media Arts Grant - Winner
  • The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation - Film Production Grant - Winner

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.haberfilm.com/screenings.html
  2. ^ http://www.haberfilm.com/press.html