Skip to Content

Henry Ford's Ghost Confronts Complex Legacy in New Film by Andy Kirshner

A man acting in the role of Henry Ford's ghost wears a straw brimmed hat and sits on a subway car.
The ghost of Henry Ford (John Lepard) kills time on Detroit’s People Mover” 

10 Ques­tions for Henry Ford — written and directed by Andy Kir­sh­ner, an associate professor at the U‑M Stamps School of Art & Design and School of Music, Theatre & Dance — premieres Nov. 6 at the Ojai Film Fes­ti­val and will be avail­able on-demand virtually through the festival’s website to national audiences Nov. 9 – 14.

Part documentary, part biopic, 10 Ques­tions for Henry Ford follows Ford’s character, played by actor John Lepard, on a journey through the modern-day, post-industrial landscape of southeast Michigan, juxtaposing it with historical footage and photographs from 1914 – 41, Ford’s period of greatest public influence. 

To piece together the film, Kirshner poured through Ford’s personal notebooks, letters and documents, as well as newspaper clips, interviews, photographs, video footage and oral histories. He found them in various historical archives, including the National Archives, the Benson Ford Research Center at the Henry Ford Museum, the U‑M Bentley Historical Library and the Rabbi Leo M. Franklin Archives at Temple Beth El.

The presentation of it is very unique because the dialogue is completely based on words and ideas expressed by Ford,” said Kirshner, who began research for the film in 2016. In some cases, we’re guessing’ what he would have said based on how he is documented to have responded to personal and historical events throughout his life, and in others, we hear his words verbatim.”

Learn more about Kirshner’s film and process in this article from Michigan News. 

Watch the film on-demand virtually through the Ojai Film Fes­ti­val website Nov. 9 – 142021.