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New Film by Andy Kirshner Debunks the Legend of Henry Ford

A man presumed to be Henry Ford stands at a city intersection with his back to the camera.

A new film by Stamps Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor Andy Kir­sh­ner takes a bru­tally hon­est look at the com­plex legacy of an Amer­i­can icon, Henry Ford. 

Pre­mier­ing Nov. 6 at the Ojai Film Fes­ti­val in Cal­i­for­nia, 10 Ques­tions for Henry Ford is a fea­ture-length exper­i­men­tal doc­u­men­tary based on archival doc­u­ments, oral his­to­ries, Ford’s per­sonal note­books, and the automak­er’s tragic rela­tion­ship with his his­tor­i­cally under-appre­ci­ated son, Edsel. 

While acknowl­edg­ing Henry Ford’s remark­able accom­plish­ments, the film does not shy from plainly pre­sent­ing the indus­tri­al­ist’s vio­lent efforts to sup­press labor orga­niz­ing in his plants, or the influ­ence of his vir­u­lent anti­semitism on fas­cist move­ments around the world. 

Link­ing past to present, 10 Ques­tions” makes implicit con­nec­tions between the nativist, anti­se­mitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries pop­u­lar­ized by Henry Ford in the 1920’s, and the right wing extrem­ism and white nation­al­ism of today. 

A care­fully researched com­bi­na­tion of his­tor­i­cal fact and poetic imag­in­ing, the film is a musi­cal-visual-chore­o­graphic rumi­na­tion on the ways in which the lit­eral and fig­u­ra­tive ghosts of the past still haunt us. 

Fol­low­ing its live pre­mière in Ojai on Nov. 6, the film, which stars John Lep­ard as Henry Ford, will be avail­able on demand nation­ally between Nov. 9 – 14, through the Ojai Film Fes­ti­val website.