A FEATURE DOCUMENTARY SERIES
Four Died Trying explores the extraordinary lives and calamitous deaths of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy.
Filmed primarily from the vantage point of their children, close associates, and witnesses to their assassinations, the series considers the "turning” each of these men were making in the last year or so of their lives. Were they embracing ever-broader conceptions of the struggle for peace, social change and economic justice, and what forces may have stirred in opposition? What lessons do their lives and deaths hold for us today, as the world once again trembles on the cliff of an uncertain future?
Six years in the making, with nearly a hundred interviews and counting, Four Died Trying is scheduled for release in November 2023, to help commemorate the 60th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
After a long string of award-winning productions for major broadcast outlets, Director John Kirby and Producer Libby Handros joined forces twenty years ago to make the festival-darling BBC classic The American Ruling Class, starring Harper's Magazine editor Lewis Lapham.
JOHN KIRBY (Director)
Most recently, they defied the censors to produce PERSPECTIVES ON THE PANDEMIC, a series of interviews with epidemiologists and physicians who had questions about the science behind the Covid response.
LIBBY HANDROS (Producer)
MARK CRISPIN MILLER (Consulting Producer)
Professor Mark Crispin Miller is a media analyst whose work on propaganda, censorship, globalism, and tribalism have an international following. In addition to teaching Media Studies at NYU, he has written and edited numerous books, hosted a radio program, and performed his play A Patriot Act at the NY Theater Workshop. Miller earned his BA at Northwestern, and his MA and PhD at Johns Hopkins. He has been awarded fellowships from the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and Ingram Merrill Foundations.
His many books include Boxed In: The Culture of TV, Seeing Through Movies and The Bush Dyslexicon: Observations on a National Disorder.
ADRIENNE PAXTON (Segment Producer)
A three-time Emmy Award-winning producer, Adrienne Paxton is an artist who has worked on The Joan Rivers Show, Good Day New York and as Executive Producer of WWOR's 10 O’Clock News. Paxton produced the award-winning comedic film Mother of the Week, the documentary short Modrak in the Park, and the Emmy Award-winning debut season of Mario Armstrong's Never Settle Show. For three years, she served as Artistic Director of the Indie & Foreign Film Festival. She earned a BA in Communications from Fordham University, and has exhibited her artwork in solo shows and group shows in New York.
LEE DAVIS (Co Producer)
As a native New Yorker, an internship with Libby Handros while studying at Fordham University developed a hunger for film production. A fateful meeting with Spike Lee led to an apprenticeship with the director on the films Mo’ Better Blues, Crooklyn, and Malcolm X, and crucial production experience on national commercial spots including the groundbreaking Nike commercials. As screenwriter Davis' accolades include the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriting/Directing Fellowship, and being named to Variety Magazine’s Top Ten Screenwriters to Watch List. Directing credits include the Showtime Original feature 3AM and the documentary Hoop Reality.
KHUSHNUDA SHUKUROVA (Editor)
Khushnuda Shukurova, also known as Khushnuda Shukuri is a New York based director and editor, working in both documentary and fiction films. Born and raised in Tajikistan, she has directed and edited award-winning films, which have screened in multiple Oscar Qualifying film festivals, are available on popular streaming platforms (Apple TV, Amazon Prime), and aired on television (BBC Persia, PBS Montana). Shukuri’s recent directorial success, Detained, won 6 Best Director Awards. She also was an Assistant Editor for a Netflix documentary film Take Care of Maya. Currently, she is working as an editor on a documentary series Four Died Trying.
PAUL DEMONTE (Editor)
Born and raised in New York, Paul Demonte has spent many years as an independent filmmaker as well as a college professor, allowing each of his roles to inform the other. Paul has worked on numerous productions as lead editor including the award-winning independent television pilot, Cicatrix, and has also held the role as supervising editor on JetBlue’s Ready for Takeoff, which was shown on all flight seatbacks for a period of time. Alongside his work on Four Died Trying, his recent films focus on investigating global issues, including the independent documentaries Planet Lockdown and Nitrogen 2000: The Dutch Farmers’ Struggle.
NIKKI MILLER (Editor)
Event filmmaker turned documentary film editor, Nikki Miller ran an award winning event film company for 11 years before returning to her documentary roots. She majored in documentary filmmaking and received her undergraduate degree in media studies from Hunter College.
SHERMAN LUSTGARTEN (Editor)
Sherman Lustgarten has been in the post-production field for years now, having worked with The National Basketball Association/NBA Entertainment, USA Networks as an Assistant Video Editor, as well as Big Fish Entertainment where he had worked on the A&E series Live Rescue as an Editor.
He is a Freelance Video Editor as well as a Content Creator and Music Composer.
ALAN S. DEUTSCH (Director of Photography)
Alan Sterling Deutsch is an Emmy award-winning Cinematographer and Producer. He received his B.A. in Journalism (Television Production/ Cinematography) from NMSU and began his documentary shooting career with The Homefront with Bill Moyers for PBS, which won a Dupont Gold Baton Award. Since then, he’s traveled extensively, shooting films in Israel, Morocco, Armenia, Venezuela, Peru, Mexico, Africa, Norway, Soviet Georgia, India, Thailand, Japan and Europe, as well as the U.S. His many clients in film, television and commercials include Disney, ABC, PBS, HBO, National Geographic, MTV, Discovery, TLC, MSNBC, VH-1, Nickelodeon, FOX, Showtime, CNBC, Oxygen Media, Netflix and many others.
DAN FRIDMAN (Director of Photography)
Dan is a New York based cinematographer who has worked on a broad range of documentary subjects including social justice, music and comedy.
His past feature credits as cinematographer have screened at SXSW, CPH Docs, PBS and the Whitney Museum.
JOEL HAMBURGER (Composer)
Brooklyn based composer/producer/engineer Joel Hamburger has been creating music and sound design for film, TV, stage and games for close to two decades. Classically trained, his personal work with electronic based media explores the intersection of experimental processes and techniques with pop culture. As a composer/sound designer his work has been featured in the Tribeca Film Festival, Sundance and on HBO, ShowTime and Discovery ID as well as numerous off-Broadway productions.
As a producer/engineer/artist he has worked with and for artists from The National, My Brightest Diamond, Tom Jones earning him 3 gold records.
JONATHAN ASHLEY (Director of Animation)
From comics and video games to puppetry and play writing, Jonathan is always on the lookout for the next exciting collaboration. He loves creating unique characters, and vivid worlds for them to inhabit. He grew up in Arizona, then studied fine art at Boston's Museum School, and filmmaking at NYU. His film Notes from the Acrid Plain won 3rd Prize at The Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He wrote and illustrated the childrens' fantasy novel Lily & Kosmo (Simon & Schuster), and is doing post production for a Lily & Kosmo pilot. On Four Died Trying, he has experimented with a range of techniques to develop a style unique to this project.
See more of his work HERE.
DAVID HOCS (Sound Recordist)
David Hocs has worked in TV and Film production for over twenty-five years as a sound recordist, camera assistant, gaffer, and cinematographer. David has worked extensively in the US and abroad for numerous Emmy and Academy award winning documentaries. David's work has appeared on network and cable broadcasts as well as in theaters. In 1998 David recorded sound on the film Slam which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Golden Camera award at Cannes. In 2011 David recorded sound on both the feature and short Academy award winning documentaries, Inside Job and Strangers No More. In 2017, David won an award from the Cinema Audio Society for the recording of sound for the HBO documentary, Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge. Find him on IMDB and at www.davidhocs.com.
EVAN DOMINGUEZ (Additional Editing)
Evan Dominguez is a Brooklyn-born filmmaker and editor. Some of his forthcoming work includes The Press and the Public Project's ground-breaking feature documentary about the events of 9/11 as told by censored first responders, as well as a short narrative film written, produced, directed, acted in, and edited by him. Evan is also an undergraduate student at Brooklyn College, where he is learning Greek, Latin, and Music Theory/Composition.
TREVON COLBERT (Assistant Editor)
Colbert begins his career this year at THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC PROJECT, joining the team that has continued to deliver groundbreaking and inspirational content. Trevon was born and raised in New York City. Now that he has freshly graduated from college, he looks to begin his path into the film industry with the highly anticipated documentary series Four Died Trying.
MARK GORTON (Executive Producer)
Mark is the founder and Chairman of Tower Research Capital LLC, one of the leading computerized trading firms in the world. He was also the founder and CEO of the file sharing company, LimeWire. Gorton is a life-long advocate for livable streets, alternative transportation and open government. He founded Open Plans in 1999 and is also a Founding Board Member of Reinvent Albany, a non-profit that seeks ethical New York government and fair elections.