Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 1/3/22 – Director Matthew Mishory and producer/financier Bradford L. Schlei have announced the start of production of Rubber Ring Films and Schlei’s Stone Canyon Entertainment’s exciting new feature docudrama Finding Fioretta.
Production is set to begin in late winter 2022. The production expects filming to get underway in the first quarter of 2022 in Vienna, Prague, Venice (Italy), and across Europe for the next several months, as well as in Los Angeles.
Mishory (Who Are The Marcuses?; Artur Schnabel: No Place of Exile) is co-writing the film along with Executive Producer Rob Levine (Columbo,Law & Order). Producers are Bradford L. Schlei (Swingers, Sling Blade and Spun) and Álvaro Fernández; Executive producing alongside Levine is E. Randol Schoenberg, himself the subject of the documentary and grandson of the legendary composer Arnold Schoenberg. The cinematographer is Michael Marius Pessah (Smiley, Face Killers, Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean).
A sweeping, epic documentary that plays like a thriller—part mystery, part travelogue, and part journey of discovery—Finding Fioretta is about the obsessive, multi-decade quest of a genealogist to find the centuries-old gravestone of his oldest known ancestor, a woman who died in the 1600s in the Jewish ghetto of Venice, Italy. That genealogist is Randy Schoenberg, the subject of worldwide attention and admiration in service of redemption and justice for the Jewish people.
In 2005, Randy successfully sued the Austrian government on behalf of Holocaust survivor Maria Altmann and recovered the five Gustav Klimt paintings stolen from her family by the Nazis. That case inspired the hit 2015 film Woman In Gold starring Ryan Reynolds (as Schoenberg) and Helen Mirren.
Schoenberg has been searching for Fioretta since he was eleven years old. It was then he first constructed the massive family tree (immortalized on Super8 film) that aroused a lifelong devotion to tracing his family history through the European centuries — from Italy to Prague to Vienna to Los Angeles.
Finding Fioretta combines a rich, historic visual universe with a frank and poignant assessment of European history, and the film gives up its secrets in real-time. From the cultural heights of art and music to the pain of Jewish expulsion and the Shoah, the Schoenberg story is the European story and reveres and honors history whilst revealing the future.
Randy’s cousin, Venetian painter Serena Nono, herself the daughter of avant-garde composer Luigi Nono, joins Randy on his quest through Central Europe, culminating in a forgotten graveyard on Venice’s Lido island where Fioretta lies buried.
Along the way, they encounter an eclectic cast of characters engaged in the painstaking and sometimes melancholy task of preserving European Jewish history. They include a haberdasher writing a genealogical encyclopedia of Jewish Vienna; a hatter excavating buried tombstones; a Czech woman memorializing the Jews who once lived on her street; an actor photographing Jewish cemeteries in the Bohemian countryside; and a child hidden from the Holocaust who now, at age 91, cares for the ancient cemetery on the Lido. We also meet the historians, archivists, and museum caretakers who are the officious custodians of precious artifacts and sites.
The family history they piece together, through historical records and lore, intersects not only emperors, kings, and popes, but also scientists, musicians, and a false messiah. It ends not in Europe, but Los Angeles, where the Schoenberg family was rebuilt in the decades after the Holocaust.
Mishory says, “America’s obsession with genealogy is really an obsession with storytelling. Randy has made it his life’s work to tell a 500-year story about his family, and that story is really the story of the Jews in Europe. This film explores themes that have always fascinated me: hidden histories, identity, and creative inspiration.”
“I’m glad to be taking this journey with Matthew and to use the format of a 500-year genealogical search to explore questions of identity and how the past is preserved and transmitted into the future,” adds Schoenberg.
Schlei quips, “It will be a pleasure to play Boswell to my old friend and esteemed colleague Randy Schoenberg. Examining the cultural heights of European history through the lens of his unique mind is a rare opportunity.”
Executive Producer/Co-Writer Levine concludes, “I am so thrilled to be working with this incredible team again. Finding Fioretta is a project that is sure to pique every viewer’s interest. It touches upon a myriad of subjects: history, religion, ancestry, music, art, science, and mystery. Above all, it is the story of one family’s quest to piece together their past and all of the unexpected discoveries that are uncovered along the way.”
Rubber Ring and Stone Canyon are about to lock the picture on the documentary feature Who Are The Marcuses? which unravels the mystery of a couple whose half-billion-dollar gift to Ben-Gurion University re-imagines regional conflict resolution in Israel and peace through water. The film features Warren Buffett, Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Gordis, best-selling philosopher Micah Goodman, Randol Schoenberg, and many others. It’s slated to begin its festival run in Spring 2022.
Most recently, Mishory and Producer/financier Bradford L. Schlei and director Matthew Mishory have announced Stone Canyon Entertainment’s acquisition of author Daniel Gordis’s prize-winning nonfiction epic, Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn for adaptation for television as a six-episode limited series. A Concise History of A Nation Reborn is the first comprehensive yet accessible history of the state of Israel from its inception to present-day, from Daniel Gordis, “one of the most respected Israel analysts” (The Forward) living and writing in Jerusalem. The team expects to begin production on the TV series later in 2022.