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A Q&A with Director Aviva Kempner afterward. Joining her will be Charles Pinck, who is in the film, and the head of the OSS Society.
Among the contemporary interviewees are authors Robert Fitts, David Ignatius, and Thomas Powers, baseball executives Jerry Reinsdorf and Bud Selig, biographer Nicholas Davidoff, film professor Annette Insdorf, Los Angeles Angels manager Brad Ausmus, MLB historian John Thorn, OSS Society President Charles Pinck, playwright Michael Frayn, sports columnist Ira Berkow, sports commentator Larry Merchant, and U.S. Senator Edward Markey.
Aviva Kempner’s The Spy Behind Home Plate is the first feature-length documentary to tell the real story of Morris “Moe” Berg, the enigmatic and brilliant Jewish baseball player turned spy. Berg caught and fielded in the major leagues during baseball’s Golden Age in the 1920s and 1930s. But very few people know that Berg also worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), spying in Europe and playing a prominent role in America’s efforts to undermine the German atomic bomb program during WWII. The Spy Behind Home Plate reveals the life of this unknown Jewish hero through rare historical footage and photographs as well as revealing interviews with an All-Star roster of celebrities and other individuals from the worlds of sports, spycraft, and history. Berg may have had only a .243 batting average during his 15-year major league career, but it was the stats he collected for the OSS that made him a most valuable player to his country during World War II.
Director Aviva Kempner.
Washington, DC-based filmmaker Aviva Kempner makes highly successful and critically acclaimed documentaries about under-known Jewish heroes. In May, Kempner released her latest film, The Spy Behind Home Plate, about Moe Berg who was a Major League Baseball catcher and a spy in the OSS during World War II. She produced, wrote and directed Rosenwald, a documentary about how Chicago businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald partnered with Booker T. Washington in establishing over 5,000 schools for African Americans in the Jim Crow South. She wrote, produced and directed the critically acclaimed Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg, about Gertrude Berg who created the first television sitcom. Kempner wrote and directed the tragic short comedy, Today I Vote for My Joey. She directed, wrote and produced the Emmy nominated and Peabody awarded The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, about the Hall Famer who faced anti Semitism during the 30s. She also produced and co-wrote the award-winning Partisans of Vilna, about Jews fighting the Nazis. A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Kempner is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the DC Mayor’s Art Award, WIFV Women of Vision Award and Media Arts Award from the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. She is the founder of the Washington Jewish Film Festival in Washington, DC. She is a voting rights advocate for Washington, D.C. Join us after the film for a Q & A with this accomplished filmmaker!