New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


For great Jersey music and much more, tune into our radio station at AsburyMusic.com

Anthony Giacchino

By Gary Wien


One of the things I love is when filmmakers turn to their own backyards to discover rather incredible pieces of history that have largely been forgotten. Director Anthony Giacchino does just that with "The Camden 28", a documentary about 28 people who risked everything to protest the war in Vietnam. Their goal was to break into a federal building in Camden and destroy draft records.

Among the 28 were four Catholic priests and one Lutheran Minister. They were all taught how to do things like pick locks by a man who turned out to be an informant for the FBI. Ironically, it was the informant who helped the group escape jail time. The story has so many twists and turns it proves the old adage that the truth is stranger than fiction. It also shows how sometimes we forget the stories that should always be remembered. The acquittals in this case represented the first complete legal victory for the antiwar movement in five years of similar draft board actions. This helped signify a change in the country's attitude towards the peace movement. And, it all happened in New Jersey.

"The Camden 28" is the first feature film by Giacchino. It has been playing in select theaters across the world for the past few months and will be shown nationally on PBS on September 11, 2007. I had a chance to speak with the former Burlington County resident about the film.

What was it about the story of The Camden 28 that really grabbed your attention?
Well, I grew up not far from Camden, but I didn't know anything about the story. I first heard about it in 1996 when I spoke with Father Michael Doyle who is in the film. My parents belong to his church. I thought it was kind of strange that such a big story and such an important story really wasn't that well known around here. I thought it was a great story and I wanted to save the history of it.

It was national news. There were editorials in the New York Times and Washington Post once the revelation of the FBI's role in this came out. I think it was the first time J. Edward Hoover and Attorney General Mitchell made a joint press conference announcement to announce the arrest.

There are so many issues brought up in the film such as our ability to trust the government and what lengths people will go to do things they believe in. The historian Howard Zinn put the Camden 28 in perspective of American civil disobedience like the Boston Tea Party and the release of slaves. In the end it seems like the best thing to happen to them for their cause was getting caught.
Right! It's funny you say that because obviously the intention was not to get caught. Although, interestingly enough, when they first planned out this action Father Doyle argued for doing it openly so they would be caught because he wanted to make an issue out of this. But he was outvoted and, as he says, he wasn't brave enough to do it by himself so he went along with the group.

You're absolutely right if they hadn't been caught, they wouldn't have been able to make all of their statements. So, in a weird way, it was good that they were caught but at the time it wasn't.

One of the big issues in the film is of the role of religion and war. Towards the end of the sixties, even religious leaders who had previously supported the war began pushing for peace. Today, most religious leaders seem to stand along the patriotic line more than for peace.
Right. The film recently played in New York City for two weeks at the Cinema Village. I went to all of the screenings to talk afterwards and a number of Camden 28 people came as well and one of the big questions they were all getting was 'Why was it like that then? And how did it change?' A lot of them - Father Doyle and Ned Murphy especially - said that partly it was our own fault for sort of letting it go and dealing with other issues.

This film proves that truth is stranger than fiction.
Exactly. I always thought it would have made a great movie, but I'm not sure anybody would believe it really happened. That's why I think it was important to make it a documentary.

In some ways, this is like a Greek tragedy that sort of unfolded with issues of betrayal, hubris, and all of that stuff. It's just a wonderful story.

You worked on documentary pieces for The History Channel for a long time. Do you have any plans to do an original film in the future?
I'm not sure yet. I was at The History Channel for 12 years. I'm no longer there, I'm staking out a career as an independent. I've thought about it, but right now I'm sticking with documentaries.

Are there people who do both? It would seem like you're either on one side or the other?
There are some who do it. I don't think you necessarily have to be one or the other. If it's clear that you're either doing a documentary or fiction it shouldn't be a problem.

How great is it that you do a film like this for your first feature length and it not only does well at the festivals but gets played in movie theaters and now will be shown nationally on PBS?
Yeah, and it wasn't the intention. I mean, you can always hope for that, but it's great that it all happened that way.



For more by this author, click here






UCPAC Presents Three Classic 80s Films on 35mm Film
 (RAHWAY, NJ) -- A series of three classic films is being presented on 35mm film at Union County Performing Arts Center’s Main Stage theater. All viewings cost a $5 admission ticket that includes a 30 minute pre-show on the theater’s historic "Biggest Little Wurlitzer" organ and free popcorn along with the film screening. The films include The Breakfast Club (January 25), Pretty Woman (February 15), and The Karate Kid (March 8).
Hopewell Theater Hosts Special Valentine's Screening of "Casablanca" With Supper
(HOPEWELL, NJ) -- Hopewell Theater will host a special “date night” celebration of Valentine’s Day with a screening of the classic romance film Casablanca paired with an optional Moroccan supper on Valentine's Day, Thursday, February 14. An undisputed masterpiece and perhaps Hollywood's quintessential statement on love and romance, Casablanca has only improved with age, boasting career-defining performances from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
A Look At New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, in association with the Rutgers University Program In Cinema Studies, presents the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019 which marks the festival's 37th Anniversary.  The Festival will take place between January 25 and March 1, 2019. Showcasing new international films, American independent features, experimental and short subjects, classic revivals, and cutting-edge documentaries, the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019 will feature over 35 film screenings. 
NJPAC Presents Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Live in Concert With The NJSO
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The Harry Potter Film Concert Series returns to New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Live in Concert, on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm. See the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra perform the magical score live while the entire film plays in high-definition on a 40-foot screen.


REVIEW: "If Beale Street Could Talk"
Outside of cinephile circles, filmmaker Barry Jenkins is perhaps best known for his role in arguably the greatest debacle in the history of the Academy Awards. On February 26th, 2017, La La Land was mistakenly announced as the Best Picture winner, only for it then to be revealed that Jenkins’ Moonlight was the actual winner.
New Jersey Film Festival: Spring 2019 - First 2 Weeks Preview
The New Jersey Film Festival - Spring 2019 takes place between January 25 and March 1, 2019 on the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick. Showcasing new international films, American independent features, experimental and short subjects, classic revivals, and cutting-edge documentaries, the festival features over 35 film screenings. Here is a preview of the first two weeks of the festival. For the full schedule visit www.njfilmfest.com
REVIEW: "Cold War"
Back in 2006, German cinema scored something of a breakout global hit with Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others, which followed the travails of a group of disgruntled, pro-western artists in communist era East Germany. At the time I couldn’t help view the protagonists of Von Donnersmarck’s drama as the sort of people who would be just as discontented with their lot if they found themselves living in the capitalist west. The grass is always greener on the other side.
REVIEW: "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald"
For better or worse (worse in this writer’s eyes), the success of the Harry Potter franchise is largely responsible for the current Hollywood landscape of endless sequels, prequels and that awful phrase “universe building.” The Potter films showed Hollywood that it was a far safer financial model to hook audiences into returning for instalments of an ongoing series rather than taking a punt on the unknown quantity of original properties.
REVIEW: "Shoplifters"
Earlier this year, writer/director extraordinaire Hirokazu Kore-eda surprised us with The Third Murder, a legal thriller that made for a stark departure from the sentimental family dramas he’s become known for. With his Palme d’Or winning Shoplifters, Kore-eda is back on familiar ground, but this particular family drama shares much in common with The Third Murder. With his thriller, Kore-eda deconstructed the genre, forcing us to question how willingly we place our trust in a storyteller. Similarly, Shoplifters sees Kore-eda lull his audience into a false sense of security, making us develop a warmth and affection towards people who may not warrant such empathy.






Event calendar
Sunday, Jan 20, 2019


MUSIC

The Brook Orchestra presents Fire & Ice @ Brook Arts Center, Bound Brook - 3:00pm

Bay Atlantic Symphony: Mozart & Verdi @ Stockton Performing Arts Center (StocktonPAC) in Galloway, Galloway - 2:00pm

Scott Wolfson & Other Heroes @ Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme, Succasunna - 4:00pm


THEATRE

"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Annie Jr. @ The Oakes Center, Summit - 2:00pm

Auditions: Born Yesterday @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 6:30pm







KIDS

American Girl Live @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 1:00pm


MISC

WWE Superstar Braun Strowman @ iPlay America, Freehold - 11:00am

View all events
























New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.