After a preview of the new documentary about legendary baseball player Moe Berg, Annette Insdorf will interview Aviva Kempner—as part of the “Spotlight on Women in Film” mini-series within Reel Pieces—plus special guest Ira Berkow.
Kempner’s award-winning documentaries include the Emmy-nominated and Peabody-awarded The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, about the Hall of Famer who faced anti-Semitism in the 1930s. She wrote, produced and directed the critically acclaimed Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg about Gertrude Berg, creator of the first television sitcom. Her recent film Rosenwald tells the story of Chicago businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, who partnered with Booker T. Washington to establish over 5,000 schools for African-Americans in the Jim Crow South. She also conceived and produced the award-winning Partisans of Vilna, about Jewish resistance to the Nazis.
Kempner’s latest film, The Spy Behind Home Plate, is an entertaining and informative documentary about Moe Berg, the Major League baseball catcher who was also a spy in the OSS during World War II. A Princeton-educated polyglot whose friends included Babe Ruth, Chico Marx and Nelson Rockefeller, he traveled to Japan and recorded footage that would prove crucial to the U.S. war effort. The Spy Behind Home Plate reveals the life of this unknown Jewish hero through rare historical footage and photographs, as well as interviews with an all-star roster of celebrities and other individuals from the worlds of sports, spycraft and WWII history.
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 commentator Larry Merchant, and US Senator Edward Markey.