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IC Documentarians

Cinematic Sleuth

“Truth is stranger than fiction,” says producer Susannah Ludwig ’93, explaining her love of documentary films. Her 2003 full-length (90 minutes) film Stolen: The Search for the Lost Vermeer, delved into the robbery of one of only 35 of the master’s surviving works, which was stolen in 1990 along with three Rembrandts and other precious works totaling $500 million from Boston’s Isabella Steward Gardner Museum.

Ludwig and director Rebecca Dreyfus considered the film a way to help uncover the robbers. “We couldn’t have invented a [main] character,” says Ludwig, “as intriguing” as Harold Smith, the art detective featured in the film.

“Doc makers don’t know the total story when they start out—you go on a journey in the process of making the film, and end at an altogether different place than you might have expected,” says Ludwig, who is married to another Park School graduate, sound editor Mike Poppleton ’93. Yet with The First X-Rated Kiss, about two New York filmmakers in love, now in production, she made the leap to fiction films—and has plans for more. Her doc-making, she believes, will only improve her fiction with “richer characters” that are seemingly real people. 

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Nisma Zaman '92
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Tate MacDowell '93