YOUR VOICE AGAINST INJUSTICE
Helena lived at the end of the 15th century in Innsbruck. It was a time and a place where women played a central role in society. They spoke their minds, they worked, they knew their rights and acted upon them. They were knowledgeable and often superior to their husbands. The woman of the late medieval ages showed their competencies and progressed their societies.
But that was about to change. Heinrich Kramer, a man deeply cleaved in a childhood trauma caused by his mother, took his personal hate and greed so far, that he induced the killing of thousands of women and determined their fate for years to come, by writing and executing one of the deadliest books in history: "The Hammer of Witches".
The only woman who dared to defy him and survived was Helena. Due to her determination intelligence and strong will she managed to save herself, change her fate and that of her female friends and to turn a society full of suspicion, hate and fear, back into the loving and joyful community it once was before Kramer dominated them.
Frustrated by his failure and deeply affected by the humiliation, Kramer wrote "The Hammer of Witches", a book that was the blue print for over 300 years for the torture and the killing of alleged witches. The described methods were later used by the secret state police as well as by many other secret services, to torture their victims.
WHY IT'S IMPORTANT
One of the methods described in the original "Hammer of Witches", the simulation of drowning is a method with the same effect as "Waterboarding", supported by Donald Trump again today.
This is a story that could not be more relevant, on May 18th 2017 The New Yorker titled: It didn’t take long for our President to declare the appointment of a special counsel for the Russia inquiry “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history.” But the topic is no longer a US topic alone. The proverbial witch hunt is again deeply ingrained in our society, from refugees, to Mexican immigrants, from cyber bullying to homosexuals.
Renowned US producer and writer Anne Marie Mackay will bring the story back to life. Together with a team of European producers and supported by the journalist Matthias Kessler, an international feature film will be developed to retell the tale of “The Hammer of Witches” to instill personal courage and social activism, so much needed in society today.
A PERSONAL NOTE FROM ANNE MARIE MACKAY
I am a veteran producer best known as a founding member of several visionary production companies including Propaganda Films, Palomar Pictures and most recently Wondros. From these platforms I launched notable directors David Fincher, Michael Bay, Antoine Fuqua, Gore Verbinski, Alex Proyas, Michel Gondry, Sofia Coppola, Mark Romanek and many others.
At the same time, I am credited with diversifying the careers of David Lynch, Francis Ford Coppola, Sir John Schlesinger, Ben Stiller, Forest Whitaker, David O. Russell, Michael Apted and Lee Daniels by providing both long and short form opportunities to these and other established filmmakers.
Recently I produced "American Dream American Knightmare" for Show Time, a documentary about Suge Knight and directed by Antoine Fuqua. I have been nominated for multiple Emmys and Grammys, including a nomination for my work as Executive Producer on "Stranger Adventures", an online game.
Following my latest film "The Last Word" directed by Mark Pellington and starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried I developed a slate of projects under my own banner, some of which I also wrote. The company’s first feature "Foster Boy" will be produced later this year.
This project is close to my heart because the persecution of all innocents is a story that must be told again and again. Though we as humans have advanced in so many ways, cruelty on a mass basis has not abated. It has been a lifetime objective for me to teach tolerance and the telling of this tale is another deeply powerful way to allow history to once again inform us of our humanity.
Its impact should be a reminder to search our own conscience, the part in all of us that remains hidden and seek out where we add to current day atrocities. By that I mean treating others with kindness and compassion should be a daily practice. By ignoring our own internal negativity we lend credence to the bigger acts committed in our name as a society.
I hope that audiences everywhere take away the message that it only takes one courageous individual, a woman in this instance, to speak out. There is a Helena in all of us. May we summon her in every moment of challenge so we too can claim we dared to do the right thing.