Films are scheduled into 2 Hour Blocks, start times for individual films are approximate, please plan accordingly! Films at Columbia Center for the Arts only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday Skylight Theater and Saturday evening Hood River Hotel (downstairs) for the 3 D films segment. Scroll across page for full schedule.

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Saturday, November 8 • 1:20pm - 1:45pm
Witness 11

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Country of Production


Submitted by

Sean Mitchell


Washington D.C., 1947: The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC,) stands in session. Film director Herbert Biberman sits in the witness chair. When asked, “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” Biberman refuses to answer. Chairman Thomas responds with a verbal lashing and has Biberman arrested. In an outer room, Bertolt Brecht, wife Hellie, and 4-year-old daughter Barbara sit and wait. Brecht wears a Chairman Mao style jacket while Hellie tries to get him to change into a suit. “You should wear the costume of your interrogator,” she says. “This is not a performance, Hellie,” Brecht responds. Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, the second to last witness, approaches Brecht to talk some sense into him. Trumbo is concerned that Brecht, a well-known Marxist, will revoke his past and spit on his work in order to stay out of jail. Brecht, obviously torn about what to do, provokes Trumbo by responding “Survival first, morals later.” As Brecht enters the hearing room, Chairman Thomas cites the other ten witnesses’ later to become know as the Hollywood Ten for contempt of Congress. The committee’s grandstanding, the audiences’ thirst for blood, and the photographer’s bulbs flashing in a surreal light display make an impression on Brecht. He turns to his translator and muses, “This isn’t interrogation; it’s theater!” As he approaches the witness chair, Brecht must choose between betraying himself and his friends, and jail. Or will he find a third option? 


shorts narrative


Saturday November 8, 2014 1:20pm - 1:45pm
Studio Theater Columbia Center for the Arts 215 Cascade Street Hood River, OR

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