Rosemarie Reed Productions, LTD / Films For Thought

Rosemarie Reed is an award-winning producer of documentary films. And she travels the world. When she is not in New York or Berlin, the two places she likes to call home, she can be found in Paris, London, Moscow, or Sydney in pursuit of her films. Most of her work portrays women in science, politics, history and the arts, some famous, some forgotten. Her goal is to document the achievements, plights, and legacies of women often invisible to the larger world.

Contact Rosemarie Reed at .

On The Road Productions is a 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit. Donations are gratefully accepted.

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The Path to Nuclear Fission

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Out from the Shadows

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Where Birds Never Sang

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Widow of the Revolution

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Conversations with Gorbachev

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Russia Betrayed?

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Byron and Babbage: A Calculating Story

photograph: The National Gallery, London

The program tells the story of the unusual scientific alliance in 19th-century Britain, between Ada Byron Lovelace (1815-1852), a young aristocratic lady with a zealous interest in mathematics, and Charles Babbage (1791-1871), an eccentric mathematician, mechanical engineer, philosopher, and inventor. Highly talented, of wealthy background, and ambitious, Babbage wants to move British science, not to mention British society as a whole, forward. One of the imperfections of his time that particularly frustrates him is the high error rate in the calculation of math tables. To remove the human error factor Babbage plans to find a new method that can be used to calculate mechanically. In 1822 he begins with what he calls the Difference Engine, a huge machine to compute values of polynomial functions. Although the attempt at making the Difference Engine eventually crumbles, Babbage starts designing a different, more complex machine — called the Analytical Engine — that can be programmed using punch cards. The development of the Analytical Engine takes an unexpected turn when in 1834 Babbage's controversial undertaking arouses the interest of a young woman: Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace and the only legitimate daughter of the romantic poet Lord Byron.

photograph: The Science Museum, London

In the late 1970s, the US Department of Defense commissioned a major new computer language named "Ada" after the Countess of Lovelace. The American National Standards Institute approved "Ada" as a national all-purpose standard in 1983, the International Organization for Standardization followed suit in 1987. The most current version is "Ada 2005".

Rosemarie Reed Producer/Director
Writer Victoria Zackheim
Editor Dina Potocki

Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

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The Path to Nuclear Fission: The Story of Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn

photograph: Max Planck Archiv, Berlin

The Path to Nuclear Fission: The Story of Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn is a portrait of the life and times of two remarkable scientists and their extraordinary collaboration that culminated in the discovery of nuclear fission, and the beginnings of the development of atomic science in the first part of the twentieth century.

The film focuses on the science but the relevant events and politics of an exceedingly turbulent time in world history are examined. The film offers its audience insight into the scientific, social, and political events of the first half of the twentieth century.

The project also concentrates on an aspect of the fission story that is not so well known but dramatic nonetheless, namely, along with the story of the discovery itself, the story of the lives of the discoverers, the physicist Lise Meitner and the chemist Otto Hahn.

narrated by Linda Hunt

Rosemarie Reed Producer/Director
Writer Michelle Zackheim
Editor Dina Potocki

Buy "The Path to Nuclear Fission" at for $19.95 or, for a discount, at CreateSpace.

Funded by The National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

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Tracing Thalidomide: The Story of Frances Kelsey

photograph: The National Archives,
Washington D.C.

1960 was a defining year for the decade. John Fitzgerald Kennedy becomes the 35th President of the United States. Media attention in the States is drawn to the South, where African Americans begin sit-ins to protest lunch-counter segregation. Francis Gary Powers, flying a U-2 spy plane, is shot down over the U.S.S.R., launching a diatribe against the U.S. by Khrushchev. Fidel Castro, the liberator of Cuba, announces that he's a Communist and the U.S. government reacts by throwing up an embargo against sugar imports. France tests its first atomic bomb in the Sahara and there are massive demonstrations of Africans against the apartheid government of South Africa. Israel captures Adolph Eichmann in Argentina. War breaks out in the Congo and Cyprus wins its independence. And on September 12, 1960, immediately after joining the FDA, Frances Kelsey, with both a Ph.D. and medical degree, is given her first assignment: to approve or deny the United States distribution of Kevadon, generic name: thalidomide: A seemingly inconsequential event, considering the explosive state of the world. But Kelsey's decision to thwart the efforts of a powerful pharmaceutical company, Richardson-Merrell, saved countless numbers of American children from lifelong disabilities.

Rosemarie Reed Producer/Director
Writer/Developer Victoria Zackheim
Editor Dina Potocki

Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

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Out from the Shadows: The Story Of Irène Joliot-Curie and Frédéric Joliot-Curie

photograph: AIP Center for the History of Physics

This program relates the life and times of Irène Joliot-Curie, the eldest daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie. Although less well known than her parents, Irène and her husband, Frédéric, made a contribution to nuclear physics that was of equally ground-breaking significance. And like her parents, they were awarded a Nobel Prize. In 1934, Irène and her husband announced in a report to the French Academy of Sciences that they had created a radioactive atom which did not exist in nature. The bombardment of a simple sheet of aluminum with alpha rays had produced a phosphorus isotope which disintegrated just like natural radioactive elements.

Until then radioactivity had been a phenomenon which scientists could not influence or manipulate, but which they were able to observe in certain heavy nuclei. The discovery of the Joliot-Curies marked the beginning of a new era in the relationship of man towards matter: it had become possible to artificially create new atoms and new sources of radioactive radiation. The discovery of artificial radioactivity was also an important step towards the discovery of nuclear fission, made in 1938, and the development of the atomic bomb, completed in 1944.

narrated by Julianne Moore

Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the
2009 Paris Science Film Festival in France.

Rosemarie Reed Producer/Director  
Co-Producer Michael Wachholz
Writer Rosemarie Reed and Michael Wachholz
Editor Dina Potocki

Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

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Where Birds Never Sang: The Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camps

Seventy-six kilometers north of Berlin is a pastoral setting accessible by a road that winds through a woods of pine trees, with splashes of wild flowers leading down to a lake. There, one can recline on the sandy beach and look across to the medieval town of Fürstenberg, or watch local fishermen working from their docks and small boats, old men smoking pipes as they calmly fish for a living and for sustenance, as they have for centuries. Fürstenberg is a sylvan setting, its quiet broken only by the breeze moving through the trees and an occasional church bell, quiet, peaceful, a place of refuge for citizens escaping the hubbub of Berlin or simply wishing a moment of reflection and solace. Not far from the center of this village is a wall, rather tall and imposing, made not of hand-cut stones, but of concrete. Even more startling, more incongruous, is the second wall of barbed wire. It is only then that we realize that behind this wall separating tranquility from history is Ravensbrück. Ravensbrück was not the only concentration camp for women, there were many others. Ravensbrück was the largest concentration camp for women on the grounds of the German Reich.

Sachsenhausen concentration camp 1936 - 1945

Located in Oranienburg, a small town at the northern edge of Berlin, Sachsenhausen concentration camp was built in the summer of 1936 by prisoners from other concentration camps. It was the first camp to be built after 'Reichsführer SS' Heinrich Himmler was put in charge of the German police in July 1936. The new concentration camp was designed and planned by SS architects to be the ideal camp. It was to express the world view of the SS in its architecture and at the same time symbolically subdue the prisoners to the absolute power of the SS. Sachsenhausen concentration camp took on a special position in the system of NS concentration camps. This was highlighted by the move of the concentration camp inspectorate's administrative department from Berlin to Oranienburg. The inspectorate was responsible for all of the concentration camps within the German realm of power.

Between 1936 and 1945, more than 200,000 people were imprisoned in Sachsenhausen. At first the prisoners were political opponents of the national socialist regime, then came the people declared by the national socialists to be racially or biologically inferior and from 1939 onwards, increasing numbers of citizens from occupied European countries were transported to the camp.

photograph: John Colton/On the Road Productions International, Inc.

Rosemarie Reed Producer/Director
Associate Producer Michael Wachholz
Writer Victoria Zackheim
Editor Dina Potocki

This film project has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

Funded by the Fund for Women's History of the Holocaust and anonymous private foundations

additional funding by:

Christopher and Carrie Reed
Richard and Dorothy Reed

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Widow of the Revolution: The Anna Larina Story

photograph: Katrina vanden Heuvel

Anna Larina was the young bride of Nikolai Bukharin, one of the top ten Bolsheviks in the early years of the Russian Revolution. This documentary is based on her memorable autobiography, This I Cannot Forget, which she wrote late in life, after being imprisoned for almost twenty years in the Russian Gulag. Larina's life story is recounted by her, interwoven with extraordinary archival film and interviews.

Larina had grown up amidst the dazzling personalities in Revolutionary circles and recalls Lenin, Stalin and others. She recounts her love affair and marriage with Bukharin, which ended with his arrest in 1937, during Stalin's Great Terror. Shortly thereafter, she was arrested, sent to Astrakhan Prison and later to the Siberian gulag camps where she spent twenty years. She followed Stalin's notorious show trials as closely as she could; these crushed the Party's ideals and hopes of reform. Bukharin was executed after the trials. Decades later in 1992, when Stalin's personal archives were opened, Bukharin's books, philosophical treatises, poetry and a novel were discovered. One of these, How It All Began, was published around the world. Upon Stalin's death in 1956, Larina was released from the camps.

Due to Larina's efforts, Bukharin was rehabilitated in 1992 by the Russian government when Gorbachev felt the need to show that there had been an alternative to the Stalinist legacy. The Russian scholar, Stephen F. Cohen, who narrates this documentary, became a close friend of this exceptionally courageous woman.

"...a moving profile...suggested for both serious students of Russian history and biography buffs." Booklist

"an informative historical documentary...a compelling story told here with archival footage, photos, and Larina's own recollections and commentary..." Cineaste


Doubletake Film Festival, 2001
Gold Medal, World Media Festival, Hamburg, 2001
Hot Springs Documentary Film festival, 2001


Featuring the voice of Vanessa Redgraves as Anna Larina

Producer/Director Rosemarie Reed
Narrator and Correspondent Stephen F. Cohen


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