The Film

A Rendezvous With History
The Roosevelts of Hyde Park

A dramatic new orientation film—the first ever produced for visitors to the Roosevelt Home and Presidential Library—is a magnificent addition to the visitor experience in the Henry A. Wallace Visitor and Education Center. Produced in High Definition video with Surround Sound, A Rendezvous With History: The Roosevelts of Hyde Park was written and produced by Tom Spain Productions specifically for the Center’s new 140-seat theatre. A compact but powerful twelve-minute experience, A Rendezvous With History is more a “tone poem” than a documentary. It weaves historic footage and period music together with personal reflections on the lives of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt by two of their grandchildren, Curtis Roosevelt and Anna Eleanor Roosevelt. Breathtaking new aerial footage pays homage to the nation’s debt to Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration and its many thousands of public construction and conservation projects.

Filmmaker Tom Spain describes his work on the Roosevelts with these words: “To do justice to these two subjects, the film should be noble, grand, idiosyncratic, gracious, intelligent, sad, funny, and entertaining. Just like the Roosevelts. That is the goal. They provide some of that themselves. Their grandchildren provide us a unique window on their world. And then there is a half-century of history. The challenge is to combine all these things into a twelve-minute adventure. History, but not a history lesson. A daunting task. We think of the film as an overture, a brief prelude to a wonderful visit to one of American history’s greatest treasures.”

Tom Spain Productions

Tom Spain is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films have been broadcast as prime time specials on the commercial networks. A Rendezvous With History teams Tom Spain with co-producer/director Monica Lange and editor Linda Spain. Recently the three worked on the PBS special, America’s First River: Bill Moyers on the Hudson, chronicling the Hudson River and America’s awakening environmental consciousness. In 1977 Tom Spain won an Emmy and over thirty other journalism and broadcast awards for his CBS Reports documentary, The Fire Next Door, with Bill Moyers. This film about urban conditions in the Bronx led to federal legislation on arson and was cited as the year’s best documentary by the New York Times. Another CBS Reports project, Anyplace But Here, also garnered an Emmy and his film for NBC News, To Be An American, was awarded the Peabody. Spain’s work has also met great popular acclaim. If You Knew Sousa, his ninety-minute documentary about John Philip Sousa for PBS’s “American Experience” series quickly set a record for repeat performances. Tom Spain Productions is based out of a converted garage near Princeton, New Jersey and maintains a small staff supported by a group of extraordinary freelance film artists.

Images:

Anna Eleanor 
		  Roosevelt Tom Spain and Curtis Roosevelt Curtis Roosevelt

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, grandaughter of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, filming A Rendezvous with History. Photo Credit: Bill Urbin, NPS.
Director Tom Spain (left) and Curtis Roosevelt, grandson of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, take a break from filming. Photo Credit: Bill Urbin, NPS.
Curtis Roosevelt, grandson of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt (left), discusses his grandparents during the filming of A Rendezvous With History. Photo Credit: Bill Urbin, NPS.

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