Ten Questions for Henry Ford

A hundred years after the publication of his notorious anti-Semitic screed, "The International Jew," the ghost of Henry Ford returns to modern Detroit to face a troubling legacy. A hybrid documentary, based on archival documents, oral histories, Ford's personal notebooks, and the automaker's tragic relationship with his forgotten son, Edsel.

In the early 1920’s, the American industrialist, Henry Ford, published a series of inflammatory anti-Semitic articles in his personal newspaper, The Dearborn Independent. Blaming Jews for everything from World War I and economic depression to short skirts and the corrupting influence of Jazz, Ford’s publications quickly spread around the world – and to Germany, where they became enormously popular. Adolf Hitler praised Ford as “the leader of our fascist movement in America,” and awarded him a medal.

In a moment marked by resurgent anti-Semitism and white nationalism, 10 Questions for Henry Ford follows the lingering ghost of Henry Ford on a journey through modern-day Detroit, confronting a world that is both profoundly disorienting and distressingly familiar. A carefully researched combination of historical fact and poetic imagining, 10 Questions is a musical-visual-choreographic rumination on the ways in which the literal and figurative ghosts of the past still haunt us.

  • Andy Kirshner
    Liberty's Secret
  • Andy Kirshner
    Liberty's Secret
  • Andy Kirshner
    Liberty's Secret
  • John Lepard
    Key Cast
    "Henry Ford"
    Detroiters, Batman v. Superman, Scream, Liberty's Secret,
  • Karen Everett
    Story Editor
    Displaced, American Visionary: The Story of Barbara Marx Hubbard, Baba Babee Skazala
  • Debbie Williams
    Liberty's Secret, It Follows
  • Roberta Helling
    Archival Researcher
    Frontline, Lords of Chaos, The Last Animals, The Last Race
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Feature
  • Genres:
    Docufiction, Jewish, hybrid documentary, historical documentary, experimental, poetic documentary
  • Runtime:
    57 minutes 8 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 15, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    95,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital SLR
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Ojai Film Festival
    Ojai, CA
    United States
    November 5, 2021
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival
    Boca Raton, FL
    United States
    February 2, 2022
    Florida Premiere (exact date of screening not yet set)
  • Ann Arbor Film Festival
    Ann Arbor, MI
    United States
    March 25, 2022
  • San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
    San Francisco, Oakland, Albany
    United States
    August 1, 2022
Director Biography - Andy Kirshner

Andy Kirshner uses film, theatre, music, and dance to explore complex social and historical questions. His musical and theatrical projects have been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Michigan Council on the Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the U.S. Department of Education. His recent feature film, Liberty’s Secret, toured film festivals in the U.S. and Germany, has been translated into Portuguese, German, and Thai, and is available on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and several other streaming channels internationally. A trained composer as well as filmmaker, Kirshner is an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, jointly appointed by the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and the Stamps School of Art and Design.

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Director Statement

I'd always heard that Henry Ford was anti-Semitic, but until I started researching a film about him, I had no idea just how influential his racist publications and statements have been over the last 100 years. I didn't know that there were defendants at the Nuremberg trials who cited Ford -- and not Hitler -- as their formative anti-Jewish influence. I didn't know that Ford's four-volume book, "The International Jew," had circulated around the world, and that it continues to inspire white supremacists and right-wing conspiracy theorists today. Nor did I realize how perilously close America itself had come to fascism in the 1930's, or how many fascist and white supremacist leaders were headquartered in my home state of Michigan -- literally a few miles from my home. And I knew nothing at all about Ford's forgotten son, Edsel, who in some ways is the quiet hero of this story.

"10 Questions for Henry Ford" is about the struggle between authoritarianism and democracy, between lies and truth, between nativism and pluralism, and, by extension, between Henry and Edsel. Needless to say, it's a struggle that the world is very much engaged in again today.