Hidden Cabinet Films

big ideas in unexpected places


November 17, 2023

Voiceover recording—second try! (See entry below.) 🙂 We are also now in the midst of licensing archival footage and acquiring music rights. Our audio mixer is standing by! Onward!

November 15, 2023

We have recorded voiceover—at the wonderful and bucolic Studio Unicorn in Connecticut—and we now have a basic website!

October 12, 2023

We are delighted to welcome sound engineer Fernando Arruda to our team! Based in Florida, and originally from Brazil, Fernando has worked closely with Senior Editor David Ritsher on many projects for Frontline World. He’s a great talent, incredibly perceptive, a real professional, and a super nice guy to boot. Onward toward festival submission in mid-December and early January!

September 26, 2023

Click here for a lovely program on radio ORF, in German, about “The Volunteers” and the visit of Seattle Mountain Rescue to Tyrol. Click here for another newspaper article (for the first, see our post on September 21). A nice, extensive television program was also broadcast, here, but it may be available only temporarily.

September 21, 2023

At this very moment, members of Seattle Mountain Rescue are visiting their counterparts in Tyrollean Bergrettung, beginning an exchange program between the two organizations in recognition of their historic connection. Hidden Cabinet is thrilled to have helped bring these two groups of extraordinary volunteers together. Read more about the exchange in this article (in German)—with further reportage to follow in coming days and to be posted here.

August 18, 2023

In advance of a major post-production grant currently under consideration, we are delighted to have partnered with fiscal sponsor From the Heart Productions!

The name suits our orientation to a T.

August 10, 2023

Thanks to a handful of our loyal supporters, we are now in compliance with the public support test required of IRS 501(c)(3) public charities. Onward toward post-production!

August 1, 2023

It’s a wrap! Our last round of production in Washington was a grand success.  Here’s the crew about to part after a very intense few days of dawn-til-dusk filming—with fond hopes of working together again:

and here are David Ritsher and Mark Weiner discussing an interview about to take place at the new headquarters of Seattle Mountain Rescue:

Mark and David have been working all along on our rough cut, and it’s now 1 hour and 45 minutes long. Onward to post-production! Our hope is to have the film completed by the end of the year.

June 10, 2023

From opposite ends of the country, we are starting to lay down a rough cut.

June 6, 2023

We have just completed a very successful week of filming in Washington. Our team is running like a well oiled machine.

May 3, 2023

Mark and David recently sat down in a series of intensive editing sessions and laid down a good rough draft of 40 minutes of the film. Where we’ll take this material is still very TBD, but it all looks wonderful. We feel a strong, warm wind in our sails.

February 1, 2023

Our producer and editor spent an intense, highly productive ten days together in Berkeley, California in January reviewing footage and completing two grant applications to support “The Volunteers.” Things are moving along! In the meantime, we received the second phase of our support from the Reid Hoffman Foundation! Depending on the outcome of our grant applications, we’ll be conducting another fundraising campaign later this year to meet the IRS public support test for charitable organizations. We’ll be meeting again together later this month to plan the year ahead.

December 6, 2022

We are delighted to that second phase of our support from the Reid Hoffman Foundation is in process!

November 12, 2022

We held our first in-person board meeting since Covid today. We discussed the progress of “The Volunteers,” including our application to the National Endowment for the Humanities, and began a review of our bylaws.

October, 2022

We are immeasurably sad to share the loss of one our treasured supporters, Michael Curtis. We will never forget the enthusiasm with which he put wind in our sails, or the example of his life.

October 18, 2022

Last Saturday, our U.S. cinematographer traveled to North Bend to film a Seattle Mountain Rescue training session, and this Saturday, he and our editor will be filming SMR members as they put some finish construction touches on their new station house.

October 2, 2022

We have completed our first production trip to Tyrol—a great success. We needed to cancel our production trip to Seattle due to unexpected circumstances of one of the members of our team, but we are making arrangements to film there soon.

August 25, 2022

A brief essay drawn from historical research for “The Volunteers” appeared today on the website of the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies.

August 20, 2022

Things are sailing along! Among other things, we are creating a detailed shot list for our upcoming production trip.

July 17, 2022

We have just made arrangements for a ten-day production trip to Tirol in late September. We’ll then begin production in Seattle in early October. We also have a new working title: “The Volunteers.” Upward!

June 26, 2022

We are very pleased to welcome award-winning documentarian David Ritsher to our team as editor. David has decades of experience with Frontline/World, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and KQED, among other top-line outfits.

May 27, 2022

Our pre-production trip to Innsbruck was a grand success. Most important, we met some of the members of the rescue service who clearly embody the themes of the film and who are excited to take part in it.

March 26, 2022

You can listen to a podcast about “A New Light in the Mountains here.

March 12, 2022

Our pre-production trip to Seattle could not have gone better.

February 9, 2022

In just a few weeks, we’ll be heading to Seattle for pre-production research with families of some key figures in the history of mountain rescue in the Pacific Northwest. We’ll also be visiting the archives of the University of Washington and scouting locations with a cinematographer. Back in Austria, our friends with the mountain rescue service continue to report that filming would be too difficult given Covid restrictions.

December 30, 2021

Austria’s Covid lockdowns forced us to cancel our planned production trip for December/January. We are making lemonade out of lemons by turning our attention to part of our story about Austrian mountain rescue that will take us to Seattle, Washington. We’ll return to Austria once we feel confident that we can film there freely. In the meantime, we have a working title: “A New Light in the Mountains.”

October 10, 2021

We have returned from a very successful pre-production trip to Austria. 27 meetings over 14 weekdays! Salzburg, Innsbruck, Vienna, and places in between. Our ship is setting sail.

August 25, 2021

We have a sound man, we have a camera man, we have a composer, and we have a musician! Provisionally, anyway. They are excited about the project, and we are looking forward to working with them once we move into production in late 2021/early 2022.

August 9, 2021

We are delighted to welcome two new members to our board of directors! As our stalwart friend and wise counsel Mike Widener steps down and heads off to a glorious retirement, we welcome to our team Howard Kaplan, the former Director of Educational Programs at the American Bar Association, and William Stowe, Benjamin Waite Profess of the English Language, Emeritus, at Wesleyan University.

August 4, 2021

We are speaking with a composer whose music we greatly admire about the possibility of writing a score for “Tending the Wounded.” Stay tuned! The first meeting of our pre-production trip is now scheduled for September 23 in Berchtesgaden.

July 21, 2021

We are preparing for pre-production travel to Austria in mid-September, and we have engaged an audio engineer to conduct field recording in Austria—he is marvelous! Up, up and away!

March 1, 2021

We are thrilled to share that thanks to the generosity of over 120 individual contributors, we have exceeded our fundraising goal! Hidden Cabinet Films is now ready to set sail on its project “Tending the Wounded”—and we are able to absorb the two institutional grants we received from the Reid Hoffman Foundation and the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies while remaining fully compliant with IRS regulations regarding the level of public support required of 501(c)(3) organizations. Thank you! We will always remember the donors who had our back from the very start. Further contributions will now go toward meeting a future challenge grant. Onward with a sweet wind in our billowing mainsail!

February 11, 2021

Thanks to the support of over 110 individual contributors, we have achieved our fundraising goal! We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the backing of our early contributors and their belief in our work. They will always hold a special place in the annals in Hidden Cabinet, and they will be foremost in our mind as we move ahead with “Tending the Wounded.” Work begins tomorrow. (Tonight, we allow ourselves some champagne.)

February 6, 2021

We have raised 90% of our fundraising goal in two weeks! Now we only need to raise about $3000 (+ $800 to cover credit card transaction fees and campaign administrative costs) and we’ll have reached the finish line. This may be too much to hope for, but if we could raise another $4000 on top of that, then Hidden Cabinet Films would be set through tax year 2022—and, we anticipate, well into the future. Up, plane, up!

February 1, 2021

As of 5:30 p.m., we have raised 75% of our fundraising goal! $22,620 in nine days! Thanks to our contributors for putting so much wind in our sails!

January 30, 2021

As of 10 p.m. this evening, we have raised $20,220 in our fundraising campaign—over two-thirds of our goal. Thanks to our donors for your enthusiastic support!

January 23, 2021

Our fundraiser for “Tending the Wounded” has begun!

January 2021

The pandemic may have slowed us down, but now Hidden Cabinet is back and raring to go! With light at the end of the viral tunnel, we are starting to plan our multi-media series on emergency medical services—which, under the circumstances, we believe is more relevant than ever. Stay tuned for our fundraising campaign. The campaign will enable us to comply with IRS rules about 501(c)(3) organizations in the wake of the grants we received from the Reid Hoffman Foundation and the Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies. Our intermediate goal is to raise $30,000. If we can raise more, then further funding awaits us from the Reid Hoffman Foundation in the form of a challenge grant.

August 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Hidden Cabinet has received a grant from the Reid Hoffman Foundation to create a series of videos and podcasts about the social and philosophical significance of emergency medical services.

July 2020

We are delighted to report that Hidden Cabinet has received a grant from the Botstiber Intstitute for Austrian-American Studies to conduct research and create a series of videos and podcasts about the philosophical significance of the Austrian mountain rescue service—the Bergrettung. We also are the in process of receiving a foundation grant to create a related series of videos and podcasts about the social and philosophical significance of emergency medical services. Stay tuned for our charitable campaign to help us meet our fundraising goals!

August 2017

We came close! But in the end, we didn’t receive that NEH project development grant. Our peer review panel was really encouraging, though, and its members wrote some very heartening things about our proposal and past work, like:

“I will give this proposal the highest accolade”; “I believe that this project is truly pioneering … The thoroughness of the treatment was exemplary”; “This is an exemplary proposal”; “This proposal is of the highest quality and relevance [and] the humanities scholarship informing the project is very high”; and “Each of Weiner’s four documentaries are marvelous. I find them beyond impressive.”

Those kind words took some of the sting out of the disappointment.

We don’t waste time in mourning. We have dusted ourselves off and are back in the saddle. Plus, our videos for the Grolier Club exhibit “Law’s Picture Books” are ready to go and will be set up on sit in early September. Forward!

July 2017

The films for “Law’s Picture Books” have a nifty new interface for viewing on our video kiosk.

May 2017

Our five short films for “Law’s Picture Books” are complete. Come see them at the Grolier Club in September 2017. More news will follow in coming months.

February 2017

We’re color correcting and grading “Love & Surprise” for the exhibit “Law’s Picture Books,” to open at the Grolier Club in New York in September. Everything is moving along nicely. See you there!

January 9, 2017

We’ve applied for a development grant to the National Endowment for the Humanities for a documentary project called “Islam and the Constitution: A Conversation Between Texts.” The project also was recently included as part of a major grant application by a Washington-based NGO to a private foundation. The NEH application includes a top-flight board of humanities advisors and media team.

December 15, 2016

We’ve completed rough cuts of “Love & Surprise: A Visit to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair,” “A Philosophical Question,” and “Two Ways to Work” for the “Law’s Picture Books.”

September 28, 2016

Post-production has begun on “Bookwork as Handwork,” which will accompany the exhibition “Law’s Picture Books” at the Grolier Club in New York City, which opens in September 2017. The exhibition examines illustrated law books from the 13th century to the present.

July 19, 2016

We’ve released our latest video, “Preservation Waltz.” Books, forests, and domestic architecture in Austria: it’s all about sustainability.

July 10, 2016

We are very pleased to have been granted 501(c)(3) status by the Internal Revenue Service. Forward & upward!

June 2016

Hidden Cabinet Films is delighted to have received its first commission: to produce “Bookwork as Handwork” to accompany the exhibition “Law’s Picture Books,” to open at The Grolier Club in New York City in September 2017.

We’re also in the midst of applying for two nonprofit grants to produce exciting films about legal history, the constitutional protection of religious pluralism, and rare books. Wish us luck!

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