Sunday, May 4, 2008

"RFK" selected as Gala Opening Night Feature


"RFK" selected as Gala Opening Night Feature at Seattle Independent Film Festival; Festival screening marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Robert Kennedy

May 5, 2008

The new independent documentary feature film by Director Mark Sobel, "RFK," has been selected to be the spotlight opening night presentation at the Seattle Independent Film Festival on June 6. This is of particular note, since the start of the 40th anniversary-year of the tragic assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy coincides the day before on June 5.

On June 5, 1968 in the early moments of the morning, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was brutally gunned down in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the California Democratic primary in his bid for the Presidency in the 1968 election. Kennedy was running on an anti-war platform that was in opposition to the official position of his own party and Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, his rival for the nomination. Because of the unelected super-delegates already pledged to the Vice-President as a result of his incumbency, Humphrey was seemingly assured of the nomination until Kennedy entered the race and promised a fight from the floor to amend Democratic Convention rules to allow pledged delegates to vote for, what they perceive to be, "the will of the people." Kennedy, riding a wave of political victories in his late entry into the race, told the cheering crowd at the Ambassador in his midnight victory address that change would only come about if the super-delegates at the upcoming Democratic convention in Chicago that summer were freed from their pledge to Humphrey on the first ballot and be allowed instead to vote their conscience. The historic battle that was brewing for the convention nomination was cut short by an assassin's bullets at 12:15 a.m. as the Senator greeted-well wishers among the hotel staff in the kitchen pantry as he headed for a press conference. 4 shots struck the Senator, one passing harmlessly through his jacket, two non-fatal shots entering under his armpit, and a fatal shot that entered at the rear of his skull just behind the right ear. He was pronounced dead almost 26 hours later, practically 2 months to the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

In his 1968 campaign bid, Kennedy often repeated that "the American People want no more Vietnams" and that the American people needed "honesty and accountability from their elected leaders, and from the President of the United States;" words that clearly parallel today's Presidential race more closely than at any other time in the 40 years since the Senator's death.

"RFK" is not a conspiracy film, nor a tabloid-style "who-done-it," but rather the first contemporary documentary feature to present a detailed historical account of the night of June 4-5, 1968, of the subsequent trial of Sirhan Sirhan, and the 40 year aftermath that the assassination had on the lives of those who were present that night as part of the group of friends and associates encircling him at the moment of the fatal shooting. The film also presents to the American theatrical film-going public for the first time the long-vaulted hypnosis recordings of Sirhan Sirhan as he undergoes time-regression hypnosis in an effort to jog his amnesia relating to the events of the assassination. For 40 years Sirhan has continued to maintain that he cannot recall shooting the Senator, has no memory of planning the assassination, nor of writing the bizarre statements in his journal, such as "Robert Kenney must be assassinated before 5 June 68." At the 1969 trial, the defense admitted that Sirhan committed the crime, but sought reduced charges maintaining that he was acting at a reduced mental capacity at the time of the shooting. In testimony that created a sensation the world over, the defense psychiatrist argued that hypnosis sessions performed on Sirhan just prior to the trial convinced him that Sirhan was in a hypnotic trace at the moment of the fatal shooting, and that he had written many of his inflammatory statements in his journal while under a state of hypnosis. The jury rejected the defense arguments.

"RFK," Directed by Sobel, and Produced by Sobel and author/historian William Law, recently won the award for "OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY FEATURE" in its World Premiere at the Sacramento International Film Festival this past April. Pantry survivor Vincent Di Pierro appeared at a press conference in Sacramento at the time of the Film Festival, and requested that the California State Legislature place Sirhan Sirhan --- who is now 64 years-old and still in State custody --- back under time-regression hypnosis today, in an effort to discover who Sirhan was in contact with during the months leading up to the assassination, and exactly how the bizarre entries in his diary came to be written by Sirhan, and whether under hypnosis. Given the Defense plea, the 1969 trial had no reason to seek answers to these questions. Di Pierro said that it is still not too late for the 40th anniversary-year of the murder to prove to be "the year of full disclosure" relating to the 4-decade disputed case.

As no other Film Festival screenings are scheduled for "RFK" in the month of June, the Gala Screening of the feature on the opening night of the Seattle Festival is, effectively, its official 40th anniversary public presentation. The feature has not yet been screened by theatrical film distributors. The Festival runs June 6 - 15.

For tickets and more Festival Information, visit:

All questions regarding "RFK" can be directed to Director Mark Sobel:

(818) 763-5428

"RFK" official website and Electronic Press Kit:


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