The newspapers still contain speculation about Sam Katz’s political future, and he’s lately been given to weighing in on pressing contemporary issues. But it’s when you engage him on his hometown’s past that Katz comes most alive.
The latest short film from Katz’s History Making Productions captures a city at war with itself during the struggle for independence. Characters including Thomas Paine and Betsy Ross wrestle with the meaning of phrases like “all men are created equal” as they try to rebuild a city and found a nation at the same time. As with the series’ other installments, Katz and his team bring our city’s history to life by combining academic rigor with gripping storytelling. Kudos to Channel 6 for preempting the ever-profitable Wheel of Fortune for such a local history lesson. But Katz the documentarian—and maybe Katz the once (and future) politician— understands that his films do more than look in our rear-view mirror: “You can’t envision where you want to go, if you have no idea where you’ve been,” he says.