Sunday, September 28, 2014

Why I'm not participating in Jason Schmidt's dubious documentary project about my father [Part I]: He's willing to accept funding from my father -- and from me

Jason Schmidt and Cincinnati Red's player Todd Frazier, who made headlines a couple years ago for performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking man in a Pittsburgh restaurant (source)

I've always thought my father's bizarre career along with his twisted personal life would make a terrific documentary.

Perhaps not surprisingly, as his (very) unauthorized amateur biographer and most outspoken critic, I've been approached over the years by a handful of filmmakers who had the same idea.

One recent contender is Jason Schmidt, who, per his website, "is a veteran freelance video editor based in New York City."

Since last year, he's been trying to get a project off the ground called The Maneuver: The Inside Story of Dr. Henry Heimlich as his directorial debut.

This past April he contacted me and invited me to be interviewed.

He didn't impress me in the least, so I politely declined.

I also requested that if anyone asked if I was participating in his project, that they be informed that I wasn't.

Since then, a few articles and press releases have appeared about his project and in July a Kickstarter campaign raised close to $32,000 in funding.

Friends have asked why I gave him a thumbs-down, plus I've got some editorial and fund raising concerns about the project, hence this item.

I prefer to keep my posts short, so here's Part I.

Photo by Wesley Mann for The Hollywood Reporter

In initial e-mails, Schmidt informed me he'd already conducted a round of interviews in Cincinnati, including a lengthy interview with my then 93-year-old father at the retirement community where he's lived in recent years.

Putting aside whatever you think of our research, my wife and I probably know more about Henry Heimlich than anyone except Henry Heimlich.

And over the past decade we've accumulated thousands of important documents, some of which were the basis for the scores of print and broadcast reports since 2003 based on our research that helped expose my father as a dangerous charlatan and world-class scammer.

Seth Abramovitch (source)

Here's the most recent, the jaw-dropping August 14 Hollywood Reporter expose by reporter Seth Abramovitch, How Dr. Heimlich Maneuvered Hollywood Into Backing His Dangerous AIDS "Cure," based on documents I shared with the magazine.

My point?

Love me or not, I've got the goods.

Therefore, what kind of documentary maker would conduct an in-depth interview with my father without first trying to pick my brain for possible questions to ask Dr. Maneuver?

But here's where the Schmidt really hit the fan.

In an initial e-mail, I asked him about his funding source for the round of Cincinnati interviews he'd completed.

His reply?
I imagine you're dancing around the question of whether or not this project is funded by your father or sympathetic associates? If that's the case, you can be assured that no such money has been offered or accepted. Perhaps that will change...and likewise, if you know of any deep-pocketed patrons/benefactors interested in supporting a great project, I'm all ears.
Hear that fluttering of wings?

Sounds to me like credibility flying out the window.

First, I'd never participate in a project with anyone willing to accept funds from my father or his associates or from me or anyone I might steer to him.

Second, I'd never participate in a project with anyone so indiscreet and lacking in self-awareness that they'd put such an abysmal admission in writing.

Speaking of abysmal, check out the film's trailer:

Part II: My father's press agent helped fund Jason Schmidt's documentary -- and she says she's personal friends with Schmidt

Part III: A Problematic "Heimlich Artwork" Kickstarter Premium and My Father's Relationships with Narco Docs

Part IV: Other problems with the film's Kickstarter fund raising campaign

Part V: Jason Schmidt refuses to answer my questions about false and/or problematic claims in his project's Kickstarter funding campaign