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The Independent Critic

Archival footage of Robert F. Kennedy and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. along with interviews with several who worked alongside both men.
Donald Boggs
55 Mins.
APT Worldwide

 "A Ripple of Hope" Review 

An official selection of the 2009 Indianapolis International Film estival in Indianapolis, the Indiana made "A Ripple of Hope" is a 55-minute documentary that tells the story of the night Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

That night, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was scheduled to give a speech at 17th & Broadway in Indianapolis, a predominantly black area of Indianapolis. While cities around the nation burst into riots and dozens of people nationwide died, Robert F. Kennedy gave a six-minute speech that calmed the grieving and seething city of Indianapolis and, against nearly everyone's prediction, the city of Indianapolis remained peaceful in the days that followed.

It would be only a few weeks later that Kennedy himself would be felled by an assassin's bullet.

"A Ripple of Hope" is believed to be the first time that Kennedy's speech has been presented in its entirety, assembled from several different news sources into one coherent, perfectly resonating speech in which Kennedy spoke humbly, honestly and with tremendous integrity to a crowd that, by all accounts, included vulnerable whites who had not heard the news and angry blacks who had.

The 55-minute film is wrapped around a significant amount of Kennedy archival footage, but also includes a number of interviews of both Indianapolis civic leaders and many of those who worked with Kennedy during his 1968 campaign. An independent historical documentary, "A Ripple of Hope" features digitally restored news footage along with original music from John Colby, a Grammy award-winning music director for Ken Burns' "Civil War" soundtrack.

Director Donald Boggs gives "A Ripple of Hope" a rather straightforward treatment, an approach that makes the simplicity of Kennedy's words all that more powerful as they play in the film.

Currently on the film festival circuit, Boggs hopes to secure national broadcast distribution for the film followed by DVD distribution.

"A Ripple of Hope" captured Heartland Film Festival's Audience Award for Best Documentary in 2008 and will be screened during the IIFF at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indianapolis in July 2009. For more info on IIFF, visit the festival's website.

by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
Copyright 2008-9