My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes

Oren Jacoby


Oren Jacoby is an independent filmmaker and playwright whose work has been nominated for an Academy Award and recognized by the American Film Institute, the Sundance Institute, the Tribeca Institute, and the Alfred I. DuPont/Columbia Awards.

He recently completed production of MY ITALIAN SECRET, a feature length documentary about Italy in World War II. He created and was executive producer for Bloomberg Television’s original documentary series, RISK TAKERS. Jacoby’s stage adaptation of Ralph Ellison’s INVISIBLE MAN premiered in 2012 at Chicago’s Court Theater and won a Jefferson Award for best New Play adaptation. “A remarkable, must-see dramatic achievement” - Chicago Tribune.

SISTER ROSE’S PASSION, (HBO Cinemax) was winner of Best Documentary Short Film at the Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award (2006). CONSTANTINE’S SWORD with James Carroll had a nation-wide theatrical release in 2008. LAFAYETTE: THE LOST HERO (PBS / Arté) aired in 2011.

Other credits include: THE LAST GIRL ON EARTH commissioned by the Tribeca Institute; TOPDOG DIARIES with Pulitzer prize-winner, Suzan-Lori Parks; THE SHAKESPEARE SESSIONS starring Kevin Kline, Cynthia Nixon, Liev Schreiber, and Charles S. Dutton; THE BEATLES REVOLUTION with Apple Corps for ABC/VH-1; SWINGIN’ WITH DUKE, featuring Duke Ellington and Wynton Marsalis; SAM SHEPARD: STALKING HIMSELF; THE IRISH IN AMERICA for PBS and MASTER THIEF on the art heist of the century on ABC. Jacoby also wrote, produced and directed THE RETURN TICKET, adapted from a story by Anton Chekhov; GHOSTS OF THE BAYOU, a New Orleans doc for National Geographic; IDOLS OF THE GAME, with Michael Jordan; BENNY GOODMAN: ADVENTURES IN THE KINGDOM OF SWING for American Masters; and, with Brook/Lapping Productions, THE SECOND RUSSIAN REVOLUTION, an inside look at Gorbachev and the collapse of the USSR, winner of the DuPont Gold Baton and called ‘the best BBC series of the decade’ by the London Independent.

Jacoby has directed plays at the Williamstown Theater Festival, Ensemble Studio Theater, Theater for the New City, the West Bank Café and regionally, including new works by Quincy Long, Russell Davis and Franz Xavier Kroetz, as well as classics by Moliere, Chekhov, Pirandello and Fugard. His stage adaptation of Ralph Ellison’s INVISIBLE MAN was performed in 2012-13 in productions at Washington’s Studio Theatre and the Huntington Theater in Boston.

He is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama and lives with his wife Betsy West and daughter in New York.

Isabella Rossellini


Isabella Rossellini grew up in Paris and Rome. At the age of 19, she moved to New York, where she became a translator and later a reporter for RAI-Italian Television.

Isabella made her cinematic debut in 1979 in Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's IL PRATO (THE MEADOW). Her American film debut was opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines in Taylor Hackford's WHITE NIGHTS. In 1986, she starred opposite Dennis Hopper as Dorothy Vallens, a tortured lounge singer, in David Lynch's haunting and controversial BLUE VELVET. Isabella has acted in a wide verity of films throughout her career. Her portrait of the Jewish Hassidic mother in LEFT LUGGAGE directed by Jeroen Krabbe, won a special award at the Berlin Film Festival in 1998.

In television, Isabella was most recently seen on NBC’s THE BLACK LIST and has appeared on several episodes of ABC's ALIAS. Other television credits include THE GIFT, CRIME OF THE CENTURY (Golden Globe nomination) and CHICAGO HOPE (Emmy Nomination).

Isabella wrote, directed and starred in a series of shorts called GREEN PORNO, which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.  For her work with GREEN PORNO, Isabella won herself a Webby Award for “Best Individual Performance”. She later adapted GREEN PORNO for the stage, which debuted in the US at BAM Theater in Brooklyn. She is currently traveling Europe and Australia with the show.




Deborah Peretz is an award winning film editor with over twenty years of experience in narrative and documentary films. After starting her career in Paris, she returned to New York and has had the privilege of working with such distinguished directors as Susan Lacy, David Grubin, Michael Epstein and DeWitt Sage, before collaborating with Oren Jacoby on MY ITALIAN SECRET.


Joel Goodman


Joel Goodman has scored 4 Oscar-nominated films and over 20 Emmy-nominated television programs and documentaries.

Joel composed the Main Theme for the PBS series American Experience, and scored more than a dozen episodes including: SeabiscuitWyatt EarpWalt Whitman, and Clinton, a four hour documentary about the 42nd president. He has scored over 30 films for HBO, most notably: Born RichWartornHear & NowA Small Act and Saving Pelican #895, for which he won an Emmy award. 

Being Elmo, the documentary about the man behind the Muppet, and Constantine's Sword, with James Carroll, directed by Oren Jacoby are just two of the films featuring Joel’s music to see a theatrical release.


Director of Photography

Bob Richman was born in Brooklyn New York and received a BA in psychology from SUNY Buffalo. He began his career in film working with the vérité pioneers Albert and David Maysles. In 1991, he shared the director of photography credit with Albert Maysles on Christo's UMBRELLAS. The film documented Christo's installation of three thousand umbrellas north of Los Angeles and north of Tokyo.

In 1993 Richman teamed up with Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky to shoot the HBO film PARADISE LOST: THE CHILD MURDERS OF ROBIN HOOD HILLS. Richman was nominated for a prime time Emmy. The film also the prestigious Peabody award for journalism. Richman continued his collaboration as director of photography with Berlinger and Sinofsky on PARADISE LOST 2, METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER, and the Sundance series ICONOCLAST.

Richman has collaborated with director Oren Jacoby on several films, including: SAM SHEPARD: STALKING HIMSELF (BBC & PBS) and CONSTANTINE'S SWORD.

Other credits include:  Nathaniel Kahn's MY ARCHITECT, nominated for an academy award, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, directed by Davis Guggenheim and winner of an academy award for best feature length documentary and THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE, directed by RJ Cutler, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival, where Richman won the grand jury prize for best documentary cinematography.

AHEAD OF TIME, Richman's first film as a director, is an intimate portrait of the 97 year old journalist and photo-journalist Ruth Gruber.


Line Producer

Eric Forman is a NY-based Line Producer with over a decade of experience.  He has played an active role in many hours of documentary programming, from development, through production, post, distribution and outreach.   Projects have ranged from large-scale documentaries with national television premieres and successful theatrical runs, to multi-part prime-time documentary TV series, to smaller films that went on the festival circuit and built an audience through DVD sales and online marketing.

Select credits include: Associate Producer, Ambrica Productions' YOUNG & RESTLESS IN CHINA (PBS Frontline, 2008); Supervising Producer - Globalvision's BARACK OBAMA: PEOPLE'S PRESIDENT (2009) and THE BATTLE OF DURBAN II: ISRAEL, PALESTINE & THEUNITED NATIONS (2010); Archival Producer - Reckless Productions' TEENAGE PAPARAZZO (HBO, 2011); Coordinating Producer - Storyville Films' RISK TAKERS (BloombergTV, 2011) and MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA (PBS/AOL, 2012); Co-Producer - Motherlode Productions' PATROLMAN P (2012).

Italy & the Holocaust Foundation

Italy and the Holocaust, Inc. (“the Foundation”) was founded in 2010 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to share the little known story of the role of Italy and many individual Italians in saving approximately 80% of the Jews in Italy during the Holocaust. The goal of the Foundation is to share stories of survival that were possible because people had the courage to care for their neighbors. In sharing these little known stories, the Foundation will educate generations to come that if people are not indifferent, things can be different. To learn more about the Foundation, please visit our website at

Joseph R. Perella

Executive Producer

Tony Carbonetti

Coordinating Producer

Vince DeGiaimo & Laura Newman

Consulting Co-Producers

Elizabeth Bettina & Vincent Marmorale

Consulting Producers

Steven M. Engel

Development Producer