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From the 125th Annual Meeting column of the November 2010 issue of Perspectives on History

The American Film Company Sponsored Film Screening: The Conspirator

AHA Staff, November 2010

Saturday, January 8, 2011, 7:00–9:00 p.m. 

Marriott Boston Copley Place, Grand Ballroom G

The American Film Company presents an exclusive screening of their debut film, The Conspirator, directed by Robert Redford, written by James Solomon, and starring Robin Wright, James McAvoy, Kevin Kline, and Tom Wilkinson. The Conspirator will be released in theaters in spring 2011.

The Conspirator takes place in the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, as seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the president, the vice president, and the secretary of state. The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt, 42, owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous backdrop of post-Civil War Washington, newly minted lawyer Frederick Aiken, a 28-year-old Union war hero, reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal. As the trial unfolds, Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait and hostage in order to capture the only conspirator to have escaped a massive manhunt, her own son.

Immediately following the screening, we invite AHA members to take part in a panel discussion of the film with consulting historians Frederic L. Borch III, Kate Clifford Larson, and Thomas R. Turner.

Colonel Fred L. Borch (Ret.) is the regimental historian and archivist for the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He served 25 years as a military lawyer in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and was the first Department of Defense Office of Military Commission Chief Prosecutor (2003 to 2004). In that position, Borch was responsible for directing the overall prosecution efforts of the United States in military commissions involving alleged terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Kate Clifford Larson is the author of The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln among other books. Larson is an adjunct faculty member at Simmons College.

Thomas R. Turner, is a historian and professor at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts. He is the editor-in-chief of the quarterly journal Lincoln Herald, the oldest continuously published journal devoted to the study of Abraham Lincoln, which includes articles examining all facets of Lincoln’s life and the Civil War. Turner wrote The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, an analysis of the Civil War and the motivations of assassin John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators.

Founded on the belief that real life is often more compelling than fiction, The American Film Company produces feature films about incredible, true stories from America's past.

The American Film Company will also host a reception in the Marriott’s Ballroom F starting at 10 p.m. after the panel discussion.

Register to attend this exclusive screening of The Conspirator by visiting: www.TheAmericanFilmCompany.com/AHA.

The Conspirator