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Truth & Conviction is a 4-part limited series which will capture one of the most powerful stories to come out of WWII. Driven by the disappearance of his Jewish friend, a 16-year-old boy named Helmuth Hübener takes a stand for truth. His brave resistance leads him all the way to the highest court in Nazi Germany.
Helmuth Hübener is an example of courage, strength, and an unwavering moral compass. This true story is captivating, but more importantly, inspiring for the rising generation. Teenagers feel a deep connection to one of their peers taking a stand for truth and freedom.
THE BRAVE STORY OF A 16-YEAR-OLD HERO
This story is virtually unknown and needs to be told. It impacts everyone who hears it. It will be the first dramatic limited series about teenage resistance fighters in Nazi Germany. It brings all of us to ask the questions: “What would I have done? And what can I do now?”
Some of the most successful and well-known films are set in the WWII era. We believe Truth & Conviction will appeal to a worldwide audience as did Schindler's List, Dunkirk, Saving Private Ryan, and many others.
STAND FOR TRUTH
Helmuth’s efforts are a shining example of peaceful resistance and the power of the written word. He was willing to sacrifice his life for Truth.
THE CREATORS BEHIND TRUTH & CONVICTION
Members of the Truth & Conviction team have been a part of many powerful projects, including Saints and Soldiers, Instrument of War, The Christ Child, The Card Counter, Stranger Things (Season Four), and HBO’s Chernobyl.
STAND FOR TRUTH
In order to do this story justice, the creators are pulling from direct sources such as the PBS documentary Truth & Conviction: The Helmuth Hübener Story, Nobel Laureate Gunter Gräss, and in-depth interviews with Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, the last surviving member of the Hübener Group and one of Helmuth’s best friends.
Today's youth are surrounded by influencers, but what they truly need are role models. We are reaching a period where survivors of Hitler’s reign will no longer be alive to tell their story. The Truth & Conviction limited series offers a chance to inspire the rising generation by showcasing young people who stood for truth and freedom. Our focus is reaching the 16-24 age group, who will be drawn to the bravery of normal teenagers challenging one of history's most notorious tyrants. Gen Z has the potential to stand up for what's right, even in the face of peer pressure.
Truth & Conviction is uniquely positioned to appeal to not only Baby Boomers and Gen X, but to their children and grandchildren. Our hope is that Gen Z will be moved by this story of individuals their age sacrificing for truth and freedom. Truth & Conviction aims to build a community motivated to defend truth and freedom in their own lives.
"This is one of those stories that sticks with you and influences your life for the better, at least that is what it did for me. It isn’t easy to stand up for what you believe in, in a world that stands against it. It’s still hard for me to take that stand today. But, learning about Helmuth and how he gave his life to fight for the good, he has become someone I look up to daily as a source of courage and a role model."
Based on an incredible true story, Truth & Conviction explores the complex bond between a brilliant young resistance fighter and the Gestapo agent intent on hunting him down. Each is convinced of the rightness of his cause, and each is forced to deal with the consequences of his beliefs.
Helmuth Hübener is a bright 16-year-old from Hamburg whose days are consumed in his adventures with his three best friends — Karl, Rudi, and Salomon. They are inseparable and intent on enjoying life, even in Nazi Germany.
Then Salomon disappears. Salomon is Jewish. And as Helmuth stands in the ransacked chaos of his friend’s empty apartment, he decides he must do something. He turns to the only weapon he knows: the written word. Overnight, hand-typed flyers on deep red parchment appear on the streets of Hamburg. “Hitler is a murderer. He is the guilty one.”
It is the beginning. For the Gestapo, it is high treason.
To Officer Müssener, the typewriter is more dangerous than the pistol. He becomes obsessed with hunting down the culprits. But as he intensifies his pursuit, even more flyers appear. Helmuth has recruited his friends, Karl and Rudi. Nearly every night, the three teens post flyers throughout Hamburg. For Helmuth, each flyer is a strike against Hitler.
For Müssener, each flyer is evidence. But as he pursues the treasonous criminal among the ranks of college professors and seasoned intellectuals, he is forced to deal with the words hammered onto each flyer — words he comes to realize as the truth.
Nearly a year later, he finally apprehends the perpetrators and is stunned to discover that it was all carried out by three teenage boys. The prisoners are dragged before Hitler’s highest court, the Blood Tribunal, where they are convicted of high treason.
Helmuth’s friends are sentenced to years in a Nazi prison camp. For Helmuth, the sentence is death. He would become the youngest resistance fighter to pay for his beliefs with his life.
He was seventeen.
In the vein of films like Braveheart and Spartacus, this limited series will explore the human struggle for freedom and will confirm the impact of one courageous voice. At the same time, it will capture the adventure and camaraderie of teenagers inspired to stand up for what is right, come what may. Think Schindler’s List meets Dead Poets Society.*
It is also a nuanced and complex story, reminiscent of the HBO series Chernobyl, interweaving the narratives of the brilliant young resistance fighter and the hardened Gestapo agent obsessed with hunting him down.
Karl-Heinz Schnibbe was the last surviving member of the Hübener Group and one of Helmuth’s best friends. In 2001, he shared with us his story of taking a stand against Hitler and it changed our lives. It brought us to tears, but it also made us smile. Most of all it inspired us to want to be better, to be more courageous, to be more honest.
Our goal is to create a limited series that will bring these same emotions and feelings to a worldwide audience. People everywhere feel a strong connection to stories of men and women overcoming the very human instinct of survival in order to stand up for what is right. Helmuth Hübener is a powerful example of inspiring self-sacrifice.
*Success in other projects does not guarantee success of Truth & Conviction. Revenue does not guarantee profits. There can be no assurance that the projected results will be obtained, and actual results may vary significantly from the projections.
Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, Rudi Wobbe, and their friend Helmuth Hübener were raised singing the old Christian hymn, “Do What Is Right, Let the Consequence Follow”. And that is exactly what they did, even though the consequence in their case meant prison camps and death.
This maxim to do what is right and let the consequence follow is the central theme of Truth & Conviction and is manifest in various measures throughout the limited series. Helmuth’s decision to type up anti-Hitler leaflets and distribute them throughout Hamburg was one striking example.
Almost every supporting character is presented with the choice of whether or not they’ll take a stand for what is right. There’s Helmuth’s church leader, himself a devout Nazi, who will decide if he’s going to turn over one of his own flock to the Gestapo. There’s also Helmuth’s stepfather, who will decide if he will stand in support of his condemned stepson within the very walls of Hitler’s highest court.
This extends even to the Gestapo agent, Officer Müssener. After Helmuth is sentenced to death, Müssener must decide if he will put his own career and life in jeopardy by requesting clemency for the young man whose words of truth have shattered his belief in Hitler. This exploration into what it means to do what is right, come what may, confronts us with the question: “What would I have done?”
Those who experience this true story feel a renewed gratitude for liberty and freedom. Viewers are also reminded of the dangers of extreme nationalism and its evil companion, racism.
Helmuth’s example of taking a stand for truth carries particular importance today, perhaps more than at any other time since the fall of Nazi Germany. As war has erupted again in Europe, we are confronted with the same questions that Helmuth and so many others faced, “Where can I find the truth? And when I find it, what will I do with it?”
In Helmuth’s case, he ignored the propaganda spouting from the “People’s Radio” and turned instead to the BBC broadcasts whispering the truth from an illegal shortwave radio. While listening, he realized the Truth about the Hitler regime. This fostered a deep Conviction in him — that he needed to share the truth about the Nazis. Helmuth’s story reminds us that truth is paramount, that liberty is fragile, and that taking a stand for what is right is as important today as it has ever been.
On June 6, 2001, Matt Whitaker filmed an interview with Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, the last surviving member of a teenage resistance group in Nazi Germany. Karl told his incredible story of standing up to Hitler, following the lead of his 16-year-old best friend, Helmuth Hübener. The story Karl shared that day would have a lasting impact on Matt and he was determined to create a film and bring this story to the world.
Matt Whitaker with Karl-Heinz Schnibbe
Three months later, on September 11, 2001, the world would change forever. And for Matt and Karl, the importance of sharing this story of standing up for truth and freedom became even more critical.
It would begin with a powerful PBS documentary in 2003, but Matt was soon making plans to adapt this story into a full-length feature film, intent on a worldwide theatrical release.
Matt and his writing partner, Ethan Vincent, would craft a screenplay that has garnered praise from the highest levels of the entertainment industry. In 2005, Matt partnered with the creative team at Kaleidoscope Pictures and together they launched their campaign to get the story of Truth & Conviction out to a global audience.
The journey that began in earnest in 2005 has been filled with incredible success — like having multiple Academy Award-nominated actors to star in the film. There have also been some unforeseeable challenges — like a worldwide housing collapse in 2008 that caused both the investors and the actors to pull out. Not to mention a worldwide pandemic in 2020 that shut the whole film industry down...
Finally, in 2022, the Truth & Conviction team partnered with Angel Studios. Since then, their original 2-hour movie script has expanded into an even more powerful and in-depth 4-part limited series. They intend to begin filming in Europe as soon as full financing has been secured.
“I love this photo of my dad. He was a B-24 Bomber pilot in WWII. I grew up fascinated with his stories of bomb runs and bravery and sheer panic. I watched virtually every war movie I could get my hands on. I came to realize that since the fall of Hitler’s Germany, hundreds of true stories from that period have been brought to the screen. I wasn’t alone in what seems to be an insatiable interest in this crucial chapter of world history.”
Angel Studios is the distributor of the phenomenal series The Chosen. In 2021 alone, The Chosen earned more than $80 million in revenue*, which is extraordinary for a faith series, and even more incredible when one considers the groundbreaking “pay-it-forward” model they've pioneered. Angel Studios has helped creators raise over $30 million to create shows that amplify light. They've done this by providing marketing support and consulting services to help creators raise money from investors.
Right now, we are gauging interest to see if the crowd wants to back this project. If we gain enough interest, we plan to go to the crowd to raise funds for this production. However, this wouldn’t be a typical crowdfunding where you get a company t-shirt with your equity, it would be a chance to be a part of something meaningful, and share in any profits of the project as well. If the show is profitable, our investors will share in those profits*. By expressing interest, you are helping us determine if we will allow the crowd to invest in Truth & Conviction, and reserving your space if we do!
*There is no guarantee of any return. The success of other projects does not guarantee the success of this project. Revenue generated by Angel Studios does not indicate profits earned by The Chosen, LLC or its investors.
For over 25 years, Matt Whitaker has been writing and directing for film and television. A specialist in the WWII genre, his numerous produced screenplays include the critically acclaimed war films Saints and Soldiers and Instrument of War.
He has creative-produced or directed over 100 commercials and short films shot in more than 30 countries around the world. His directing credits also include multiple award-winning documentaries for PBS including Ancestors and Small Fortunes: Microcredit and the Future of Poverty featuring Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Muhammad Yunus and Academy Award winning actress, Linda Hunt.
In 2002, Matt and a film crew traveled to Germany with the last surviving member of a teenage resistance group. This powerful experience led to the PBS documentary Truth & Conviction: The Helmuth Hübener Story, which has prepared the way for the dramatic limited series Truth & Conviction with Angel Studios.
Producer/Partner – Kaleidoscope Pictures
Russ Kendall is a Creative Producer and Head of Film & Television Production at Kaleidoscope Pictures. He has traveled the world, filming in thirty-five countries on six continents. He has helmed a variety of award-winning projects, including the Emmy® Award winning holiday feature, Winter Thaw — which The New York Times dubbed, “The best serious holiday film of the year” — and the innovative music docuseries, The Song That Changed My Life.
Russ recently produced the award-winning WWII feature, Instrument of War, on location in Lithuania, as well as The Christ Child, a powerful retelling of the nativity story. He also produced the soon-to-be-released Indie sports drama, Strong Enough, and is an executive producer of the upcoming family comedy, Aliens Abducted My Parents and Now I Feel Kinda Left Out, starring Will Forte.
He is currently in post-production on the fourth season of his latest music series, Grace Notes, which features the biggest and most influential artists in contemporary Christian and gospel music. Russ is a member of The Producers Guild of America and The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Producer – Kaleidoscope Pictures
John Foss is a director, producer, and writer whose work covers a range of feature films, television and short films. He wrote and directed the Indie sports drama, Strong Enough (2022), and produced the upcoming drama, The Integrity of Joseph Chambers (2022), with Sundance alumnus director Robert Machoian. John also recently supervised The Card Counter (2021), executive produced by Martin Scorsese and the Netflix holiday comedy, The Best Christmas Ever (2023).
Early in his career, John worked with veteran producer Michael Hausman (Amadeus, Gangs of New York) and in development with managers at Cinetic and Zero Gravity in NY. His work has garnered attention from a number of festivals, including Sundance, Austin, Heartland, Indianapolis, Vancouver, Tribeca and the Cannes Film festivals.
He received his MFA in film from the renowned graduate film division at Columbia University in New York City. Foss is a member of The Producers Guild of America and The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Historical Consultant/Resistance Fighter
Karl-Heinz Schnibbe (1924 – 2010) was the last surviving member of the Hübener Resistance Group. In 1941, he joined his best friend, Helmuth Hübener, in distributing anti-Hitler leaflets throughout Hamburg.
In 2002, he returned to Germany, accompanied by the Truth & Conviction documentary film crew. Karl would enter some of the exact cells where he and Helmuth had been held 60 years earlier.
Through more than 100 hours of interviews, Karl’s vivid memories of standing up to Hitler and the Nazi regime, and his unique outlook on the price of freedom, bring a powerful perspective and reality to the production of the Truth & Conviction limited series.
Producer at Baltic Film Services
Over the course of a 40-year career in the motion picture and television industry, Gary Tuck has worked as a producer, line producer, and completion bond representative. He is a British/American dual national and a member of The Production Guild of Great Britain.
Gary leads Baltic Film Services which is known for producing top-tier entertainment and is the leading international partner in the Baltics. This production company is positioned to work with foreign partners at a high level of efficiency.
Some of Gary’s credits include HBO’s Chernobyl, the BBC’s War & Peace, the WWII drama Defiance starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schrieber, and season four of Stranger Things. Truth & Conviction will be the third project that Gary has worked on with Kaleidoscope Pictures.