When Lightning Strikes: The Making and Meaning of a Patriotic Symbol

When Lightning Strikes: The Making and Meaning of a Patriotic Symbol

This blog post, written by Molly Hermann, Producer/Writer/Director of “A Star-Spangled Story: Battle for America,” appears on the National Museum of American History’s “O Say Can You See?” blog:

As ubiquitous as grass in a yard or mailboxes along the roadside, for Americans, our flag is the king-daddy of symbols. We planted one on the moon. Visitors tour Washington, D.C., every year wearing them on their t-shirts. The search to make sense of the 9/11 attacks caused such a run on flags you couldn’t buy one for a month. As children, we pledge allegiance to it. Caskets come home draped in it. It reflects and absorbs our beliefs.

You can read the rest of the blog post HERE.



UPDATE: The KICKSTARTER campaign was a success! Thank you to everybody who donated, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for your support. If you are still interested in donating to the project, please follow this link to donate with PayPal:

The Biscuit Factory has launched a Kickstarter campaign for our new independent feature film, WRITTEN OFF: The Short, Sad, Beautiful Life of Matt Edwards.

The film challenges the stigma of drug addiction and highlights the issue of prescription drug and opiate abuse by following the individual story of Matt Edwards, a Wisconsin teen who was given Oxycodone after a minor surgery when he was 15 years old.  Matt was immediately hooked, and continued using after his legitimate prescription expired.

The film chronicles his 10 year struggle, his descent into IV drug use and the web of lies he spun to keep his addiction a secret.  He kept a vivid account of his addiction battle in two spiral notebooks,  even chronicling his daily drug intake.  Through the candid lens of Matt’s journals, and those closest to him, the film will explore the family dynamics, secrecy and stigma of opiate addiction at a time when the issue has grown into a national emergency.

Everyday there is another front page tragedy detailing another spectacular fall from grace. But there is no real understanding of the complicated personal experience. All at once, Matt was lovable and despicable, funny and pathetic, young and old, destructive and aware of his failings. In his own words, the film will shift the way people think.

The Biscuit Factory Wins a 2013 CINE Masters Series Award

On June 17, 2013, The Biscuit Factory was honored at the CINE Awards Gala with a 2013 CINE Master Series Award for “9/11: Stories in Fragments.”  The Masters Series Award is presented to the “top telecast series and the best CINE Golden Eagle Award-winning production in each CINE Competition division from the previous calendar year.”  Molly Hermann (Producer/Director) and Rob Lyall (Director of Photography), founders and co-directors of The Biscuit Factory, accepted the award.  The producers wish to extend a special thanks to Cindy Kittner (Associate Producer), Andi Barrick (Editor), Steven Zorn (Writer), D.C. Goode (Narrator), Rob Migrin (Additional Photography), Pixeldust Studios (Graphics), Takoma Media (Sound Design & Mix) & Interface Media Group (Online).

The Biscuit Factory was also the recipient of a 2013 CINE Golden Eagle Award for “Jefferson’s Secret Bible.”  More information about the CINE Awards Gala winners can be found HERE.

Filming the Jefferson Bible

This post first appeared on the National Museum of American History’s O Say Can You See? blog:

I must admit I was skeptical. Very skeptical. As the new person tasked with finding compelling topics for Smithsonian Channel programs, it didn’t seem possible that a film about a 200-year-old book could be anything but, well, dusty and somewhat dry. When my colleagues suggested that I look into upcoming conservation work on Thomas Jefferson’s The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, commonly known as the Jefferson Bible, I wondered if they were hazing the new person on the team.

You can read the rest of this blog post here.

Blogging from Paradise

I’m sitting on the porch of a guest house.  It has a corregated tin roof and a floor made from lengths of bamboo split in half.  In one or two places, your foot goes right through the floor.  Inside are several bedrooms but a gigantic wolf spider- something like a less hairy tarantula in one of the bedrooms (“they are territorial”) makes the porch my perch of choice.  I’m drinking Nescafe surrounded by duffel bags.  The porch is surrounded by mud.  (Thank you for the wellies LLBean.) The mud is surrounded by water.  Yesterday we hiked from the beach of this island to this camp in knee, sometimes waist-deep water.  I took a wrong step and fell in the flooded river.  I hauled myself out with some help from the local man carrying my duffel bag.  That incident, plus a very small speedboat ride in giant swells that mostly landed in my lap have instilled in me a new, almost reverent appreciation for dry pants.  Also it rains here like nothing I’ve ever seen.  You can strip down and shower in it.  Last night it rained so hard our sound guy Aaron woke up in the middle of the night shouting “Are we going to survive!?”


There are about a dozen members of a family here, sitting hanging around the open fire (keeping the water hot for the Nescafe) and watching our preparations for filming birds.  We are on Fergusson Island, Papua New Guinea.  We are definitely the main event.  The people are friendly and helpful – they own this land and are paid for having us here.  They all chew betel nuts – bright green things, pointed on both ends that turn their teeth red. Some kind of lime dust activates them into a weak narcotic.  The effects seem to include incredibly fast speed walking through mud and carrying heaving objects as if they weighed nothing.  Yesterday, scouting in the swamped jungle, I turned around and the twelve-year-old boy behind me gave me a wide smile.  If I didn’t already know about the betel nuts, his red mouth,  the giant machete he was holding and PNG’s history of cannibalism would have really freaked me out.  The women in the camp offered me some betel nut – they called it “lipstick”. I think chewing betel nuts must be a national part-time job.

There is something incongruent about bringing 450 kg and six people into the remote jungle of PNG, 6 hours boat ride from the nearest airport during a period of torrential rain and flooding to photograph two colorful male birds dancing on a branch.  Or maybe worse, to make a film about two guys photographing two male birds dancing on a branch.  I guess that’s why no one else is going.  Anyway, the second half of our gear finally arrived at camp, much of it carried on the heads of elderly looking women.  I’m watching a giant black butterfly with two lemon yellow patches on it’s bottom feeding from red flowers in a tree next to my hut.  Like all things (spider) it’s as big as my fist.  (Did I mention the millipedes that spit red cyanide?  Don’t worry – the cure is rotten coconut.)


Coconut is actually sounding pretty good – meals here consist either of Andre the Giant’s saltines – tooth-breaker “Navy Biskets” eaten with peanut butter.  Disconcertingly they come in meat flavors.  Extra disconcertingly, the chicken flavored ones are the best.  They taste just like those crackers “Chicken n’ Biscuits” that were shaped like little chicken legs.  For dinner it’s ramen noodles with tinned fish (do not look at the picture on the can) white rice (a-plenty) and boiled root veggies – taro, white sweet potatoes and something called pumpkin that was more like a yam.  On top of whatever diabetic unfriendly combination you choose, it’s best to dump a lot of red duck sauce.  There is also a confusing array of drink packets – something that turns into milk, something that turns into cocoa and of course Nescafe.

I just found a Quantas Airlines cappuccino short bread cookie in my pack, I didn’t deign to eat it when I was still in civilization, but here it is amazing.