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By Film Threat Staff | August 27, 2008

The Los Angeles Shorts Film Festival presented its highest award this weekend to writer / director Daniel Ragussis for his film “Haber,” the story of Nobel Prize winner Fritz Haber, it was announced today by the film’s Producer Shannon Factor of Cinespire Entertainment. “I am honored to receive this prestigious award for a film that has consumed me personally and professionally,” said the director of his win. “Fritz Haber’s story is one that needs to be told and with the help of Hollywood, I hope to bring his story to the big screen in feature film format in the coming year.”

As winner of the “Best of the Fest,” the filmmakers received a $60,000 camera package and a qualification for an Academy Award nomination. LA Shorts Film Festival prides itself on its past expertise in selecting Award-winning films. Thirty of their festival shorts have received Oscar nominations, including 9 winners in the 12 years of the festival’s existence.

Fritz Haber was a brilliant German chemist with one of the most extraordinary dual legacies in history. His revolutionary process for creating synthetic fertilizers averted the greatest overpopulation crisis the world has ever known and now feeds over 2 billion people. But Haber was also a staunch German patriot who loved his country with an almost blinding loyalty. Born and raised Jewish, his longing to be accepted as a true German and his intense ambition in his career led him to convert to Christianity and abandon his faith. When World War I broke out, the bloody stalemate of trench warfare threatened to slaughter an entire generation of young Germans, and the German military begged Haber to use his genius to create a new kind of weapon that could break the deadlock.

As Haber agonized over the decision, his wife, Clara, a chemist herself who had sacrificed her own career to support his, implored him not to go through with it. But Haber, his opportunity to become a true German hero finally at hand, agreed to help the military and became the father of modern chemical warfare. Ultimately, the tragedy of Haber’s legacy was personal as well, for Clara, horrified at his decision, committed suicide in protest.

“Haber” stars award winning actors Christian Berkel (“Downfall,” “The Experiment”) as Fritz Haber , Juliane Kohler (“Nowhere in Africa”) as “Clara Haber,” Wolf Kahler (“Raiders of the Lost Ark”) as “Ludendorff” and Mark Margolis (“Pi”) as “Bremer.”

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