Paul Ratner

Sky City: The Ballad of Don Solomono

A short fiction film focusing on the real-life tale of Don Solomono, a Jewish German immigrant who became the leader of a Native American tribe.


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The LA Fellows

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Sasha Perry
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Corrie Siegel
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The Ballad of Don Solomono will be a short fiction film focusing on a few episodes in the real-life tale of Solomon Bibo, a Jewish immigrant who left Germany in 1869 while still a teenager to seek out the mythical “El Dorado” in America. Through incredible twists of fate, he became governor of the indigenous tribe of Acoma whose ancient pueblo (named “Sky City”) sits atop a beautiful and unassailable cliff in the middle of a New Mexico desert.  Solomon became known to the Indians as “Don Solomono” and married the granddaughter of the tribe’s former governor. Solomon’s amazing story spans the Napoleonic Wars, the aftermath of the American Civil War, the building of the Santa Fe railroad, the American Indian Wars (and such famous characters as Geronimo), the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, the Great Depression and leads all the way up to World War 2. Solomon’s descendants now live throughout the world.

The creation process, also includes filming a documentary series focusing on the process of creating the film and featuring conversations with modern Jews in the LA area, inspired by the questions that Don Solomono’s story raises. The film will talk about identity, intermarriage and dreams.  The documentary series will be presented via a video blog and public screenings.

Paul Ratner was born in the former Soviet Union, and had his first interactions with indigenous people during his early childhood when his family lived in Siberia.  Since moving to the US, he has continued to explore his fascination with the Native American community through film.  After studying film at Cornell and Chapman Universities, Paul started working as a professional in film and television.  He has worked in Hollywood and all over the world (Russia, India, Czech Republic), and made his own short films, music videos and documentaries.  Currently, he is in the last stages of post-production on his documentary feature film, The Caveman of Atomic City, which portrays a fringe philosopher who lived in a cave on the territory of the Los Alamos National Lab and came up with his own theory of time and space.

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Huffington Post
July 13, 2012