Visionary filmmaker Rolf Forsberg was born on July 12, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois. His early career was rooted in the theatrical world as a writer and director until life took a wildly unimaginable turn when Forsberg was commissioned to write and direct a motion picture for the Protestant and Orthodox Pavilion of the 1964 New York World's Fair.
The result was Parable, an allegory that imagined the world as a circus redeemed by a Christ-like figure portrayed as a clown.
Officials of the fair tried vigorously to ban the film from being shown, but Parable was shown again and again during 1964 and 1965 to appreciative audiences
and substantial critical acclaim. In 2012, Parable was added to the National Film Registry, which annually honors "Distinguished achievements in filmmaking considered of enduring importance to American culture."
With Parable, Rolf Forsberg had redefined the concept of the "church film" and set the stage for creating many more bold and often mind-boggling cinematic experiences,
including Ark, The Antkeeper, Stalked, Peace Child, and others.
Ron Reed, Founding Contributor at Filmwell, wrote: "Back in the Sixties, God was dead (or so the rumors had it), mainline churches were dying (though they didnít know
it yet), and the Jesus People hadnít yet been born (again). If you happened to love God and the movies, you were pretty much stuck with Bergman and Bresson Ė not that thatís
necessarily a problem, unless youíre prone to depression Ė and the occasional Cool Hand Luke angry young Christ figure. But a faith-filled few fought the good fight, in church
basements across the continent. Chief among them, Chicago-born Swede Rolf Forsberg, who brought a live theatre background (he directed Ed Asner in 'The Tempest' in the late
Fifties) and art house enthusiasm to some distinctive short films."
Mark Quigley, UCLA Film & Television Archive, wrote this about Forsberg:
"At mid-century, when once mighty religious institutions such as the Lutheran church saw their pulpits unsuccessfully competing with mass media for minds and hearts,
Forsberg tapped the primal, collective subconscious and conjured light and shadow to project the Gospel with allegory, enigmatic symbolism and poetic lyricism, boldly
confronting souls in ways previously unimagined."†
Rolf Forsberg died on Thursday morning, Feb 16, 2017. He never stopped working at the craft that he loved, and was working a deadline on a writing project, pounding on his
keyboard right up until the end. Cause of death was undiagnosed internal bleeding.
During the year preceding his sudden passing, Rolf relished the opportunity to fully participate in the restoration of Parable and the editing decisions for each of the four
films included in the Rolf Forsberg Legacy Collection Vol 1. Rolf wanted to create for his family a video memoir of his life's work. Shortly prior to his passing Rolf wrote and
narrated a 19-min slideshow that was produced by his friend, photographer Ian Campbell. Rolf was very pleased with the outcome and you can watch the presentation HERE.