Documentary - Syndrome K

The true story of a fake disease that ended up saving lives. Coming to Digital platforms in the US in August, watch the trailer for the World War II documentary, Syndrome K...

Press Release

Freestyle Digital Media, the digital film distribution division of Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group has acquired North American rights from Insanely Practical Productions for the second documentary film directorial effort from filmmaker Stephen Edwards’ (acclaimed composer of Requiem for My Mother, and musical contributor to award-winning films such as Nomadland, Dallas Buyer’s Club), captivating new documentary Syndrome K. 

The last film to be narrated by acclaimed screen icon Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Field of Dreams), Syndrome K shines a light on the truly amazing story of three Roman Catholic doctors, who created a highly contagious fake disease during the Nazi Occupation of Rome to save Roman Jews in a Vatican-affiliated hospital from deportation to Auschwitz during WWII.

When Nazis invaded Rome in 1943, they immediately targeted the Roman Jews. Against Vatican orders, three Roman Catholic doctors - Adriano Ossicini, Giovanni Borromeo, & Vittorio Sacradoti - at Fatebenefratelli, the Vatican-affiliated Catholic hospital, hid many Jews who had sought refuge. Disguising them as sick patients infected with a wildly touted, highly contagious fake disease they dubbed Syndrome K to fool the Nazis, who were quite fearful of falling victim to disease, the doctors “quarantined” the “infected” Jews to protect them. As Nazi suspicions mounted, they were forced to elaborate and maintain this ruse to keep their countrymen alive until the Allied forces under General Mark Clark began the harrowing fight to liberate Rome from the South. Syndrome K might be the only horrible disease in history that actually saved lives – because it didn’t really exist.

Filmmaker Stephen Edwards said, “My favorite documentaries are those that speak about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. When I happened on the story of Syndrome K, I began researching the story immediately – learning about the three heroic doctors who successfully fooled Nazis saving hundreds of lives. Their bravery is an extraordinary lesson for every generation and one that we can’t wait to share with audiences everywhere.”

The live action narrative version of this extraordinary story is currently out to directors in Hollywood, written by Gregory Ballard (Bodysnatch), and produced by Chip Diggins (Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, Equals and Last Knights) and Lannette Turicchi (Waking Mathilda: A Memoir of Childhood Narcolepsy) .

Syndrome K is led by a vastly talented team of filmmakers beginning with directed & produced Stephen Edwards; narrated by Ray Liotta; executive produced by Lannette Turicchi (Waking Mathilda: A Memoir of Childhood Narcolepsy); Patrick Olson (Love and Honor), and James Duda; associate producers Christopher Lovasz, Peter J. D’Arruda (Space Command); and Maisy-Kay Kendrick; story by Stephen Edwards; written by Gregory Ballard (Bodysnatch); with re-creations produced & directed by Greg Hunter; Directors of Photography Robert Duncan, Craig Smith and Ilija Gavran (Lost Treasure of the Valley); edited by Greg Hunter (Relationship Status, Kaboom); with an original score by Stephen Edwards.

Freestyle Digital Media negotiated the deal to acquire Syndrome K directly with filmmaker Stephen Edwards of Insanely Practical Productions. Syndrome K will be available to rent and own on U.S. digital HD internet, and satellite platforms on August 16th, 2022 through Freestyle Digital Media. Find out more about the film at the Syndrome K website:

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