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JFK assassination Orville Nix film lawsuit asks for return of film

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AP Photo/Ike Altgens

While the Abraham Zapruder’s footage of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination is perhaps the most recognizable imagery of the Nov. 22, 1963 murder, a second film shot by Orville Nix offers another key viewpoint of the scene. And now Nix’s granddaughter is hoping to reclaim the original film.

Gayle Nix Jackson has filed a lawsuit against the United States government for the return of her grandfather’s film, which the lawsuit claims the Warren Commission investigating the assassination claimed to be “just as important as the more famous Zapruder film.” She is otherwise seeking monetary compensation (the suit indicates the film is worth $10 million) for the film, which, while copies are even available online, remains missing in its original form. In 1999, the government paid Zapruder’s family $16 million for his 8 mm footage. 

The lawsuit claims Jackson is seeking the return of the film in some part to “provide an opportunity for researchers and others to examine the JFK assassination and grassy knoll area to confirm the Warren Commission or HSCA findings.”

Nix originally sold the film to United Press International for $5,000, with the promise that it would be returned in 25 years, but Nix died in 1972. The House Select Committee on Assassinations eventually obtained the original film in 1978, which depicts the grassy knoll and what some believe to be a second gunman other than Lee Harvey Oswald.

According to the lawsuit, the film was given to the National Archives and Records Administration by HSCA, however the NARA, as Jackson states, has told her it no longer has it in its possession. In other words, no one knows where it is.

Kennedy’s assassination, and the conspiracies around it, have been fodder for film and television stories, including the Oscar-winning JFK and Stephen King’s 11/22/63, which is being turned into a 2016 Hulu series

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