The Two Dollar Bill Documentary
By Veronica Haggar
The Two Dollar Bill Documentary, produced and directed by filmmaker John Bennardo, premiered on Nov. 6 at the Fort Lauderdale International Festival.
“There is so much great information in the film, I myself was surprised that there was this much information,” said John Bennardo. “There’s a lot of history to them (the two dollar bills) that people don’t know, there’s a lot of superstitions about them, people think they’re good luck, people think they are bad luck, and we have all the reasons why,” explained Bennardo describing some of the information in the film. “Some two dollar bills have gone to the moon, people took them with them, astronauts took them for good luck.”
The documentary tells unbelievable stories about the two dollar bills and how special they are for many individuals. Some have gone through a personal experience in which the two dollar bill becomes something more meaningful than just a printed piece of paper.
“There’s some great stories about a woman whose husband died in 9/11 and they were able to identify him because of the two dollar bill in his wallet,” said Bennardo. “There’s just so many fascinating stories I can’t even begin to list them all but it’s just been amazing to see how much there is about the two dollar bill, and it’s all in the film.”
Just like many other people, Bennardo has collected two dollar bills since he was a child. He started to ask himself why these bills are so exceptional, and his interested in the bills just kept growing more and more.
“I would see them every once in awhile and just wonder about them, I would wonder why I wasn’t spending them,” said Bennardo. “I wanted to do something with them without spending them, so finally I decided I’d like to know more about these bills and why I’m holding them and I just got fascinated in the topic and decided to pursuit in a film.”
Bennardo spent two years working on the documentary, traveling the country and meeting up with individuals with amazing two dollar bill stories.
“As I went around the country I got to meet these people and hear their stories and it really made me take more of an interest in the two dollar bill,” said Bennardo. “The whole process of just creating and telling a story is really enjoyable and even though it took a long time the final product is worth it.”
Once he announced he would be filming a documentary on the two dollar bill, collectors and amateurs, fascinated with the idea of a two dollar bill documentary, started reaching out to Bennardo interested in sharing their stories and contributing with the film.
“I found some of them through research and then once I was fortunate I had a few articles written about me and a few radio interviews I did because of the topic, people found out I was making the film,” said Bennardo. “They reached out, they called me and said ‘hey I’m the guy that worked at the treasury, when they put the new two dollar bill out in 1976’, then we hear the story and said ‘wow, I have to put you in the film’,” explained Bennardo. “I would talk to them more and go out and get them. The guy who has all the two dollar bills that has been in outer space, he found me and said ‘you might be interested to know that I’ve got all these two dollar bills in my collection that astronauts used to take to the moon’ and I’m like ‘yes, I’d love to have that’.”
The Two Dollar Bill Documentary is the first film ever to talk about all the superstitions, myths and the reality of the two dollar bill.
“Nobody has been able to tell the story about the two dollar bill before which is why I think this is such a great idea,” expressed Bennardo. “I’m the only person that has ever done this. So as soon as people who have two dollar bills stories heard about it they wanted to be a part of the project and they all called me and I was able to get them in the film.”
Bennardo has produced two documentary shorts before through his production company Immaginé Productions. He does freelance video production and edits material for businesses and corporations. Bennardo also teaches film and television at Lynn University.