Monday, January 5, 2009

Announcing An Unbroken Chain - The Movie - is Official




As you might know, I am about to embark on a long journey, one that is filled with both sadness as well as love and gratitude, the making of a feature film about a Holocaust surivor, Dr. Henry Oertelt.

This project found me in an unlikely place – a little island in the Caribbean.

It turned out to be “bashert”, a yiddish word that loosely translated, means destiny. I met Corey, the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor (pictured with clapboard) who told me that her grandfather was looking for a screenwriter to adapt his book, An Unbroken Chain: My Journey Through the Nazi Holocaust. I asked if I could read it and it spoke to me. It was a fascinating biography of a young Jewish boy in Berlin who is twelve when Hitler comes to power. He has a rare combination of street smarts, luck and charisma, and manages to evade the Gestapo until his late teens. And then, he describes a total of eighteen “links” in his chain of survival.

Fast forward to my introduction to Dr. Henry Oertelt, the 87 year old author and now, my new partner, as we move forward to make a film based on his story. We are aiming to make a feature film that will appeal to teens and young adults, and are actively seeking funding.

Teens are still going to movies these days, and they are digesting everything that comes their way, between High School Musical, Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, etc. And recently at the American Film Market, the largest film distribution conference in the world, an accomplished writer shared that when she brings “screeners” home, her young adult children will often surprise her and watch a wide variety of the films in the mix.

We are committed to making a high quality adventure story of a young Jewish German man who ultimately lives through the Holocaust. Although I had not seen more than a couple of related films (Schindler’s List, Life is Beautiful) before, I have recently tried to submerge myself in the subject so that I could be better informed.

It is no small task. I have been watching countless video tapes of Dr. Oertelt lecturing to audiences from the past forty years as well as different documentaries and films, read books, attended events. I joined the Phoenix Holocaust Survivor’s group at their request and recently attended the First Annual Dinner for the Museum of the Holocaust in Beverly Hills to commemorate the 70th anniversary Kristallnacht, the unofficial start of the Holocaust.

Thanks to Henry and all of the generous survivors who have come into my life in the past few months whether in person or on film, I feel like I am prepared for this enormous undertaking. Thanks to the publishing company and a friend’s distribution company, I have a commitment to make and distribute this film to educators and schools. And thanks to the support of my loving husband, my family, and Henry's family, I feel like I can take on this subject matter, knowing that they will be there to cheer me up and cheer me on, as I take on the most meaningful project of my life.

Please contact me at steph(at)launchflix dot com if you are interested in this worthwhile cause.

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