Thursday, December 15, 2011
Hollywood, Calif. December 15, 2011– Launch flix, a production and digital media company, today announced that the oldest Holocaust museum in the United States, the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, has become their new fiscal sponsor for a special Holocaust film project. This relationship is timely as launch flix is gearing up to shoot a short film, Bashert, next month, from a book that they had optioned from Survivor, Henry Oertelt. Oertelt’s grand daughter, Dr. Corey Samuels will act as associate producer on the short.
Launch flix, CEO, Stephanie Houser has been a volunteer docent since the museum opened their new location in October, 2010. This year the museum is celebrating their fiftieth anniversary.
“We couldn’t think of a better way to end the year. What made this especially attractive was that we could help an important project move forward while working with Stephanie, who has distinguished herself through her volunteer work with us,” said Mark Rothman, Executive Director of the museum. “It was an easy yes.”
Bashert, which means "meant to be" in Yiddish, is about a story that happened after Henry Oertelt immigrated to Minnesota from Berlin. In the 1950’s he attended a party where he met an American soldier who had been in the exact place, at the same time of his liberation from a three-day death march. This exchange is documented in Oertelt’s life story.
Oertelt’s award-winning book is called An Unbroken Chain, My Journey through the Nazi Holocaust. Born in Berlin Germany, of Jewish faith, Heinz (Henry) Oertelt was twelve years old when Hitler came to power in 1933. Oertelt died earlier this year at age ninety on January 27, the International Day of Remembrance of the Holocaust, and the anniversary of the day Auschwitz was liberated. One year later, January 27, 2012, the museum is also planning an elaborate community event called the “Mapping Auschwitz Project.”
Launch flix is partnering with the museum so people can make tax-deductible donations for the film project. Visit http://www.lamoth.org/support-the-museum/ and click on the blue button the right that says “Donate Now.” Then choose “Bashert: A Short Film by Stephanie Houser” in the drop down menu for the “Designation” option half way down the page.
Henry Oertelt was liberated by General Patton’s Third Army during the Flossenburg Death March in April, 1943. He arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1949 and spent 40 years speaking about his experiences and the importance of tolerance, political involvement, and confronting hatred. Oertelt was past chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council and Holocaust education committee. He was recipient of the JCRC’s “Volunteer of the Year” award, as well as the distinguished “Eleven Who Care” honor from KARE 11 TV in Minnesota in May, 2006. Additionally, the city of St. Paul, Minnesota proclaimed “Henry A. Oertelt Day” on April 23, 2006. Oertelt participated in Stephen Spielberg’s University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education in Los Angeles, California. In 2005 Stephen Spielberg’s Shoah Visual History Foundation made Henry’s story one of five selected survivor testimonials featured on their Web exhibit from among over 55,000 collected stories.
Additionally, Henry’s half brother, ninety-six year old Maine resident, Kurt Messerschmidt, is currently featured in the first chapter of a new teacher’s curriculum called Echoes and Reflections that was recently put out by the Anti Defamation League, USC Shoah Foundation and Yad VaShem. You can learn more about the brothers and their story at http://6mfor6m.org
Launch flix has been fundraising and developing a feature film with a $6 million total budget based on the life story of Holocaust survivor and author Henry A. Oertelt. Since they were raising $6 million dollars, the filmmakers created a grassroots campaign called $6M for 6M. The concept was that even if they received a dollar per person, they could reach six million people with their story and raise awareness for Holocaust education at the same time.
About the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMH) has a two-fold mission that has remained constant since its inception in 1961: commemoration and education. http://www.lamoth.org/
About launch flix
launch flix is an award-winning production company in Los Angeles. Launch flix creates and produces original content like films, shorts, and Web videos that inform, entertain and educate diverse audiences. They focus on "green" production, Internet marketing, and profitability to give partners the highest return on their investment. For more information on launch flix or the movie, An Unbroken Chain, visit http://launchflix.com.