DIFF 2010 – The Last Survior

22 04 2010
The Last Survivor
Michael Pertnoy and Michael Kleiman have brought us all a moving piece of our history and hopefully a tool for our future.
I want to share with you a small portion of  “The Director’s Statement”
“As each of us move through the branches of our family trees, not only do we tumble in the same direction, but if one were to remove the leaves, fruit and flowers blossoming from our trees, she might see that that which we believe to be a tree in itself is merely a large branch.   The tree of which we are all apart is far more magnificent than those we dreamed of climbing in even the most ambitious of our childhood daydreams.”
Through Righteous Pictures, directors Michael Pertnoy and Michael Kleiman had the freedom, resources and support to take on a project that spans numerous countries and continents.  The film grips you from the first frames and never lets go along its heart-breaking journey.  Michael Pertnoy was able to share his observations, thoughts and hopes about this film and its making.
Michael first discussed, with a packed Angelika theater last Wednesday afternoon, about how he got inspired to make films about the holocaust.
Many people have seen the horrors of the holocaust and other horrific events, but the real push behind the film was an actual holocaust survivor named Hedi Fried.  Michael talks about there friendship and its importance to the film’s basic premise.
Hedi Fried
The film takes us on a new journey.  We’re introduced to three young survivors from three different African countries torn apart by war and a lack of the world’s help.   Jacqueline Murekatete,with her mentor and holocaust survivor David Gewirtzman, has become the face of change to many people.
Michael talks about his meeting Jacqueline.
Her influence on the Michael really changed the focus of the film from what Hedi’s first stories sparked.
The filmmakers met numerous survivors and documented there stories, but two men in particular have been highlighted in the film.  Their stories give us, the audience, the journey’s legs to follow.  We see them change before our eyes.   One of those men is Adam Bashar, but Michael first explains how he found Adam and his fellow survivors.
But actually getting Adam on film took some time.
Justin Semahoro Kimenyerwa gives the film its shining light and its belief in a possible future where we can finally say there is a Last Survivor.  Justin is an energetic man and someone that once you meet him it seems like you’ll never want to let him out of your life.  Michael talked extensively about how Justin’s passion for life was the backbone of not only the film, but of many people’s lives.  It was awe inspiring to watch his journey from the Democratic Republic of Congo to St. Louis.  I challenge you to find someone more impacting.  In the mean time I’ll let Michael talk about who Justin is and what he is about.
Simon and Justin
Michael explains the title a bit more in detail.
The film will be available soon at the Dallas Holocaust museum and the filmmakers are trying to get the film to become a core tool for students around the state.  Check out the websites and take the time to see a film that will move you to act.

The Last Survivor




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