Funding boost helps survivor film


Three filmmakers have achieved their goal of raising the £15,000 needed to complete their documentary on Holocaust survivors.

Paul Mortlock, Michael Bentwood and Geoff Brooks, from Manchester, had started production on The Kindness of Strangers, a film that features in-depth interviews with three Shoah survivors, a United States army veteran who helped to liberate a concentration camp, and a former member of the Dutch resistance.

The filmmakers had invested £20,000 of their own money into the project before running out of funds.

The trio had already travelled to New York to interview Rick Carrier, a Legion d'Honneur laureate who helped to liberate Buchenwald. They had also interviewed Diet Eman, a Dutch woman who helped to hide and transport Jewish families during the war years.

Other parts of the film feature survivors Ruth Lachs and Chaim Ferster, who both live in Manchester, and US-based Irving Roth, chronicling their lives before and after the Holocaust, and their experiences of internment.

It showed that people believe in the film

Now, thanks to the online crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, they can complete their work, with plans in place to film at several former concentration camps across eastern Europe in October.

"The campaign was really useful because it showed that people believe in the film, which started a bit of a snowball effect," said Mr Brooks, the film's producer.

"Everyone knows about the Second World War and the Holocaust, but I don't think that people can actually begin to relate to it until they hear first person accounts of what happened."

Mr Brooks explained that the trio had initially self-funded as much as they could as they felt that speaking to elderly survivors on camera was "a matter of urgency".

In exchange for £500, a donor was promised an executive producer credit and an invitation to the film's world premiere. A more modest pledge of £25 bought an A3 piece of artwork from the film. Thanks to the crowdfunding campaign, they now hope to complete the film by May 2017.

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