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Capetonian Ella Blumenthal's holocaust survivor story told in award winning film

16 June 2021 5:44 PM
Tags:
Movie
Holocaust
Durban International Film Festival
Encounters Film Festival
Antisemitism
Documentary
#film

Pippa Hudson speaks to holocaust survivor Ella Blumenthal and filmmaker Jordy Sank about the award-winning documentary I Am Here.
  • 99 year old Capetonian Ella Blumenthal shares her story of surviving the holocaust in the documentary film, I AM HERE
  • The award-winning film will have a joint premiere at the Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival & the Durban International Film Festival
  • The film won the award for the best documentary at the Atlanta Jewish film festival

99-year-old Capetonian Ella Blumenthal, one of the few remaining Holocaust survivors, shares her story in the award winning documentary film which premiered at the Encounters South African International Documentary Film Festival.

Directed by South African filmmaker Jordy Sank, the film follows Ella at her 98th birthday celebration where she shares her story in a rare, honest and candid conversation with close friends and family.

There was anti-Semitism, but we really didn't know the war was going to come through the border from Germany. We didn't realise. We had no idea what was coming. What tragedy is waiting for us.

Ella Blumenthal - Holocaust survivor

Some of Ella’s memories include surviving three concentration camps and avoiding death, alongside her niece Roma.

It's very simple. I wanted to live. I wanted to survive. The will of survival never left me since then. That's why I'm here to talk to you.

Ella Blumenthal - Holocaust survivor

I wanted the world to know, that the world shouldn't forget what has happened to us. What people are capable of doing to other human beings.

Ella Blumenthal - Holocaust survivor

The film's director, Jordy Sank describes meeting Ella for the first time, and why he decided to turn her harrowing story into a film.

I'd met many holocaust survivors before, but there was so incredible about her, and so extraordinary about her that I just thought to myself from that very young age that I had to befriend this woman. The more I heard about her story, and the incredible life she leads today, the more I thought the world has to know about this.

Jordy Sank - Director of I AM HERE

Filming the documentary was quite and intimate experience. We had a small crew who worked with Ella, and it was a very painful experience. We could see with every story she told, and the more emotional she got throughout, we could see how hard this was for her, so we took our time to hear her story.

Jordy Sank - Director of I AM HERE

It's faith, and again faith. And I'm repeating it for the third time, I had faith that I would live and be able to tell the world what these murderers have done to us.

Ella Blumenthal - Holocaust survivor

The film won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival and was also screened at the Miami Jewish Film Festival earlier this year.

For Encounters the film will be available in a virtual screening at https://encounters.co.za/

Bookings for the Durban International Film Festival screenings will open at a later date. For more info: https://ccadiff.ukzn.ac.za




16 June 2021 5:44 PM
Tags:
Movie
Holocaust
Durban International Film Festival
Encounters Film Festival
Antisemitism
Documentary
#film

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