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Young South Africans and a film featuring Mandela’s Prison Letters

For the past two years Lorie Conway has been conducting research on the book The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela. Conway has been in direct communication with the publisher (who also represents the Mandela Foundation) about licensing the copyrighted material for use within a documentary film. In November 2019, Siobhan Hodgson, a South African filmmaker and producer, joined the Mandela film team as Co-Story Producer. Conway and Hodgson are developing leads relating to story, “cast,” and production logistics, including procuring the best South African creative team to help actualize the film. A teaser video is currently in production to assist in raising the funds needed to produce the Mandela prison letters film.

In the documentary, a select group, the “cast” of the film, will read, and in some cases, artistically interpret Mandela’s prison letters through song, dance, art, music, and rap. Some filming will be done by the youth collaborators themselves–in their homes, neighborhood, schools, and around many of the Mandela monuments within South Africa. Visuals and imagery will reflect an immediacy and nuance that connects Mandela’s prison letters to our cast member’s own lives — reflecting their struggles in South Africa today, as they read excerpts from his letters, and learn more about his life as a prisoner.

For more information about supporting this film or any information related to it, please email: bostonfilmvideo@gmail.com

Netflix Series, the Devil Next Door

Working with Tel Aviv based directors, Daniel Sivan and Yossi Bloch, I’m thrilled to see how my producing research contributed to their Netflix series, the Devil Next Door. Was a Cleveland grandfather who is brought to trial in Israel, the infamous Nazi death camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible. Or, was it a case of mistaken identity? Watch trailer here: https://www.netflix.com/title/80201488?trkid=13710079&MSG_TITLE=80201488&lnktrk=EMP&g=D513A6AB848F50EEBCEB3674DF0AE5AD6455331B&lkid=TITLE_TITLE_2

Memorial Day Tribute on Boston Common

As the generals ask for 5,000 more troops to serve in Afghanistan, a country where, according to the NY Times Editorial today, Memorial Day, ” the United States has spent 16 years fighting the longest war in its history at a cost of more than $800 billion and 2,000 American lives. Where there is still no peace, and where everything seems to be going backward. Where the Taliban has regained the initiative, attacking as it pleases and expanding its territorial reach, and where other extremists — Al Qaeda and the Islamic State — also have a foothold.”

For the past several years on Memorial Day, over 20,000 flags are planted on the Boston Common, America’s oldest public park founded in 1634. Each flag represents a soldier who died from Massachusetts. Thousands come to pay their respects…here’s a short video I produced a few years ago in tribute.

https://youtu.be/7FqZHNIIC6o

Screening of Forgotten Ellis Island on Ellis Island, 5/27/17

Looking forward to the screening and book signing event on Ellis Island, May 27th, of my film Forgotten Ellis Island which is in its second run on PBS. So many of the stories in the film resonate with the stories being told today as the debate about immigration continues. Who we are — as a nation of immigrants — informs who we will be in the future.

For information on the screening and tickets, please click here:http://untappedcities.com/2017/05/04/vip-tour-film-screening-at-abandoned-ellis-island-hospitals-with-lorie-conway-author-and-director-of-forgotten-ellis-island/

“The Trial of Ivan Demjanjuk” documentary film–in development

A new film is in production about John Demjanjuk, a former auto worker from Cleveland, who was extradited in 1987 to Israel, to face  charges of crimes committed during the Holocaust. The prosecution claimed that John was actually “Ivan the Terrible” — a sadistic Nazi officer who murdered 900,000 Jews in a death camp. The trial was broadcast live on Israeli tv, and the twists and turns of the facts clashed with doubts about Demjanjuk’s real identity, creating an international media circus, as survivors, defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges and members of Demjanjuk’s family collide. Currently, I’m assisting the Israeli producers in locating journalists who covered the trial, members of the Cleveland Ukranian community who stood in solidarity with John Demjanjuk, friends of the family, and many others to participate in the telling of this riveting story that was as polarizing as it was ambiguous as the near 35 year legal saga went on and on.
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ELLIS ISLAND STORIES

Here’s a short video I produced for a “little” project I’m working on…may the series gods be smiling!
Big shout out to Derry Policaro-Schwantner for her editing prowess and smiles!

Click here to view:

 

Beatrice the Brave–defending the defenseless in Zimbabwe

Women’s Media Center Podcast on Human Rights in Zimbabwe

Click on the above link to listen to Robin Morgan’s interview with me about Beatrice Mtetwa’s ongoing work in Zimbabwe. Despite continuing “persecution by prosecution,” Beatrice soldiers on defending victims of Robert Mugabe’s brutal regime. High risk and often without pay, human rights law is anything but easy. But as Beatrice said in the documentary about her work (which I produced in 2013),

“You know this has to be done. Somebody’s got to do it. Why shouldn’t it be you?”

Fundraising is underway for a sequel to “Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law,” and this film will focus on a primary school in Uganda, located on an island in Lake Victoria. The school was created by teachers who viewed the film about Beatrice and were so inspired they decided to name a school after her and teach lessons in human rights. Today, the Beatrice Mtetwa Primary School has thirty students learning about their rights and responsibilities as citizens. Justice, Leadership and Excellence is the school’s motto. To help me tell this story and produce Tiny Ripples of Hope, please email bostonfilmvideo@gmail.comBeatrice Mtetwa PRimary School

 

ELLIS ISLAND STORIES

As the presidential race drones on and the debate surrounding immigration escalates, take a listen to the voices of immigrants who came through Ellis Island. Not that different than those seeking to become citizens today, the Ellis immigrants are the bedrock of modern America–40% of us trace our roots to them. In spite of nativist rhetoric demanding laws that restricted immigration, even a literacy test, 12 million immigrants were allowed entry to America at Ellis Island. The nation’s collective face was changed forever.

https://vimeo.com/153812889Sherman photo