“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.


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



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

Everyonestory: Stories Worth Sharing Video Series

Everyonestory: Stories Worth Sharing is a web based video series I have created profiling individuals who live and work among us but seldom have their stories told. From the person who waits your table, cleans houses or offices, parks cars, clerks, or bags groceries, comes stories of hard work and hope, of dreams deferred and dreams lived, of fears and courage, of loss and happiness. The goal of the series is to bring dignity and voice to the many nameless persons who often work two jobs just to support their family. At best, may these profiles inspire kindness and understanding about those among us who, in their own way, help make the world work and make it a better place.
Currently, I’m seeking distribution for the series — Ozy, Fusion, Huff Post, UpWorthy, etc…The videos in the series are under 4 minutes, well crafted and ideal for mobile viewing and add sponsorship.

Please share and help Everyonestory find a home!

Here are three Everyonestory’s to view…

Big shout out to Jordan Dumbroff who was first camera and editor on the Don White and firefighter videos! Jordan is now living in LA pursuing his dream to be a tv series writer…to see the videos click here for “A sister among a band of brothers.” Click here for “A Palm Tree Grows in Boston” and Click here to watch “Don White”







A letter from the students at the Beatrice Mtetwa Primary School

Receiving this letter from the students at the school named after inspiring human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, is a great way to wrap up 2015!

Here’s hoping that 2016 brings funding to tell their story in Tiny Ripples of Hope, a film I hope to make about their lives and human rights education in Africa.Beatrice Mtetwa Primary School Logo FinalTo Aunt Lorie

Forgotten Ellis Island screening/book signing on Ellis Island, Jan.9

On January 9th, Save Ellis Island is hosting a screening and book signing of Forgotten Ellis Island, the film and book that I produced about the hospital on Ellis, that served tens of thousands of sick immigrants during the great wave of immigration. See the trailer here: https://youtu.be/r-ZW2UwWg8s

Tickets for the event, which will take place on Ellis Island, can be purchased here:


“Hard Hat” Tours of the former hospital buildings are also available and while there you will see the remarkable art exhibit by JR



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JR’s film ELLIS starring Robert De Niro

ELLIS: The short film stars Academy Award Winner Robert De Niro, was written by Academy Award winner Eric Roth and is directed by the artist JR whose Unframed art installations in the abandoned Ellis Island hospital complex serves as the set for this powerful and timely film.

To watch the trailer click here: ELLISlarge_Unframed2

FORGOTTEN ELLIS ISLAND, the film and book that I wrote, was the first to be published about the immigrant hospital which saved tens of thousands of lives and, in an era before antibiotics, kept the nation safe from epidemics. Watch the trailer here:


Tiny Ripples of Hope–new film about the Beatrice Mtetwa Primary School in Uganda!

Tiny Ripples of Hope is a film about the Beatrice Mtetwa Primary School located on an island in Africa’s Lake Victoria. I’m currently fundraising for the film and hope to begin filming in the spring, 2016. The children and teachers will be creating a video journal of their school and home lives with many clips being used in Tiny Ripples of Hope.

An earlier film of mine, (2013), Beatrice Mtetwa and the Rule of Law, was distributed throughout Africa by Amnesty International and Fox Africa. It was seen by teachers and parents on the island, who were inspired by the courageous Zimbabwean human rights lawyer featured in the film. They decided to name a newly founded primary school after Beatrice and to include classes on human rights in the curriculum. The wish is that Tiny Ripples of Hope will inspire educators throughout Africa to build human rights education into their curricula. As the students who attend the Beatrice Mtetwa School grow into young adulthood, the expectation is that this kind of education will help them recognize injustice, encourage them to speak out against corruption and authoritarian rule, and become more active in civic life as they engage as citizens.

According to the educator and human rights activist, Dr. Nico Horn, “The right to education and the teaching of human rights (human rights education) are intertwined. Children have a right to education, but the education that they ought to receive is not ideologically neutral: it is compelled to include education on human rights.”

By focusing on the Beatrice Mtetwa Primary School and its teaching of human rights, the film will be the vehicle in which to tell the larger story of why this kind of educational development is important in Africa, and become an advocacy tool for the creation of other primary schools to do the same. The film will enable educators and communities to see the value of teaching human rights, peace and inclusivity within a traditional curriculum.

The Beatrice Mtetwa School is located on Kalangala Island within Lake Victoria; 7,000 residents live within several villages. Fishing, boat building, manual labor, and the farming of palm oil are the main industries, with limited tourism providing additional jobs. Infrastructure, housing and transport on the island are considered poor. The school has just moved into a permanent school building and is being renovated by teachers, students and their parents.Teacher Edith with children at work First Iron sheet being put up BMSCHKIDS WITH UNIFORMS Thirty boys and girls attend the school ranging in age from five to fifteen; their parents pay fees for this private primary school. Three teachers instruct the children in English, math, science, and religious education, in addition to lessons about peace, justice and human rights. According to teachers Aideh Ssemmanda and John Ssentamu, “Children must first learn what their rights are and then learn to defend those rights.” When asked what kind of concerns parents of the children have about the human rights curriculum, the teachers gave this response, “Parents are worried about children becoming big-headed and too empowered.” “But more importantly,” says John Ssentamu, many people think negatively about women and yet Beatrice is winning the hearts and minds of both men and women. I pray that I become like Beatrice. That our students become like Beatrice.”

Beatrice Mtetwa Primary School Logo Final

Check out the amazing artist JR’s photos at Ellis Island

Click on the following link to see some of Ellis Island’s most endearing photos take on new meaning as they are enmeshed into the walls and windows of the former immigrant hospital.

JR at Ellis Island

While working on the documentary and book, Forgotten Ellis Island, about the Ellis Island Hospital, I often thought of the phrase, “if these walls could talk”… now, with JR’s artistic treatment of these iconic photos, the walls do speak — as faces of the sick immigrant patients peer back. It isn’t hard to imagine their anxiety and fear as they were told their dreams of arriving in America must be deferred –by a mandatory stay in the hospital separated from family, until their disease was cured. BFVP Ellis Island Hospital

The Statue of Liberty reflected in a bathroom mirror in the contagious disease ward of the Ellis Island Hospital. Photo by Boston Film & Video