Saturday, February 11, 2012

Canadian Holocaust Film Comes to San Diego

Tonight at the 2012 San Diego Jewish Film Festival, the remarkable Holocaust documentary I Will Not Die finally gets a U.S. premiere.

Completed in 2008, the 48-minute Canadian film took three years to make. Director Marion Rice-Oxley tackles the difficult subject of the thousands of children exterminated during World War II at Czechoslovakia's Terezin concentration camp by means of a symphonic tribute work composed by violinist Ruth Fazal.

Tragically, of the 15,000 children estimated to have been incarcerated at Terezin, less than 100 survived. The musical work was inspired by I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a 1994 collection of poems and drawings composed during that terrible time in Terezin by some of the camp's youngest prisoners.

Rice-Oxley tracked the entire creative process of Fazal's work, from original auditions to triumphant, emotional public performance. After being put together in Toronto, “Oratorio Terezin” was shared in Israel and staged at other international locales such as Prague, Vinenna and Bratislava.

I Will Not Die screens tonight at 7:00 p.m. and again on Friday February 17th at 1:30 p.m. It is paired with the short Amnons Journey, a look at how Israeli master violin-maker Amnon Weinstein has restored instruments played by Nazi death camp prisoners and used them at one point to power "Violins for Hope," an historic concert held in Jerusalem's Old City.

[I Never Saw Another Butterfly]

Book cover photo: Schocken.

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