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Poster for Vishniac (2024)
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Vishniac (2024)

Opens on January 26

Director: Laura Bialis Run Time: 93 min. Release Year: 2023

Country: United Kingdom
Language: English

In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Saturday, January 27 – the Film Center is hosting screenings of the new documentary, Vishniac (2024), from director Laura Bialis.

About the film:

World Premiere, 2023 Santa Barbara Film Festival

He was difficult and flamboyant, a shameless self-promoter, bender of the truth and master of reinvention. He was also one of the groundbreaking photographers of the 20th century – a brilliant artist whose body of work spans decades, continents, and the catastrophic fallout from two world wars.

Though his pioneering microscopy transformed the nature of science photography, Roman Vishniac is best known for his iconic images of Jewish life in Eastern Europe from 1935 through 1938. Few predicted that less than a decade later, these communities would be wiped out, and Vishniac’s photographs would provide the last visual records of an entire world.

“A must-see new documentary… ‘Vishniac’ is a perfect marriage of subject and storyteller.”

Leonard Maltin

Now for the first time, his story comes to life as a feature documentary. A retrospective and family saga, Vishniac (2024) is narrated by Vishniac’s daughter Mara. She grew up in his shadow and sought to break free of his grip, only to eventually come around and embrace his legacy.

About the filmmaker:

Laura Bialis is an award-winning filmmaker whose projects have taken her from war-torn villages in Kosovo to concentration camps in Poland to underground shelters less than a mile from the Gaza Strip. Her most recent film Vishniak (2023) screened at festivals all over the world, won an Audience Award at the 2023 Hong Kong Jewish Film Festival, and was the Closing Night Film of the 2023 Toronto Jewish Film Festival.

Previous projects include Rock in the Red Zone (2015), a personal view of the lives of musicians creating art in a conflict zone in Sderot, Israel. In 2007, she released Refusenik, a critically acclaimed documentary chronicling the thirty-year human rights campaign to free more than 1.5 million Soviet Jews. Her film View From the Bridge: Stories From Kosovo (2008) premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival and was used by the European Union and NATO in training staff working to rebuild Kosovo. Other projects include Tak For Alt (1998), the story of Holocaust survivor turned Civil Rights activist Judy Meisel, which was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, won the Anti-Defamation League’s Dore Schary Award, was broadcast on PBS, and has been used extensively in American high schools for Holocaust education.

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