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Post Film Discussion Vishniac with Laura Bialis Producer/Director and CWB Scholar Avi Ben-Hur

Wednesday, March 20 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT


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“All this life, it’s so important to look closer, and the world will be bigger.”
– Roman Vishniac


Film link delivered to registrants 3 days before our engaging post-film discussion

All Vishniac Photos: (c) Gift of Mara Vishniac Kohn, The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, University of California, Berkeley

From the cosmopolitan streets of pre-war Berlin to the shtetls in Poland and Lithuania to the Princeton offices of Albert Einstein, VISHNIAC takes viewers on a journey, through the lens of one of the foremost photographers of the 20th century.

Roman Vishniac is best known for having traversed Eastern Europe from 1935 through 1938, on assignment for the American Joint Distribution Committee, to photograph Jewish life in Eastern Europe. The purpose of the photographs was to raise funds for impoverished Jewish communities. Few predicted that less than a decade later, these communities would be wiped out, and that Vishniac’s photographs would provide the last visual records of an entire world.

VISHNIAC will explore Vishniac’s career and stunning photographs, bring to life the world in which he worked and detail his dramatic life story and flamboyant personality. The film is directed and produced by Laura Bialis (Refuseniks, Rock in the Red Zone), with executive producer Nancy Spielberg, producer Roberta Grossman and writer Sophie Sartain. Made with the full cooperation of Vishniac’s daughter Mara Vishniac Kohn, VISHNIAC will delve into the person and story “behind the photos. It will explore how Vishniac’s work was intricately tied to his view of the world. Finally, the film will frame Vishniac’s legacy as a key modernist photographer and preserver of memory. Vishniac’s collection, including over 10,000 images, is vast, mysterious, and causes us to step back in time. Through his stunning images, the film will expose new audiences to a lost world that is quickly fading from our grasp.

Laura Bialis Producer/Director

Laura Bialis is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her most recent film, Rock in the Red Zone (2015) is a personal view from the ground in Sderot, Israel, and an exploration into the lives of musicians creating in a conflict zone. The film was screened in over 80 cities worldwide. Bialis directed and produced the critically acclaimed documentary Refusenik (2007) a seminal film about the movement to free Soviet Jews, which was released theatrically in fifteen cities, broadcast on Israeli television, and was released on Netflix. Other projects include View From the Bridge: Stories From Kosovo (2008) ; and 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, broadcast on PBS, and has been used extensively in high schools across the United States for Holocaust education. Laura holds a B.A. in History from Stanford University, and an M.F.A. in Production from the USC School of Cinema Arts.

Avi Ben-Hur CWB Scholar in Residence

A Brooklyn native, Avi Ben-Hur moved to Israel in 1983. From 2003-2008 Avi was Director of the Archaeological Seminars School for Israeli Tour Guides. In 2008 Avi participated in re-writing the curriculum of the National Guiding courses for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. As a “Scholar in Residence, Avi has lectured, taught and facilitated workshops in the US, Warsaw, Prague, Berlin and Greece. From 1996-2000, Avi taught in Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies. As a guide, Avi has specialized working with organizations focusing on political issues (such as AIPAC & CIJA), inter-faith programs and Holocaust studies. At Present, Avi is an examiner for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism Licensing Boards and is the ongoing scholar in residence of Classrooms Without Borders


Wednesday, March 20
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm EDT
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