ABOUT THE FILM
The film will be structured as a series of vignettes that will reveal facets of Henny Simon's life and explore her memories of the Holocaust, her experiences in Hannover during the war, and her return visits in recent years. Some vignettes will show what Hannover has done to remember and atone. Hannover's history connects to Henny's life and the future of Holocaust understanding and memory. It connects to Henny and Benny’s work in schools throughout Connecticut. We will explore the psychology of remembering traumatic events, repressing memories, and coming to terms with them to be able to express and share experiences. Henny’s story will be our path to dealing with broader and current issues. We intend for the film to raise awareness of the consequences of hatred and encourage viewers to recognize and act when hatred, bigotry, and racism arise.
Todd Gipstein, the film's cinematographer, editor and designer, has spent his career, most of it with National Geographic, creating documentary films. He likes to get away from long sequences of "talking heads" to layered interpretations of the emotions and thoughts being presented. He likes to mix scripted narration with interviews, a style that taps into the unique strengths of both. He wants the final film to be a "waking dream" — at times mysterious, at times disturbing, at times inspiring.
Our team wants to create a documentary that is unique in both content and style. That is different from the many fine films about the Holocaust. We will not use well-known Holocaust imagery. Instead, we will use more symbolic and evocative imagery whenever possible. We will use cinematic techniques and narrative structuring to create a film that is intellectually and emotionally interactive, a film that is poetic rather than didactic.
Content will be drawn from interviews of Henny and Ben Cooper, along with interviews with friends, students to whom she spoke, with teachers, historians and psychologists in Connecticut, Germany, Latvia and Israel.
The film is being created for TV, theaters and schools. There will be an English and a German version.
" I want to make a film unlike anything anyone has ever seen. A film that transports viewers into a story that is at times a nightmare and at times a hopeful dream. "
— Todd Gipstein, Co-Director / Editor
Behind the Scenes Gallery
MAKING THE FILM