Six months ago I was informed that The Last Survivor had been chosen by the Film Society of Lincoln Center to screen at their bi-monthly “Independent’s Night.” I remember calling Michael Pertnoy to relay the great news. “We’ve got our New York premiere, SG,” said Michael. We most certainly did.
On the evening of August 12th, 270 people settled into their seats at the sold out Walter Reade Theater. I looked around at a room of diverse New Yorkers – bankers, students, philanthropists, and filmmakers – everyone there to see our film. I was in complete awe.
Yes, I had been to Dallas, Boston, Jerusalem and many other cities to screen the film, but I was yet to do so in my hometown of New York City. Kleiman, Sweeney, Bunzl and myself are all native New Yorkers, and sharing the project that we have worked tirelessly on was one of the most
gratifying experiences of the journey. Personally, I was euphoric.
After opening remarks by a Film Society representative, the film began promptly at 6:30 PM. The theater was silent — as if each audience member was holding his or her breath for the entirety of the 88-minute film. When it was over, a resounding applause swept through the crowd and the Question and Answer session was set to begin.
Our co-directors Michael Pertnoy and Michael Kleiman were joined on stage by Holocaust survivors Hédi Fried and David Gewirtzman. The Q&A was moderated by Ruth Messinger, the President of the American Jewish World Service. The Michaels described the process of directing and producing The Last Survivor, Hédi and David recounted their reactions upon viewing the film for the first time, and Ruth Messinger provided a wide lens humanitarian perspective. The Q&A was captivating -– and by the time it was over everyone was ready to enter the reception hall to meet and mingle with the Righteous Pictures team.
Fast-forward two hours and the night was over. All of the preparation leading up to this incredible event had paid off. The evening ran more smoothly than I could have possibly imagined. While our New York premiere is now in the rearview mirror, the ripple effect of such a successful evening made the month of August 2010 one for the books. Our network of supporters continues to grow, and with genocide raging in Darfur and the Congo in complete disarray, The Last Survivor’s message is as important as ever.
As we transition from summer to fall, let’s continue to work together to ensure that the The Last Survivor reaches audiences far and wide. Let’s keep the momentum going and continue to empower each other to take a stand against human rights atrocities occurring around the globe.
I wish you all happy holidays and an enjoyable end of summer.
All the best,