film production + social action



The Last Survivor: Where Are They Now?

By @samuelg44

Hedi Fried with Directors Michael Kleiman (left) and Michael Pertnoy (right) in 2010

Tuesday night I attended a screening of The Last Survivor at the JCC of Manhattan on 76th and Amsterdam Avenue. One thing I love about attending screenings of our film, other than witnessing it’s consistently profound effect on an audience, is that each one is totally unique. This is not only a reflection of a well-made film, but also a reinforcement that the work we are doing is something people are actively searching for; at a screening of The Last Survivor, they find it.

That night, during the Q&A, a particular question and the response director Michael Kleiman gave put a big smile on my face. Yitzi Zablocki, the organizer of tonight’s event and head of the JCC film department, asked Kleiman, “What is going on in the lives of these survivors today?” Kleiman proceeded to answer:

- Justin’s brother and sister, along with their 27 adopted children, are likely to be resettled to St. Louis with Justin by the end of this year.

- Adam is in his 3rd year at IDC University in Herzliya, is a model student, and has become the perfect spokesperson for African refugees in Israel.

- Hedi continues to travel, inspiring others to join her mission of raising awareness and connecting survivors from around the world.

- Jacqueline got married last summer and recently took her first trip back home to visit Rwanda.

Can one imagine a more incredible update than that? Each of the survivors profiled in our film has continued doing incredible work and have only grown and thrived since allowing us to document their lives. I couldn’t help but make the clear connection that the success in their personal lives is intricately linked to the phenomenal human rights work they are engaged in.

On a personal level, I can certainly say the same for myself. Justin, Jacqueline, Hedi and Adam have all taught me that life isn’t only about perseverance, but it is about flourishing, growing and reaching out to affect others in a meaningful way.

Over and out-
Sam G

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