Meet the Filmmaker: Gita Kaufman
“Shadows From My Past”
Date: Monday, November 11, 2013
Location: NY NATAS, 1375 Broadway (between 37th and 38th Streets), Suite 2103
Reception: 6:00-6:30 PM ~ Program: 6:30-8:00 PM
*Free to NY NATAS Members!
$15 for those without current NY NATAS membership.
Produced & Moderated by Sumner Jules Glimcher
SHADOWS FROM MY PAST by Curt and Gita Kaufman is a documentary. Shot in Austria, Germany, France and in the United States. It deals with Gita and Curt Kaufman’s return to her birthplace, Vienna, Austria, the city she fled as a child in February, 1940. With her mother, father and two brothers she escaped the beginnings of the Holocaust on the day they were to be deported to Dachau. Many others in her family were not so fortunate and died in the Shoah. Gita and her husband, Curt Kaufman, received a Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Award for Outstanding Achievement in Human Rights to speak at the University of Vienna. While there, asking questions of the people she meets, she tried to determine if the new Austria is truly different from the old -- or is it just a new mask on an old face? Austria is a crossroads between East and West in Europe and is an important cultural center. It was also a willing participant in The Holocaust. Austria’s history is part of her history. As they searched for the missing parts of Gita’s past, they also sought answers to questions of moral ambiguity, individual as opposed to collective guilt, and to what degree today's generation is responsible for the sins of their fathers and grandfathers.
SHADOWS FROM MY PAST is a warning for today.
SHADOWS was originally based on excerpts of archival letters, and photographs from Gita's family from 1939 – 1941, writing desperately trying to save their children, many of whom were murdered in the Shoah. They are first person witnesses to the Holocaust. They were presented by the Kaufmans at the Center for International and Interdisciplinary Studies of the University of Vienna.
SHADOWS also features many unrehearsed interviews including Simon Wiesenthal, Kurt Waldheim, Jorg Haider, President Fischer of Austria, Vienna Philharmonic members, survivors such as Theodore Bikel, Eric Pleskow, also Ambassador Ronald Lauder, survivors and many others. SHADOWS throws a light on Austria’s responsibility for the Holocaust. Many major Nazis, such as Hitler, Eichmann, Seys-Inquest (responsible for Ann Frank’s arrest in Holland), were Austrians. For years Austria sat quietly while Germany took the responsibility for the Holocaust, and pretended they were “First Victims” and greatly prospered.
Curt Kaufman was the director, co-producer, editor, videographer, and co-author for SHADOWS FROM MY PAST. Curt began working in films and video as an assistant to his father Reuben Kaufman, former president of Guild Films and Jayark Films. They produced syndicated TV programs including the “Liberace”, “I Spy”, “Captain Grief”, “The Molly Goldberg Show” and “Life with Elizabeth” shows. They truly put the chandelier on Liberace’s piano. Curt was also the director, co-producer, director of photography, videographer, editor and writer for BRIEFE 1939 – 1941 (LETTERS 1939 – 1941) which was commissioned by the Austrian Ministry Education, Science and Art, which is now being streamed to all schools in Austria to teach them about the Holocaust. Now deceased, he was a member of the Cinematographers Guild, Local 600
Gita Kaufman is the co-producer, co-director, co-writer, interviewer/narrator, translator, music supervisor, and researcher for SHADOWS FROM MY PAST. She also co-directed and co-produced BRIEFE 1939 – 1941 (LETTERS 1939 – 1941), which was commissioned by the Austrian Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Gita is the co-author of several screenplays including MARIA (a fictionalized version of SHADOWS) which has been optioned by Kushner Locke and DARK SIDE, a psychological thriller which is in pre-production.
Space is limited. You must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat.
Please write “SHADOWS” in the Subject Box.