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Prisoner of Her Past
Sixty years after the war, a survivor is running and hiding again...

Monthly Archives: December 2010

Published on December 13th, 2010 by admin

A critical new audience has opened up for “Prisoner of Her Past” in the past several weeks: students.

Though we had shown the film once before to teenagers – at Northwestern University’s National High School – the scope and breadth of our student audience expanded dramatically last month. generic viagra online india “Prisoner” has played to hundreds of youngsters in Arlington, Tx., and hundreds more in St. Louis and elsewhere

The demographic cialis online canadian has been immense, spanning college-age to middle school; black, white, Latino and Asian; American-born and African immigrants.

Their comments have been striking.

“I come from a place that was a cruel dictatorship, and I’ve seen some things, and my mom knows much more,” said a student from the People’s Republic of Congo at Tarrant Community College, in Arlington, after watching “Prisoner.”

“I can understand why your mother never wanted to talk about what happened to her.”

A friend of his from Ghana echoed the thought.

“My family was very secretive about how we lived in the past, when I was very young,” said the TCC student, comparing his family’s traumatic experiences to those my mother, and her cousins Leon and Fanka, suffered 60 years earlier.

“Leon had something to hold on to – the family who hid him,” the student said. “That’s why they coped in different ways.

“Your mother was on her own. She was forced to become harsh.”

The insights of these young adults suggested that they could see elements of their own stories – their own lives – in “Prisoner of Her Past.” Which is precisely why we made the film: to shed light on childhood trauma, past, present and future.

But you don’t need to have suffered a trauma as a child – or even to be in college – to hear this film’s message.

In St. Louis schools, pre-teens and others asked pointed questions:

“How did it feel to stand there, in Dubno, where all those terrible things happened?” inquired one student, referring to Shibennaya Hill, where thousands of Jews from Dubno were massacred. “Did you have nightmares about being there?” (Yes, indeed – and before traveling there, too.)

“Were you surprised that some of the kids in New Orleans were acting just like your mother?” (Shattered, actually.)

At one point, I was walking between classes in a St. Louis school, and a group of students surrounded me in the hallway to ask more questions. Minute by minute, more kids gathered, to talk about the film.

Now I was sure we had made contact.

Since then, invitations to bring the film to various public and religious schools have been picking up.

Once we’ve developed a study guide for “Prisoner of Her Past,” the film’s lessons will be that much more potent.

- Howard Reich

Published on December 8th, 2010 by Gordon Quinn, Director

I had the pleasure of being the guest of the Kos International Health Film Festival for the Greek premiere of Prisoner of Her Past on September 5th this year, on the island of Kos. There were about 60 people at the screening – a very respectable number for an out-of-competition film at such a faraway festival.

The audience was extremely passionate about Prisoner and we had a lively Q&A after the screening. There was a great question from the audience about the camera’s relationship to Sonia, and her habit of directly addressing the camera. I told them about how Sonia would always stop talking when I turned the camera off in order to change tape. Once the camera was back on my shoulder and rolling, she would continue what she was saying. This is how we knew that on some level, Sonia was an active participant in the making of Prisoner of Her Past.

The post-screening conversation continued in the lobby and clearly many people in the audience were greatly moved. Luckily, they had free samples of a few items provided by festival sponsors in the theater lobby – condoms and Kleenex. As you’d image, our audience went for the Kleenex.

The Kos Health Film Festival is great and allows lots of time to hang out with other filmmakers to discuss issues like the consent of film subjects who have diminished capacity. I saw documentaries on diverse topics – from the politics of menstruation and orgasm, to the vibrant lives of the elderly through dance and song.

Although Kos is really a festival for talking about film and aesthetics rather than business, I did manage to make some contacts who will likely allow us to broadcast the film in Israel. A doctor took a copy of Prisoner of Her Past and is going to set up a showing at her hospital in Kos. There was also interest in future screenings of other Kartemquin films, including The Chicago Maternity Center Story, In the Family, Stevie, and The Interrupters.

– Gordon Quinn, Director

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