THE WORLD WAS OURS: A DOCUMENTARY
|"Vilna was a city of ideas, of dreams ... a city of scholars and poets ... a city of conviction and of tolerance and of respect for man."|
|- Y. Fain, Artist and Vilna Survivor|
The Vilna Project is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization based in New York City. Founded by Mira Jedwabnik Van Doren, the project is dedicated to documenting, preserving and disseminating information about the pre-war Jewish culture of Vilna, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania). Numerous interviews with survivors and scholars have been videotaped; archival texts, photographs, music and films from the United States, Israel and Europe have been collected.
In July, 1993, Ms. Van Doren spent 10 days in Vilnius attending the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the liquidation of the Vilna ghetto. While there, she filmed newly discovered archives located in a church where they had been hidden over 50 years earlier by the Jewish Community during the Holocaust. This footage can be seen in a 30-minute short ("The Hidden Treasures") made by Ms. Van Doren in 1998.
THE WORLD WAS OURS
"THE WORLD WAS OURS", a documentary film dedicated to the memory of Jewish Vilna, draws on a large collection of video interviews with dozens of survivors and scholars, supplemented by archival photographs and footage, excerpts from diaries, letters, poems, newspaper stories and other contemporary accounts. A voice-over narration by award-winning actor, Mandy Patinkin, weaves the many elements into a single story. Archival music evokes the spirit of the times and is supplemented by specially recorded performances in Yiddish, Polish and other music popular in Vilna between the two World Wars.
The film received its World Première on April 30th, 2006 at the 9th Annual Film Festival held at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. This was followed on November 7th, 2006 by a New York Première at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. There have since been a number of successful showings at various films (see web page "THE WORLD WAS OURS") and it will be shown on WNET - Channel 13 on April 14th at 9:00 PM, the first of four scheduled showings.
The Vilna Project, Inc. is preparing an educational study guide to accompany the DVD of the film. A book which will complement the film "THE WORLD WAS OURS" is also being prepared. In addition, plans are underway for a DVD collection called "The Last Voices of Vilna" that will consist of the many valuable and inspiring interviews of Vilna survivors and scholars that could not be included in the documentary. We are currently seeking funds to complete these projects.
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