In September 2019 I traveled to Lviv in Ukraine with Ben from Duckrabbit to make a fundraising film for World Jewish Relief to be shown at their annual dinner.
The result of that trip is the film above.
I haven’t been able to publicly talk about the film, my time in Lviv or post any pictures until the film was finally released to the public on 4th February 2020.
Lviv is a beautiful city with a brutal history – some great architecture, cobbled streets, trams, Om Nom Nom – one of the best vegan restaurants I’ve ever eaten in, cheap beer and was the site of the Janowska concentration camp .
The fantastic crew for our 7 days in Lviv consisted of Ben duckrabbit (Director), Dan (onscreen), Natalia (who we immediately nicknamed ‘Nutella’, translator), Tanya from World Jewish Relief and myself (camera).
We would be interviewing Jewish survivors Semyon, Rosa and Clara.
Their stories would bring me to tears more than once.
Listening to the stories of what Semyon, Rosa and Clara went through was a deeply moving and unsettling experience.
It’s one thing to read or watch films about what happened to the Jewish people in World War II, to hear about the seige of Leningrad or the violent persecution suffered, but quite another to sit in a small room with someone who lived through those things tell you what it was like, to look in their eyes as they tell you their story.
It took me weeks to get over and is not something I’ll ever forget.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, that Ben from duckrabbit is an amazing director to work with and it was his generosity of spirit, compassion and professionalism that got me through the somewhat harrowing process of making the film. Thank you Ben.
I would of course also like to thank Tanya and Dan for their amazing work and insights during production.
(Big man hugs to Dan for the lift home from the airport on our arrival back in the UK, Cheers bruv:)
Natalia, the translator deserves special mention, not just for her incredible on the spot translations and infectious sense of humor but also for her warm hearted kindness to the interviewees and us the crew throughout. Nutella, we love you!!!
World Jewish Relief as an organization deserves and has, my deep thanks for all the incredible work they do helping survivors across the world.
I’m deeply grateful that through them I had the opportunity to travel to Ukraine.
The final and deepest thanks must go to Semyon, Rosa and Clara for their bravery in agreeing to tell their heartbreaking stories to us on camera.
I will always remember you, your incredible strength and resilience and I feel honored to have met you.
Below are some photos from what was a truly moving trip.