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Landing in Dresden in a Dash-8

<strong>FILM SYNOPSIS</strong>

‘‘The Holocaust is a drug….”

<em><strong>I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors</strong></em> is director Ann Marie Fleming’s animated adaptation of Bernice Eisenstein’s acclaimed illustrated memoir. Through an artful blend of Eisenstein’s drawings, inventive animation and the author’s own voice, the film weaves together personal and global history.

Eisenstein explores her own identity from a past that her parents, both Auschwitz survivors, don’t especially want to talk about. Using the healing power of humour, the film probes the taboos around a very particular second-hand trauma, leading us to a more universal understanding of human experience. The film explores identity and loss through the audacious proposition that the Holocaust is addictive and defining.

<em><strong>I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors</strong></em> shakes up perspectives and conveys to a new generation the continuing legacy of the Second World War, which seared the word genocide into our collective consciousness. This is a poignant and wry exploration of grief, love, acceptance and resilience, through the enduring quality of family bonds.

<strong>For Canadian screening dates, please scroll down.</strong>

<strong>ABOUT THE FILMMAKER</strong>

Ann Marie Fleming is a Vancouver-based award-winning filmmaker, writer and artist whose work often explores themes of family, history and memory in a continuing media critique. Born in Japan, of Chinese and Australian parentage, she has been obsessed with issues of immigration and diaspora, personal and cultural histories, and how they intersect.

She is known for her work in hybridity, often combining different genres, such as documentary, animation and fiction. Her personal memoir, <em>You Take Care Now</em>, won best experimental student film at the Montreal World Film Festival in 1989 and best short at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Her 1990 documentary, <em>New Shoes: An Interview in Exactly 5 Minutes</em>, won best short film at TIFF, as did <em>Blue Skies</em>, a riff on 9/11, in 2002. Her 2003 animated documentary, <em><strong>The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam</strong></em>, unveiling the history of her great-grandfather, a world-famous travelling acrobat and magician, won various awards across North America. Her subsequent graphic novel of the same name won the Doug Wright Award for best Canadian comic book in 2008 and was nominated for two Eisner Awards. Her dark comedy, <em>The French Guy</em>, won best feature at the Boston Underground Film Festival in 2006. Fleming has made short animated films for CBC’s DNTO and Discovery’s Planet Green network in the United States, and is always up for a karaoke video. <em><strong>I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors</strong></em> is her fourth collaboration with the NFB.

Based on the book, I WAS A CHILD OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS, written and illustrated by BERNICE EISENSTEIN
Written and directed by ANN MARIE FLEMING


<strong><a href="">Calgary International Film Festival</a></strong>
Sunday, October 3 at 12:15 (Globe Theatre)

<strong><a href="">Vancouver International Film Festival</a></strong>
Monday, October 11 at 3:30 pm (Pacific Cinematheque)
Monday, October 11 at 9:30 pm (Empire Granville 7, Theatre 2)

Filmmaker Ann Marie Fleming is at DOK Leipzig in Germany, presenting her film I Was A Child of Holocaust Survivors. She has graciously agreed to write some guest posts for us from the festival.


It took a while to get from Vancouver to Leipzig.  I flew Air Berlin to Dusseldorf, then to Dresden, then an hour’s car ride to Leipzig.  I’ve been invited to DOK Leipzig, a festival started in 1955, with films advocating peace and human dignity.  It is now the 2nd largest doc fest in Europe, unique in that it celebrates documentary and animated films and the creative spirit- freedom of mind and of speech.

During the cold war, it was a unique nexus where East and West filmmakers could come together and exchange ideas. I am presenting I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors there, my adaptation of Bernice’s Eisenstein’s illustrated memoir. It is in the official animation competition and also in the section of animated docs.

I’ve also been asked to sit on a panel with Andy Glynne, founder of the London Documentary Filmmakers Group. Now that I’ve actually read the program I see I am going to be discussing the personal… in particular, telling someone ELSE’s story. Luckily, I just have to use my own films as examples, to talk about the way animation is used and why.

I’m bringing along The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam and two earlier shorts, New Shoes: An interview in exactly 5 minutes and You Take Care Now, all very personal films.

Tonight is the opening of the festival, but I’ve been traveling for a day and a half, and spent the evening going through the catalogue and preparing for the week.  There is soothing classical music and a fireplace that comes on automatically on the television in my hotel room when I put the key card in the slot.

Tomorrow, I’m going to go see Rest in Peace,  a film about death, or what we do with the dead, and my first 2 screenings…. Rudy Buttignol of Knowledge Network is here, giving workshops.  I hope to be able to meet up with him, too.

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