It's Jewish Heritage Month, the perfect time to see the film, “The Rescuers,” about WWII heroes and Nazi holocaust survivors. Award-winning filmmaker Michael King gave an exclusive interview to Examiner Dorri Olds on May 7, two days before his appearance at the Quad Cinema in New York City. King and Producer Joyce D. Mandell will discuss the film and answer questions following the 7 p.m. showing.
The movie is about 13 Holocaust heroes, most of whom you’ve never heard of, who risked their lives to help tens of thousands of Jews flee to safety during and before World War II. It stars anti-genocide activist Stephanie Nyombayire, who lost 100 members of her family in the Rwandan Genocide of the 1990s, and renowned Holocaust historian, Sir Martin Gilbert.
Nyombayire is the co-founder of the Genocide Intervention Network, the largest activist organization in America dedicated to preventing and ending genocide and mass atrocities worldwide. British historian Sir Martin Gilbert is the author of 88 books including “The Holocaust: The Jewish Tragedy.”
Dorri Olds: How did this movie come about?
Michael King: My good friend Joyce Mandell called about a photo exhibit she’d seen at Ellis Island about diplomats who had risked their lives and careers to save thousands and thousands of Jews. They risked everything by going against their countries’ policies. Their contributions to humanity cost them in some cases their lives yet nobody seemed to know about their heroism. Some hadn’t even told their families of their heroism.
How did you connect with Sir Martin Gilbert?
I knew I needed someone special to navigate and tell the stories. I reached out to Sir Martin Gilbert and asked him to be in the film and I was lucky he said yes. We ended up shooting over 300 hours of footage.
Was it difficult to “kill your darlings”?
Oh yeah, it was very hard to cut so many of the great stories but we had to, it was the only way to get it down to an hour and half.
These diplomats risked everything to save people they didn’t even know.
Yes, it is amazing and that’s why it seemed like someone should put a light on their accomplishments.
“The Rescuers” is now available on iTunes and VOD. 105 minutes.