€9,793
pledged of €35,000pledged of €35,000 goal
100
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Tue, November 27 2018 6:14 AM UTC +00:00
€9,793
pledged of €35,000pledged of €35,000 goal
100
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Tue, November 27 2018 6:14 AM UTC +00:00

About

Beautiful for a Night: Miss Holocaust Survivor

Yad Ezer L'Haver Retirement Home, Haifa, Israel. A group of elderly women parade before a small audience, in their best clothes, with nice hair and elegant makeup. These are the rehearsals of a beauty pageant like no one before. Because all these women are Holocaust survivors.

Many Holocaust survivors, while revered and considered living testaments of history, live below the poverty line. Dr. Izabella Greenberg, a psychologist working with Holocaust survivors at Yad Ezer, noticed that women in particular had a sense of diminished self-worth. During World War II, the bodies of young girls and women were battlefields in their own right: rape, medical experiments, hunger, despoliation were commonplace. They had no opportunity to get to know their bodies, to feel pretty, feminine, appreciated, loved. In short, to feel beautiful.

So she had an idea: a beauty pageant to reinforce the survivors’ sense of self, to give them back at least a bit of their own self-worth, using the glitzy frame of one of our time’s most recognizable shows.

But this is no ordinary beauty pageant. Here, the participants win because of the stories they tell, not because of their looks. The competition becomes a celebration of their personal stories, and their power to save us, again and again. 

That’s why we want to make this film.

The Story

MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR follows three women, whose stories lead to the night of the beauty contest. Rita, Tova and Madeleine are independent, creative, feisty elderly women living at Yad Ezer. In the days leading to the beauty contest, we will know their stories. Their first acts: the Holocaust and the harrowing days of their childhood and youth. Their second acts: rebuilding their lives in Israel and America, creating families and building a country. Now, we see their third acts: making peace with their stories and celebrating their achievements, at the Miss Holocaust beauty pageant.

Beyond the pageant, though, our documentary will use different techniques to tell these remarkable stories. Stock footage for the Holocaust, but also sand animation for the women’s recollection: a fleeting, yet magic art form to capture the haziness of memories. And we will recreate one stunning moment of one story: a return to life. But this story is also about the relationships borne in the Retirement Home: at the end of the day, these women retain all their quirks, edges, tics... and humor.

Rita before the competition.
Rita before the competition.

Why Kickstarter?

Given the survivors’ age, this year’s Miss Holocaust Survivor could well be the last one. This is why we are shooting right now: we can’t wait, or the world will lose the chance to hear the survivors’ stories. And this is why we are using Kickstarter.

The Miss Holocaust Beauty Pageant took place in Haifa on October 14th, 2018. We have been awarded some German film funds for this project, but as those funds only cover German expenses, we will use your support to cover our shoot in Israel:

5200 € Travel Expenses Germany/Israel for the crew

6620 € Israeli Film Crew Members 

4200 € Film Equipment and Grip Rental in Israel 

4600 €  Lodging Film Crew in Israel 

2700 € Website and Social Media Outreach Campaign 

3100 € Crew Transportation in Israel 

3180 € Kickstarter Fee 

1900 € Translations Hebrew/English 

3500 € Food and Meals for Film Crew in Israel 

TOTAL: € 35,000

If we raise € 40,000, we'll be able to add extra filming days in Israel.

If we raise € 50,000, we'll be able to have further sand animation sequences.

If we raise € 60,000, we'll be able to enhance and increase our re-enactment shoot budget. 

And if we raise € 100,000... we have something even bigger in mind. Support us and follow us to know more! 

But even better, pledging for the Adopt a Survivor Story (see Pledges) will allow us to interview even more women: more Holocaust survivor stories that will be saved forever and will be accessible on the film’s website. By helping us make this film, you will SAVE A STORY.

Director Radek Wegrzyn and protagonist Rita Kassimow Brown
Director Radek Wegrzyn and protagonist Rita Kassimow Brown

Beyond The Pageant

But there’s another reason we chose Kickstarter: to create a community around this project.

This is also a story about beauty: from a pageant about the beauty of stories to our own ideas of beauty. What IS beauty to us all? The glossy magazine version of perfect female bodies Photoshopped to an inch of their life, or the everyday imperfections that make us fall in love with the girl or boy next door? Is beauty a cultural construct and can we go beyond it and learn to see it in a different way? That’s why we are launching the hashtags #WhatIsBeauty and #AStoryOfBeauty. We will be interviewing people in Italy, Germany, USA, UK, Israel, asking them: WHAT’S BEAUTY FOR YOU? These inserts will be our viral campaign for the film, juxtaposing the Holocaust survivor women’s faces, stories and talks with today’s people and their own, global view of beauty, to find something deeper, universal and, well, beautiful.

In The End...

In a world of unhappy endings and growing hate, finding beauty seems to be harder and harder every day. We want to tell a story about life and inner beauty triumphing, even after the most terrible moments of history: about lives shining through, prevailing and rebuilding for the best. About frail, old bodies that carry a superior, inner beauty. That’s why this film is so important and timely.

The world needs stories of beauty. Please help us tell this story, before it’s too late. Thanks for your help and attention.

"To celebrate life, to celebrate the human condition, in all its light and dark. It is this yearning that drives me to tell this story as best I possibly can." - Radek Wegrzyn, director
"To celebrate life, to celebrate the human condition, in all its light and dark. It is this yearning that drives me to tell this story as best I possibly can." - Radek Wegrzyn, director

Risks and challenges

One of the primary risks of documentary production is actually raising a budget for our shoot to actually finish the film.

We have been already awarded production funds by Nordmedia (the Lower Saxony film fund), which we will use for post-production in Germany: but now we do need funding for the shoot outside Germany, as German film funds only account national and regional spending.

So this is why we are asking for your support.

The other risk with documentary filmmaking is the ability to reach audiences worldwide through festivals and distribution. As an experienced team, we have a plan to ensure success. Radek's current film, The School on Magic Mountain, is on tour around the world and we have an ambitious plan to ensure the stories from our film reach a wide audience.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €5 or more About $6

    DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

    A digital thanks from Director Radek Wegrzyn and the Ladies of Yad Ezer, protagonists of the documentary. A little piece of a greater story.

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    Pledge €10 or more About $11

    SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE

    A salute in person, from the protagonists of the documentary: the Ladies of Yad Ezer will thank you with a short video accessible via password only on Vimeo. The real voices and faces of this story will thank you in person for saving that very story for the world.
    + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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    Pledge €12 or more About $14

    DIGITAL ILLUSTRATION WALLPAPER DOWNLOAD

    Renowned young illustrator and graphic novel artist Sara Antonellini offers her own take on this story about the power of stories to save us, in a beautiful alternative poster for the film, available as a digital illustration wallpaper. + SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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    Pledge €15 or more About $17

    MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR DVD/BLU-RAY

    A story about the power of stories finally becomes a DVD or Blu-Ray. The story of the Ladies of Yad Ezer and the Miss Holocaust Survivor Beauty Pageant, in our feature documentary. + SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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    Pledge €20 or more About $23

    LIMITED EDITION DVD/BLU-RAY

    With an original sleeve from Sara Antonellini. The documentary DVD or BLU-RAY in a special edition with a unique sleeve design from Sara Antonellini. + SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge €30 or more About $34

    ILLUSTRATION PRINT

    Renowned Italian illustrator and graphic novel artist Sara Antonellini's special alternative poster for MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR becomes a special print in a limited edition of 300 copies, signed by the artist. + MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR DVD or BLU-RAY + SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge €40 or more About $45

    SIGNED SPECIAL EDITION DVD or BLU-RAY

    A MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SPECIAL EDITION DVD or BLU-RAY signed by Director Radek Wegrzyn, the Ladies of Yad Ezer and Producer Roberto Gagnor. A true story, signed by the people who made it and most of all, by the women who built that same story, that made it true. A real memento of this tale, from the people who made it and, most importantly, from those who were in it. + SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE - DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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    Pledge €50 or more About $57

    SPECIAL EDITION DVD/BLU-RAY + B/W PRINT

    MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SPECIAL EDITION DVD or BLU-RAY + BLACK AND WHITE PRINT signed by Director Radek Wegrzyn, the Ladies of Yad Ezer and Producer Roberto Gagnor. A true, concrete thank you for making this story possible, from the women who lived it: the special edition DVD plus a black and white photo of the Ladies of Yad Ezer with director Radek Wegrzyn, taken during production and autographed by the Ladies and the Director themselves. + SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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    Pledge €75 or more About $85

    SAND FROM A STORY: ART PRINT

    SAND FROM A STORY: ART PRINT from a frame of the sand animation used in the film, signed by the artist. A fleeting moment that turns into part of a greater story: a frame of a tale that becomes a trace of the passage of a story in the world. + MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SPECIAL EDITION DVD or BLU-RAY + BLACK AND WHITE PRINT + SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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    Pledge €100 or more About $113

    A PIECE OF A GREATER TALE

    A PIECE OF A GREATER TALE: A VIAL OF SAND used by a sand artist for the animation sequences of the film, autographed by the artist. A tangible memento of a fleeting, yet eternal, moment of art. PLUS: SAND FROM A STORY: ART PRINT - MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SPECIAL EDITION DVD or BLU-RAY + BLACK AND WHITE PRINT + SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge €500 or more About $565

    CARVED IN HISTORY

    YOUR NAME ON A PLAQUE of FILM CONTRIBUTORS in the Yad Ever Nursing Home's Holocaust Museum In Haifa, Israel. You are making this film with us: but most of all, you are stating your name in a small, yet important, piece of history. A plaque, placed in the Nursing Home's Holocaust Museum, will remember your presence and your help in saving the stories of the Ladies of Yad Ezer. History will thank you, and so will whoever will visit the Museum. PLUS: A PIECE OF A GREATER TALE: A VIAL OF SAND + SAND FROM A STORY: ART PRINT + MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SPECIAL EDITION DVD or BLU-RAY + BLACK AND WHITE PRINT + SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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    Pledge €800 or more About $905

    ADOPT A SCREENING w/ Director/Producer

    A package with a full Q&A session allowing for the screening of the film in any educative or didactic context (schools, universities, cultural centers etc. ), followed by a 2-hour Q&A session with the director, Radek Wegrzyn (Germany and Poland), or the producer, Roberto Gagnor (Italy). A unique opportunity to hear from the narrator of this story how it was made, how it works and why it is important. An ideal pledge for schools, film schools, film courses, universities interested in the art of documentary filmmaking, the Holocaust and independent filmmaking. The pledge will be limited to venues in Italy, Germany, Poland. PLUS: MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SPECIAL EDITION DVD or BLU-RAY + BLACK AND WHITE PRINT signed by Director Radek Wegrzyn, the Ladies of Yad Ezer and Producer Roberto Gagnor. A true, concrete thank you for making this story possible, from the women who lived it: the special edition DVD or BLU-RAY plus a black and white photo of the Ladies of Yad Ezer with director Radek Wegrzyn, taken during production and autographed by the Ladies and the Director themselves. PLUS SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE from the protagonists of the documentary: Rita and the other Ladies of Yad Ezer will thank you with a short video accessible via password only. The real voices and faces of a grand story will thank you in person for the possibility to save that very story. PLUS: Digital Thank You Note from Director Radek Wegrzyn and the Ladies of Yad Ezer, protagonists of the documentary.

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    Pledge €1,000 or more About $1,131

    ADOPT A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR STORY!

    ADOPT A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR STORY! The unique possibility to donate a whole day's recording of a full, unabridged testimony of one of the Holocaust survivors. This will be available throughout the movie website with a Creative Commons License, becoming a permanent testimony of their story, to be studied, listened to and watched free of charge. Many Holocaust survivors in Israel live below the poverty line: they may not have a family or money, but they have a story. This will be your eternal contribution, that will make sure their story is neither lost or forgotten. + MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SPECIAL EDITION DVD or BLU-RAY + BLACK AND WHITE PRINT + SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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    Pledge €5,000 or more About $5,655

    INVITATION TO PREMIERE + PRODUCER CREDIT

    YOU will be making this film possible. YOU will allow this story to be told and not forgotten. This pledge will allow you to actually become one of the Associate Producers of MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR; as such, you will be invited to the film's international premiere in Europe. Air tickets, lodging and expenses are excluded, but the Associate Producers with this pledge will enjoy a COMPLIMENTARY DINNER with Radek Wegrzyn and Roberto Gagnor, Director/Producer and Producer of this film. + MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SPECIAL EDITION DVD or BLU-RAY + BLACK AND WHITE PRINT + SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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    Pledge €8,500 About $9,613

    PERSONAL VISIT TO THE YAD EZER

    PERSONAL VISIT TO THE YAD EZER NURSING HOME IN HAIFA + INVITATION TO THE FILM PREMIERE (minus tickets and lodging) AND RED CARPET + ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT - YOU will be making this film possible. YOU will allow this story to be told and not forgotten. This pledge will allow you to actually become one of the Associate Producers of MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR; as such, you will be invited to the film's international premiere (to be confirmed) in Europe. Air tickets, lodging and expenses are excluded, but the Associate Producers with this pledge will enjoy a COMPLIMENTARY DINNER with Radek Wegrzyn and Roberto Gagnor, Director/Producer and Producer of this film. + MISS HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR SPECIAL EDITION DVD or BLU-RAY + BLACK AND WHITE PRINT+ SPECIAL VIDEO MESSAGE + DIGITAL THANK YOU NOTE

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Funding period

- (30 days)