FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Rida Bint Fozi
German Concentration Camps Factual Survey
North American theatrical premiere of groundbreaking documentary revealing the uncensored atrocities of the Nazi regime
With the guidance of Alfred Hitchcock
New York, NY – December 21, 2016: After being shelved by the British Government in 1945 and following a restoration at Britain’s Imperial War Museum, German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, a feature-length documentary film commissioned by the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) and produced by the late filmmaker Sidney Bernstein, will have its first theatrical run in North America beginning January 6, 2017, at Cinema Village in New York City. This lost masterpiece of British documentary film was intended to definitively refute potential denials of the extent of the brutality in Nazi death camps. Opening night will feature an introduction and Q&A by Bernstein’s children, award-winning filmmaker Jane Wells (Tricked, The Devil Came on Horseback) and lawyer David Bernstein.
With the input of Alfred Hitchcock, German Concentration Camps Factual Survey consists of six reels of footage shot in 1944 and 1945 as Allied troops liberated Nazi-occupied Europe. Restored by the Imperial War Museum and distributed by 3 Generations in association with First Run Features, the film provides shocking, uncensored images of the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust.
Intended to be shown to German prisoners of war in Germany after the fall of the Third Reich, production on German Concentration Camps Factual Survey was halted due to a change in the British government’s post-war priorities. An unfinished cut of the film was screened on September 29, 1945, but the British government actively suppressed it from that point on. The film was not completed and released in full until seven decades later in 2014 at the Berlin International Film Festival.
“We distributed several reels of this film 31 years ago,” said Seymour Wishman, president of First Run Features, “and are now privileged to have the opportunity to screen the restored and completed version. This coincides with the release of the feature film Denial being shown around the country about the despicable people who have tried to disgrace the memory of those who died in the Holocaust by denying that it happened.”
3 Generations, a nonprofit organization founded by Jane Wells in 2008 to record and share stories of survivors of human rights abuses from around the world, has been granted theatrical and non-theatrical screening rights to German Concentration Camps Factual Survey for North America and Puerto Rico.
“I am honored that the Imperial War Museum has permitted me to show my father’s film to American audiences,” said Jane Wells, Founder of 3 Generations. “It brings the work of 3 Generations full circle and fulfills a family legacy. My father told me the greatest regret of his life was not being able to finish this film. Arguably, there has never been a more important time to see this film in the United States of America.”
Wells is exploring educational partnerships to begin screening the film at universities and community organizations across the United States.
For media inquiries, contact Rida Bint Fozi at The TASC Group at 212-337-8870 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About 3 Generations
Founded in 2008 by filmmaker Jane Wells, 3 Generations is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in New York City that uses the power of storytelling to amplify the voices of survivors, create witnesses and inspire change. 3 Generations uses film, video and written testimony to record and share stories of survivors of human rights abuses from around the world. For more information visit www.3generations.org.
About First Run Features
Founded in 1979, First Run Features is one of America’s largest independent distributors of documentaries and art films. Recent releases include Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker’s Unlocking the Cage, Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker’s Welcome to Leith, Jillian Schlesinger’s Maidentrip, Michael Apted’s 56 Up, and Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith’s Academy Award-nominated The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.
About Imperial War Museum
Imperial War Museum (IWM) tells the stories of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.
About IWM’s Restoration and Completion of German Concentration Camps Factual Survey
In 1952, IWM inherited the mute rough-cut of German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, along with 100 compilation reels of unedited footage of atrocities and scenes in the camps after they were liberated, shot by Allied cameramen. IWM also acquired a script for the voice-over commentary and a detailed shot list for the complete film. A version of this film, known as Memory of the Camps, was first shown at the Berlin Film Festival in 1984 (pre-digitization and without the sixth reel). This version was also screened in 1985; the five reels were broadcast on Frontline, part of the WGBH Boston PBS network.
A need for restoration of the copies of Memory of the Camps had become apparent, after the film had been shown widely as a popular loan item. IWM believed that the project to restore the film could also encompass work to complete it, using the filmmakers’ original directions (the rough-cut, shot list and script for the commentary) and all reels of source material that had been assembled back in 1945 to make the film.
The work to restore and complete the film began for IWM in December 2008, when the IWM team – including Dr. Toby Haggith, George Smith, Andrew Bullas and David Walsh – investigated whether the sequences for reel six, as described in the original shot list, could be found among the 100 component reels of unedited footage, deposited with the rough-cut in 1952.
The film now has the title German Concentration Camps Factual Survey – as originally listed in the Ministry of Information Catalogue of Films for Liberated Territories, published in September 1945. The original commentary has been re-recorded with the voice of actor Jasper Britton and an effects track created, blending the existing synch sound recordings made at Belsen with authentic Army Film and Photographic Unit recordings made on the battlefields of NW Europe (1944-45), which are held in IWM’s collection.
German Concentration Camps Factual Survey received its world premiere at the 64th Berlin Film Festival in February 2014 and its UK premiere at the 58th BFI London Film Festival in October 2014. The film has also been shown at festivals in Jerusalem, Amsterdam, Melbourne, Sydney and at the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance. It has been distributed across the UK by BFI (British Film Institute).