“To be an artist means never to avert your eyes.”
-- Akira Kurosawa
I am happy to announce that in December, Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport, a documentary I wrote and directed, was selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry. Under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act, the Librarian of Congress each year names 25 films (each must be at least 10 years old) that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant. Selection helps ensure that these films will be preserved for all time.
Spanning the period 1913-2004, the slate includes documentaries and experimental films and brings the number of motion pictures in the registry to 650. Here is the Library of Congress citation:
Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000) Just before World War II, a rescue operation aided the youngest victims of Nazi terror when 10,000 Jewish and other children were sent from their homes and families to live with foster families and in group homes in Great Britain. This Oscar-winning film was directed by Mark Jonathan Harris, writer and director of another Oscar winner, The Long Way Home, and produced by Deborah Oppenheimer, whose mother was among the children evacuated. The film examines the bond between parent and child, uncovering the anguish of the parents who reluctantly acknowledged they could no longer protect their children, but through their love saw a chance to still do it, by proxy if not proximity. Interviews with the surviving children reveal feelings of abandonment and estrangement that often took years to overcome. The film is a tribute not only to the children who survived but to the people of England who agreed to rescue the refugees when U.S. leadership would not.
It's a tremendous honor to have the film selected for preservation by the National Film Registry. This recognition is a tribute to the character of our subjects as much as it is to the film. Although many have passed away since we made the movie, I know that those who are still alive will be gratified to know that their wrenching stories will be preserved for generations to come and that others may be inspired by the courage and resilience they displayed in the face of harrowing circumstances.
In other news:Lost for Life, a film I produced about juvenile murderers who are sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, is now available on both iTunes and Netflix. Code Black, a documentary I executive produced about ER physicians at the County Hospital at USC, will be available on DVD and iTunes in February. And a DVD of Spirit of the Marathon II, Rome, which I also executive produced, can be purchased by going to www.marathonmovie.com.
Interacting with Autism,www.interactingwithautism.com, a transmedia project funded by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) that I directed with University Professor Marsha Kinder at USC, continues to attract significant traffic. The website contains over six hours of short videos on various aspects of autism and hours more of interviews with some of the most important experts in the field.