New to VOD this Sunday, February 26:
NIGHT WILL FALL
Berlin 2014 (work-in-progress), Sheffield 2014 (official world premiere)
Jerusalem, Telluride, CPH:DOX, IDFA, Hamptons, Traverse City, Documentary Edge, Jewish fests in Moscow, Warsaw, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Vienna, Las Vegas, and Copenhagen
The story behind a long-abandoned Allied documentary revealing the horrors of Nazi concentration camps.
As WWII began to come to a close and British, Russian, and American troops liberated German concentration camps, uncovering the atrocities that had been committed there, military cameramen captured film footage as evidence and for propaganda purposes. The plan, as Singer’s impactful film reveals, was to create a documentary, GERMAN CONCENTRATION CAMPS FACTUAL SURVEY, under producer Sidney Bernstein of Britain’s Ministry of Information, to demonstrate the realities of the camp to audiences worldwide, including Germans who might otherwise try to deny the extent of the Nazi regime’s crimes against humanity. Bernstein called on his friend Alfred Hitchcock, already well-established in Hollywood by this time, to serve as a supervising director, but beyond offering some helpful advice, the latter’s role was limited. Ultimately, despite Bernstein’s best efforts, the documentary stalled and was eventually shelved, a victim of political expediency in the face of the need to win the public’s favor back toward Germany as a Cold War ally. The project wouldn’t be completed and restored until 2014. Singer’s compelling but fairly straight-forward chronicle of SURVEY’s origins, development, and censorship includes difficult, necessary footage from that film while laying out its history via very British television-styled narration, and interviews with cameramen, camp survivors, and experts.