My review & pictures of “Bearing Witness: Voices of Our Survivors” World Premiere at 2013 Palm Beach International Film Festival

On Monday, April 8, 2013 I attended the gripping World Premiere of Bearing Witness: The Voices of Our Survivors at the Palm Beach International Film Festival in Palm Beach County, Florida. The screening was held at the Frank Theatres CineBowl & Grille in Delray Beach. I also attended its second festival screening on Wednesday, April 10 at the Cobb Downtown at the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens.

There are essentially two kinds of documentaries. The first turns you on to a story you knew nothing about. The second documents an incident you've heard of -- maybe even have read about or studied -- but uncovers facts that are not only new to you but also put a completely different perspective on what you thought really happened. Call it a revelatory experience. This unforgettable film from director/producer/editor Heather Elliott-Famularo is a triumphant example of the latter.

A Professor of Digital Arts at Bowling Green State University seems an unlikely candidate to direct a documentary about the Holocaust, but a fortuitous pairing with Hindea Markowicz, Director of the Ruth Fajerman Markowicz Holocaust Resource Center of Greater Toledo, results in a wholly unique story about the Nazi atrocities of the 1930s-40s. The movie brings together a class of Jewish Sunday School students, mostly 12-15, to ask questions directly to Holocaust survivors gathered from the Toledo area. Included are fascinating and occasionally emotionally devastating interviews with Rolf Hess, William Leons, Philip Markowicz, Abraham Negrin, Clara Rona, and Aron Wajskol. Archival footage, some never seen before, punctuates and illustrates the often-horrific stories told by those who lived these moments many of us have only seen in books or depicted in fictional motion pictures. This is truly an important and timely work, as these youngsters are the last generation who will be able to personally interact with those who suffered at the hands of Hitler's disciples. It transcends age and religion, as well, with a parallel message about bullying and its similar root causes which still exist today. Think it can't happen again?

Bearing Witness: The Voices of Our Survivors was produced by Heather Elliott-Famularo and Angel Vasquez. Vasquez and Darren LaShelle served as Executive Producers. Hindea Markowicz served as associate producer.

I gave Bearing Witness: The Voices of Our Survivors five stars and a place on my 2013 Palm Beach International Film Festival Top 4 Documentaries.

On Monday, April 8 at Frank CineBowl, I was honored to introduce the film and host an educational and poignant Q&A session after the screening, where I was joined by director/producer/editor Heather Elliott-Famularo and associate producer Hindea Markowicz, along with Holocaust survivors Rolf Hess and Philip Markowicz.

On Wednesday, April 10 at the Cobb Downtown at the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens, Ms. Elliott-Famularo joined me as, once again, I had the privilege of introducing the screening and hosting the Q&A.

The festival's closing night and awards ceremony took place on Thursday, April 11 at Frank Theatres CineBowl & Grille in Delray Beach. Heather was present to accept one of the festival's top honors from Palm Beach International Film Festival President Randi Emmerman, the Audience Award for Best Documentary.

Here are some pictures I shot on the red carpet with director/producer/editor Heather Elliott-Famularo on April 8, along with associate producer Hindea Markowicz, executive producer Angel Vasquez, and Holocaust survivors Philip Markowicz and Rolf Hess with his wife Marcia. Also posted are photos I took on the red carpet April 10, as we were joined by members of the director's family, and as Ms. Elliott-Famularo walked the Closing Night red carpet and accepted the Audience Award for Best Documentary on April 11 from Palm Beach International Film Festival President Randi Emerman.






Bearing Witness: The Voices of Our Survivors - promotional trailer from Heather Elliott-Famularo on Vimeo.


Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at

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  • Author: Larry Richman
  • Posted: April 15, 2013
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