Filming Wraps on New Docu-Drama WHAT DOES ANNE FRANK MEAN TODAY?
Filming has now been completed on internationally-acclaimed Croatian film director Jakov Sedlar's new docu-drama WHAT DOES ANNE FRANK MEAN TODAY? The film, co-directed with screenplay by Sedlar's son Dominik, will include footage of the current Israel-Gaza conflict and is being produced by Oscar winner Branko Lustig (Schindler's List) and Stephen Ollendorff. A distributor for the film is being sought.
Now, 70 years since the Frank family were discovered in hiding, What Does Anne Frank Mean Today? is a fascinating look at Anne Frank's life and diary and how The Words and thoughts of this exceptional young woman in hiding have relevance in today's world. Shot entirely on location a midst the turmoil of Gaza, Ramallah, Jaffa and Kosovo, the film takes a modern look at how relevant her thoughts and dreams are for young people in these regions today through conversations with ordinary Palestinian youths who talk about love, their first kiss and other subjects covered in Frank's diary.
Sedlar faced many challenges shooting during the most recent conflicts in Gaza, trying to shoot scenes in between bombings and was witness to horrific images of war.
The film will have six young Palestinian actresses portraying Anne Frank between the ages of 12 and 14 and Sedlar hopes that the film being done in Arabic (with English subtitles) will "open some eyes." "We must not repeat history," Sedlar adamantly vows.
Jakov Sedlar is an award-winning Croatian film director and producer who, over The Past 25 years, has divided his time between Zagreb (the capital of The Republic of Croatia), New York and Tel Aviv. He has directed over 60 documentaries and eight feature films. His productions have been shown at major film festivals in such international cities as Venice, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tel Aviv, Miami, Shanghai, Melbourne, Kiev, Haifa, Locarno and more. Many of his films have been shown on television around the world, including PBS in the United States. Among his films are Syndrome Jerusalem, a docu-drama co-directed by Dominik Sedlar, starring Martin Sheen, Macaulay Culkin and Charlotte Rampling, which won the first Peace Prize Award at the Venice Film Festival in 2004 (shown in more than 29 countries and 14 film festivals); Fate Did Not Let Me Go, a documentary co-directed by Dominik Sedlar and narrated by Liv Ullman and Martin Sheen (shown in more than 22 countries and PBS) and Gospa, starring Martin Sheen and Michael York (received the Best Catholic Film of the Year in Warsaw and has been shown in over 50 countries). Nine of Sedlar's films can be seen at the Yad Hashem, Israel's Holocaust Museum. His film Searching for Orson co-directed by Dominik Sedlar, is the story of the unfinished and Unknown films of Orson Welles, had its world premiere at the AFI Film Festival in Los Angeles and includes unique footage and statements by such famed directors as Spielberg, Bogdanovich and Mazursky.
The cast of What Does Anne Frank Mean Today? also includes Raida Adon, Gresa Pallaska, Mensur Shafquiu, Emmy Award-winner Armand Assante, Zrinka Cvitesic (West End production of Once). The film has a score by world-renowned pianist/conductor Daniel Barenboim and includes an interview with Branko Lustig who reveals that at age 12, he was imprisoned in the Bergen-Belson camp less than 500 feet from the barracks where Anne Frank died.
It was August 4, 1944 when Anne Frank and her family were discovered by the Nazis while hiding in a secret annex in Amsterdam. She died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March, 1945, never reaching her 16th birthday and a mere few weeks before British troops liberated the camp on April 15, 1945.
PHOTO BY DARIO BAJURIN