“After the death of the last witnesses,
the remembrance of the Holocaust must
not be entrusted to historians alone.
Now comes the hour of artistic creation.”
(Aharon Appelfeld, survivor and author)
We need innovative ways to transmit the moral lessons, insights and wisdom that are gained through remembering. AFTER answers this call and imparts the Shoah’s ongoing relevance: that the past is not simply in the past, but rather a vital part of the present and future. AFTER explores poetry about the Holocaust from the rise of Nazism to the current day. A fusion of cinema and poetry, each poem has its own style and visual island that evokes a range of emotions. Survivors, descendants, acclaimed poets and renowned actors will present the poems, creating a deep well of voices responding to evil and genocide. Between each poem will be bridging sequences of music, historical montages of film, photographs and documents, as well as interviews with poets on the relevance and necessity of poetry in the aftermath of the Shoah.
AFTER is a feature-length documentary for an international film festival and television audience. It showcases poems written by a wide range of poets, both Jewish and non-Jewish, grappling with the Shoah, as well as the challenges of a world still rife with genocide. Viewers will reexamine history through a new and vibrant contemporary lens. Language becomes a character, and the strength of the words, performances, commentary, cinematic interpretations, music, sounds and silences bring the poems to life on film in a powerful and innovative fashion. Shifting focus to the interior states of each work, every poem is a thread stitching together a narrative, enabling AFTER to become a living legacy and inventive way to remember.
Intimate and elegiac, poems are interwoven with images of loss and/or beginning anew. A 93-year-old Auschwitz survivor reads directly into the camera. His haunting words and face reveal stories of the 20th century. The daughter of survivors presents her father’s words, “Home is anywhere they let you in.” Other times, the approach is more complex– a poem will play out in voice-over, and the scene looks much like a feature film with sophisticated cinematography and sound design.
The film will connect with young audiences who are steeped in visual media culture and those interested in the Holocaust, poetry, the arts or cinema. The team making AFTER is director Richard Kroehling, principle of Lumen Productions and a two-time Emmy Award winner, who directed A. Einstein for the PBS American Masters Series; cinematographer Lisa Rinzler, a multiple-award winner, who has shot over fifty feature films, including Pollock; and daughter of survivors, producer Janet R. Kirchheimer, award-winning poet and author of How to Spot One of Us, poems about her family and the Shoah. AFTER is incubated at Lumen Productions, a 501(c) (3).
On our Advisory Board, in formation, is Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, Chairman Emeritus of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, as well as poets Mary Stewart Hammond and Edward Hirsch.