Archive for May, 2010

Vignettes – Halloween, Lower Manhattan 2012



This short film is in no way trying to give a sense of the scale of destruction that Hurricane Sandy caused NYC- compared to Redhook, the Rockaways and other parts of the city the destruction cause to lower Manhattan was comparitively slight but residents still had to endure days without power or access to basic needs as most businesses were closed beneath 34th street. This is simply a document of some of the things we saw while biking around 2 days after the storm and an attempt to capture the strange quiet mood that engulfed the city. -Dylan Angell

Directed by Dylan Angell Camera by Daniel Terna Edited by Joe Morgan Music by Jeff Tobias

Executive Producers Liron Unreich and Michael McDevitt

Vignettes – What is Missing

In this Vignette, in partnership with the Brooklyn Arts Council’s Rethinking Memorial: Ten Interactive Sites for remembering 9/11, The Ripple Project asked ordinary New Yorkers a seemingly obvious yet often overlooked question: “What is missing in the conversation surrounding 9/11?”


The events of September 11, 2001 have made an indelible impression on the collective psyche of the American people, in particular, those New Yorkers who bore personal witness to the calamity of the twin towers’ thunderous collapse. And while over the span of ten years time, the widespread historical and social ramifications of this tragedy have been thoughtfully documented, synthesized and discussed, the horrific scale of 9/11 consistently overshadows the deeply personal trauma felt not only by those directly affected by the loss of loved ones, but by the multitudes who witnessed and continue to witness it’s rippling aftereffects.

Read/See more about Vignettes: here

Vignettes – Paul Angell Plainfield, Vermont


Paul Angell is my uncle, he has kept Plainfield, VT as his home base since 1975 but has always come and gone to travel and work abroad. This Vignette focuses on Paul’s time in Uganda in 1986 and 1987 as AIDS first began to take it’s toll on the country.

-Dylan Angell

Read/See more about Vignettes: here

Vignettes – Benjamin Graham: Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, USA


The first meal I ever shared with Fayaz was over a year ago. I was an intern at the International Rescue Committee and Fayaz had just arrived in Washington DC via Afghanistan, carrying little more than a green card and a suitcase. As an intern, my primary responsibility was to help resettling refugees adapt to life in America, and on one particular afternoon, this meant driving with Fayaz to a social services office in northern Virginia.

We spent the afternoon filling out food stamp applications and sitting through inconclusive interviews, all of which left us annoyed and hungry by the end of the day. On the drive back, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce Fayaz to the most American of cuisines, a value meal at McDonald’s.

Up to this point Fayaz had taken to America rather easily, navigating the DC metro system and applying for a credit card by himself, but he was completely stumped as he stood in front of the McDonald’s menu. I advised him to stay away from the Big Mac for a while, and that the grilled chicken sandwich would be a safe choice for a beginner.

Eying the sandwich suspiciously, Fayaz took his first bite; chewed slowly – paused – and then spat the food back into its bag. “You didn’t tell me there was pork on this!” he snorted, pulling a translucent strip of bacon from his mouth with his thumb and index finger. I apologized and explained that I didn’t eat at McDonald’s often and I hadn’t known that the grilled chicken sandwich came with bacon. I had also momentarily forgotten that Muslims don’t eat pork.

Fayaz wouldn’t take another bite, but he did enjoy the fries. As he munched, he explained to me that there weren’t any pigs in Afghanistan, except maybe in a zoo, and their certainly wasn’t any bacon. I was fascinated that he could be happy in life without bacon, but he assured me it was possible. I continued to ask more questions about his country and his home life, all of which I knew surprisingly little about considering the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

This would prove to be the experience that propelled our relationship past the realm of just work, because a few weeks later, after my internship ended, I got a call from Fayaz inviting me to an Afghan restaurant. I had introduced him to American food, now it was his turn to return the favor. We kept in contact over the next couple months, sometimes meeting up for Afghan food, but never going back to McDonald’s.

I didn’t stay in DC for long, and after a stint working for a newspaper in Nepal, I began making plans to move to New York. I was already in the city, going down my list of acquaintances and moving from couch to couch as I hunted for apartments, when Fayaz called. It had been several months since we last talked, and coincidentally he was now living with a friend in Brooklyn.

When I asked about his couch situation, he said that he didn’t have one, but that I was welcome to stay with him and his friend for the entire month if I was okay with being a little cramped. I was okay with it.

-Ben Graham

Brundibár – History and Premise

Forgetting is the final instrument of genocide — Simon Norfolk

From October 1941 to May 1945, Nazi Germany turned the Czechoslovakian garrison town of Terezín into the Jewish ghetto they called Theresienstadt. Little known, even today, was that within its walls of brutality and injustice endured a culture of creativity, ingenuity and irrepressible human spirit that is profoundly expressed through the children’s opera Brundibár, the brainchild of Jewish prisoner, Hans Krasa, and performed by Jewish children suffering under the yolk of Nazi occupation. An allegory which mocks Hitler’s tyranny and boldly predicts his resounding defeat, the opera was performed 55 times under the unwitting eye of Nazi oppressors who did not understand the Czech language. Armed with hopeful lyrics and performed without yellow stars, Brundibár empowered its child players and allowed them to experience a brief moment of freedom as they discovered the weight of their collective voice.

“Beyond imagination” is a term Holocaust survivors often use to qualify their experience, as words and images cannot fully express what they have witnessed and endured. The same holds true for those individuals throughout the world who have weathered and survived genocide since the end of World War II. Exposure to these events is especially poignant when considering the innocent child survivors whose strength of character within the talons of inhumanity leads us to a place beyond our own imagination.Today we find ourselves at pivotal crossroads of Jewish, and world history. A juncture where the few remaining witnesses and survivors of the Shoah leave us every day. A time when the profound tragedy and dignity of their very existence is in jeopardy of being relegated to archival documents of faded portraits and static history.

As with any crossroads, we are now tasked with the responsibility of choosing a pathway of remembrance and awareness which acknowledges the specter of genocide that still walks among us — not only for ourselves but for those who will follow our lead and example. In doing so we must honor a rich Jewish history and culture while acknowledging those who have experienced the multigenerational effects of genocide by connecting the voices of the past to the hearts and minds of future generations within an engaging, meaningful and relevant forum of discovery and creativity which fosters unique interpersonal relationships. What’s more, we must share this salient story and experience with an ever-growing number of people throughout the world who find themselves distant from the cataclysm of the Holocaust, and closer to the fuel of ignorance, tinder of ambivalence and match of intolerance.

Brundibár – Funding and Status

To date, the Brundibár: Beyond Imagination project has been supported by its creators, small donations and the valuable time of our volunteers and dedicated staff who have all made efforts well beyond their modest salaries and stipends. However, with widespread support for the project concept and commitment from potential mentors, directors, NGO and other institutions, we have yet to realized the financial support that will make this important project a reality.

Brundibár: Beyond Imagination, LLC, in partnership with our 501(C)(3) fiscal sponsors, has been seeking financial support from from government programs, private institutions, NGOs, broadcasting networks, developmental grants, self-initiated fundraising and foundations. To date we have made proposals to, received commitments or funding from the following:

  • Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc, Miriam Weiner, Director of Allocations:pending financial support from the Rabbi Israel Miller Fund for Shoah Education, Research and Documentation
  • World Holocaust Forum founded by Dr. Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor: confirmed financial support and program affiliation
  • Yad Vashem: pending educational support
  • Wilf Family Foundation: pending financial support
  • UJA-Federation of New York
  • Nadace Leo Baeck, Director Karel Tolde: pending financial support and program affiliation
  • NYU Prague, Director Jiri Pehe: program and educational support
  • Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA), Channel 1: co-production commitment in the amount of $60,000.00 USD


For close to two years Brundibár: Beyond Imagination has been actively laying the groundwork for the project. During this time we have made great strides in the areas of research, documentation and the creation of a unique structure for the implantation of this ambitious project. To date we have have had the honor to befriend, interview and filmed close to 12 survivors of Theresienstadt, as well as many of their children and grandchildren. Throughout our travels within the United States, Israel and the Czech Republic we have garnered the support of many prominent cultural, institutional and government figures who, without their approval and backing, this project would not be possible. Along the way, we have also brought on a number of helpful volunteers and dedicated and talented staff of five ambitious researchers, historians and filmmakers and writers based in New York, Tel Aviv and Prague.

Brundibár – The Organization Serves

Educational Summer Theatre Arts Program serves:

  • Individual participants — as a forum of experiential education, creativity and personal identity
  • Participating “mentors” — as an opportunity to influence and educate the participants
  • The Municipality of Terezín — as a transformational cultural and community revitalization opportunity
  • Yad Vasheem — as multicultural outreach of the Jewish experience, culture and Holocaust education that safeguards of the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations
  • New York University in Prague — as an internship program for international study abroad students

The Documentary Feature Film serves:

  • General public — as an inspirational and educational story
  • As a source of pride in heritage and culture
  • As in introduction to a broader understanding of the Shoah and genocide beyond fact and figures
  • As a gateway to further Shoah, cultural heritage and creative studies
  • As a means to becoming active in the fight against ignorance, intolerance and Holocaust denial
  • As a means to connect with educational institutions, communities, museums and survivors
  • Educational institutions — as an entertaining and engaging gateway to teaching the Shoah as a living and evolving story and as a relevant and powerful tool for fighting intolerance, hate and Holocaust denial
  • Program mentors — as a platform form which to illustrate their commitment to sharing their professional and personal experience whilst helping the world fight intolerance, hate and Holocaust denial

The Interactive Educational Website serves:

  • Individuals — as a gateway to, and interactive forum for, Shoah studies including:
    • Films, photos, stories and other educational materials
    • A conduit to educational institutions, non government organizations and museums
    • A connecting point to other individuals interested in, or having experienced the generational effects of genocide and the fight to prevent genocide
  • Families of Shoah survivors and victims of genocide — as an open forum of cultural heritage, creativity and personal responsibility
  • Community Programs — as an educational tool for presenting the story and lessons of the Shoah within an accessible, relevant and meaningful forum of interactivity, connection and action
  • Non Government Organizations — as a means to create awareness and build a broader audience to present their offering and/or services
  • Educational Institutions —
    • General: Student and faculty exposure to Brundibár: Beyond Imagination educational programs, archival materials and community
    • Partner Institutions: as a means to create awareness and present their offerings
  • Museums — as a means to create awareness and present their offering including: archives, collections, exhibitions and programs

-Documentary Film Distribution

The Brundibár: Beyond Imagination documentary film is intended to be shown within key festivals to secure a general theatrical release. After a domestic and international theatre run, the film will be ready for broadcast within domestic and international markets as exampled by Channel 1 (IBA) Israel – a broadcaster that has already been secured. Beyond broadcast, the film will be set up for DVD and Video on Demand (VOD) sales through the supporting Brundibár: Beyond Imagination website and outlets like iTunes and Netflix. Beyond the film’s theatrical run it will be made available to educational institutions, government agencies and NGO’s for exhibition rental and/or broadcast on DVD or VOD.

Festival Examples: Politics on Film, Savannah, Strasbourg International, Jewish Film Festival of New York, and World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival etc.

Secured Broadcast Partners

  • Channel 1 (IBA), Israel
  • Ceska Televize, Czech Republic

Brundibár – Key Players

-Key Players

  • David Peimer, Opera Director
  • Dorit Novak, Director of Yad Vashem’s International School for Holocaust Studies
  • Sasha Nanus, Program Director
  • David Eaton, Musical Director
  • Susan Nanus, Opera and Documentary film Writer
  • Jean-Paul Samputu, Artistic and Cultural Mentopr
  • Neil Redding, Creative Technology Director

-Board Members and Professionals

Project Advisory Board

  • Michael Berenbaum, The Berenbaum Group (pending educational consultant)
  • David Peimer, Theatre Professor and Director, NYU Prague (confirmed opera director)
  • David Eaton, Director New York Symphony (pending music director)
  • Markéta Cherny, Czech Theatre Producer (confirmed theatre producer)
  • Tobi Kahn, professor and renowned artist (confirmed mentor)
  • Marc Dennis, Holocaust art scholar, professor and renowned painter (confirmed mentor)
  • Jiri Pehe, Director of New York University in Prague (active educational consultant)
  • Tomas Hanus, Conductor Brno Orchestra (confirmed conductor and son of Terezín survivor)
  • Sasha and Susan Nanus, Founders of the Manhattan Performing Arts Co (pending summer theatre arts director)
  • Jean Paul Samputu, World Musician/Cultural Ambassador/Rwanda Genocide Survivor (confirmed mentor)
  • Eugenie Mukeshimana, Director, Rwandan Consulting (active Rwandan/African consultant)
  • Ludmila Claussova, Director, Czech Film Commission (active consultant)
  • Rabbi Leor Sinai, Executive Director, Jewish Lens (active consultant)
  • Tomas Pojar: Czech Republic Ambassador to Israel (active consultant)
  • Milos Pojar, Former Czech Republic Ambassador to Israel (active consultant)
  • Dr. Jan Munk, Director of the Terezín Memorial, Terezín (active consultant)
  • Bret Werb, Musicologist at the USHMM in Washington, DC
  • Leo Pavlat, Director of the Jewish Museum in Prague
  • Ruzena Cechova, Mayor of the Municipality of Terezín
  • Lukas Pribyl , Director of the European Shoah Legacy Institute Terezín
  • Tomas Kraus, Director of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Czech Republic
  • Dr. Dagmar Lieblova, Chair, Terezín Initiative (official Terezín survivors network and historical organization)
  • Oded Breda, Director of the Theresienstadt Martyrs Remembrance Association, Beit Terezín, Israel
  • Ital Nevo-Landsberg, Director of Documentary Programming, Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA), Channel 1
  • Dr. Frank Mecklenburg, Chief Archivist and Director of Research Leo Baeck Institute in New York

Survivor Consultants

  • Fred Terna, artist and Holocaust survivor, USA
  • Helga Hoskova, artist and Holocaust survivor Czech Republic
  • Morris Wyszogrod, artist and Holocaust survivor Israel
  • Ela Weissberger, Terezín Survivor, USA
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Series One