Opening weekend event

“Lodz: Family Stories”
Sunday, March 14 at 11 am PDT/2 pm EDT

featuring Daniel Libeskind
and Slawomir Grünberg, Paul Celler and Lilka Elbaum
moderator: Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

Register

“Lodz: Family Stories”
Sunday, March 14 at 11 am PDT/2 pm EDT

featuring Daniel Libeskind
and Slawomir Grünberg, Paul Celler and Lilka Elbaum
moderator: Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett

Register

Opening weekend event

One Painting,
a Century of Jewish Life

The lure of family mysteries lies at the heart of “Still Life in Lodz”, an emotionally riveting documentary that journeys to the historically tumultuous city of Lodz, Poland. Here, a surprise reunion with a painting that hung in the same apartment for 75 world-altering years becomes a probing investigation into the power of memory, art, time and resilience.

What follows is a deeply personal detective story rich with twists and turns. But, equally, the film is an ode to the lost generations of Jewish Lodz and a look at how fragile—but also how incredibly necessary—our relationship with the past is for creating the future.

The stirring mystery begins inside an ordinary-seeming tenement apartment where a painting has witnessed the most extraordinary of times. The painting is a serene still life. But it has clung to the wall through incredible personal and global turmoil— through both war and peace, through moments of joyous communion and shocking chaos, through everyday scenes of family love and the shattering terror of hate, displacement, the Holocaust and totalitarian rule.

Once, this painting was the constant companion to Lilka Elbaum, who grew up in Lodz and lived there until 1968, when at the age of 19, an antisemitic purge drove her and her entire family out of Poland. The portrait might have been a simple likeness of lush flowers and ripe fruit, but for Lilka, it had been an indelible connection to her childhood and to Lodz itself.

48 years later, by remarkable chance, Lilka has an emotional re-encounter with the painting in Lodz. This will spark a new journey full of startling new discoveries but also to a reckoning with the countless ghosts and complicated stories of the city. She brings two important companions on her trek, each with roots in Lodz from different eras, each searching for their own answers. New Yorker Paul Celler brings the perspective of a second-generation Holocaust survivor as he traces how his mother, against all odds, made it out of the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz. Exploring the pre-War life of Lodz is Israeli artist Roni Ben-Ari who is drawn back to the spot of her family’s textile workshop once located in Lilka’s same building. Together, the trio maps their own labyrinthine stories onto Lodz’s current landscape.

One Painting,
a Century of Jewish Life

The lure of family mysteries lies at the heart of “Still Life in Lodz”, an emotionally riveting documentary that journeys to the historically tumultuous city of Lodz, Poland. Here, a surprise reunion with a painting that hung in the same apartment for 75 world-altering years becomes a probing investigation into the power of memory, art, time and resilience.

What follows is a deeply personal detective story rich with twists and turns. But, equally, the film is an ode to the lost generations of Jewish Lodz and a look at how fragile—but also how incredibly necessary—our relationship with the past is for creating the future.

READ MORE

From Director and Cast

Bios

Born in Lodz, Lilka (Rozenbaum) Elbaum graduated from the Jewish Peretz School. In 1968, she, together with thousands of Polish Jews, was forced to leave Poland and settled in Canada. She now lives in the United States. The daughter of Holocaust survivors Maria Koper and Benjamin Rozenbaum, for many years, she has researched the history of Polish Jewry, focusing on the Holocaust. Through her work and out of sentiment for the city and country where she was born, she maintains close ties to Poland.

Roni (Halpern) Ben Ari, an internationally acclaimed photographer, and a multimedia artist was born and lives in Israel. Her exhibition Loom|Father|Requiem was shown at the Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz and the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. Her grandfather, Moshe Halpern, was a weaver of jacquard in pre-war Lodz and her father, Abraham Halpern, continued the family tradition in Israel. Roni sees herself as a weaver of memories from the looms’ DNA.

Paul Celler grew up in New Jersey, where he lived and worked for most of his life. The son of two Holocaust survivors – David Celler and Rosa Posalska – Paul finds meaning and grounding through kindness, his connection to his family and community, the study of history, and his spiritual practice. He places a high value on Tikkun Olam, a Jewish concept defined by acts of kindness performed to repair the world. The surest ways he knows how to do this are by playing music and spending time with his wife, his three children, and his three grandchildren.

The film ‘Still Life in Lodz” is: In memory of Rosa and David Celler, who miraculously survived the Holocaust, and the six million men, women, and children who didn’t. 

Slawomir Grünberg is an Emmy Awardwinning documentary producer, director and cameraman.  Born in Poland, he graduated from the Polish Film School in Lodz before emigrating to the United States in 1981.

He has since directed and produced over 45 documentary films spanning a broad range of topic and issues.  In addition to Still Life In Lodzthey include Karski & The Lords of Humanity, Castaways, The Peretzniks, Portraits of Emotion, Coming Out In Poland, The Legacy of Jedwabne and Saved By Deportation

Grünberg‘s acclaimed documentary School Prayer: A Community At War aired on PBS stations and garnered an Emmy Award. Among his awards, Grünberg has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and the Soros Justice Media Fellowship. His credits as director of photography include: Legacy, an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary feature in 2001, and Sister Rose’s Passion, which won Best Short Doc at Tribeca Film Festival in 2004 and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short in 2005.

An English edition of the book Sławomir GrünbergA Man with the Camera by Barbara Grünberg, will be published in April of 2021. 

Barbara Grünberg, LOGTV Films Polska Foundation, has a degree in Polish Studies and is also a culture manager and business coach. Originally from Tomaszow Mazowiecki, Poland, she worked as a teacher and Director of the Municipal Cultural Center. She is currently residing in Mexico.  She is involved in film production and distribution and the organization of film screenings around the world. She likes to spend her free time writing; among others, she is the author of the book “Slawomir Grünberg – “A Man with a Camera.”

Photographs of Lilka Elbaum, Roni Ben Ari and Slawomir Grünberg by Jerzy Maciej Koba. Photograph of Paul Celler by Henry Lewkowicz.

Film Poster

Grünberg has made a poignant documentary suffused with both tragedy and hope.

Sheldon Kirshner, The Times of Israel

Screenings

3/12/21 Manhattan, NY, New Plaza Cinema

Virtual Screening. Go to website for more details.

3/12/21 Los Angeles, CA, Laemmle Virtual Cinema

Virtual Screening. Check website for more details.

3/12/21 Sarasota, FL, Sarasota Film Society | Burns Court Cinemas

Virtual Screening. Check website for more details.

FULL LIST

Film Credits

Director/Co-Producer/Cinematography: Slawomir Grünberg

Written by: Lilka Elbaum, Slawomir Grünberg

Director of Animation: Marcin Podolec, Yellow Tapir Films

Editor: Cezary Kowalczuk

Original Score: Wojciech Lemański

Rephotography: Stefan Brajter

Producer: Barbara Grünberg, Logtv Films Polska

Co-Producers: EC1 Łódź – City of Culture, LOGTV, Ltd. and National Center for Jewish Film

Distributed by: LOGTV, LTD

Contact

For Publicity / Media Inquiries:

Isil Bagdadi-Sergio
CAVU Pictures / CAVU PR

Bookings:

Jessica Rosner

Outreach, community and cultural organizations: :

Eran Polishuk

Educational and all other inquiries:

Slawomir Grünberg