As an elderly Jewish lady, Ruth, observes an act of modern day anti-Semitism, she then goes back in her mind to her own childhood in Germany, and the events that prompted her parents to send her on the kindertransport to England to escape Nazi Germany.
The fluorescent yellow swastika sprayed on the road of the North London street outside her home, is only too reminiscent of the black and red swastika flag that flew opposite their house when she grew up. The argument that her son and granddaughter have over whether her family should proudly display their menorah – the symbol of their Jewish identity – is also only too redolent of the debate that has gone on for generations.
The photo on the left is from 1938, the one on the right is from 2018. 80 years on and anti-semitism targeted at the Jewish community is still strong.
To a woman like Ruth, who escaped Germany, carrying the family menorah with her, but lost her parents to the death camps, the presence of the past is almost tangible. Emotions that she was able to express in her musical career. For, as she explains to her great granddaughter, Abigail, as she places the menorah on the windowsill, the menorah is lit not just to proclaim their faith, but to stand against the darkness of the world’s evil, and to let those we love know they are never forgotten.
Persistence of The Past as a film intends to create multiple tangible links between the past and present. We are aiming to shoot this project on both Super 16mm for the past scenes and Digital for the present. Both of these periods will be filmed in black and white to represent the distinct similarities the two time frames pose in regards to the anti-semitism that follows our main character Ruth.
Ultimately, this films aims to be a case of ‘substance’ before ‘style’. It aims to deal with mature content in a mature manner, and so in regards to this, several elements in the film are based on factual events that have either been told to me, I have personally experienced, or I have researched to add a sense of realism to this world.
The film aims to explore the question, whether or not it is easier to hide your religion to evade persecution, or stand up for what you believe in no matter the cost. Ruth becomes central to this question. Her experiences of having had lived through the holocaust and having her parents sent to the death camps, allows her to educate her family to the importance of not only lighting the menorah to practice their faith, but to let those they’ve lost know, they are never forgotten.
Refugee from Germany arrives in Harwich, England, December 2, 1938.
In Kiel, Germany, in 1932, Rabbi Dr. Akiva Posner and his wife, Rachel, lit the menorah and placed it on their window sill. She took a photograph of the menorah and the swastika. On its back, she scribbled in German, “ ‘Death to Judah’ so the flag says, ‘Judah will live forever,’ so the light answers.” Through visual effects we aim to replicate this historic photo in the film, and honour the defiance the Posner family displayed.
Persistence of the Past is a film that highlights the importance of memory, not just as reminiscence, but to ensure that the evil behaviour and acts of previous generations can never become established again in a civilised society or taken for granted in the modern world. The past is always with us and evil is, sadly, never destroyed but barely slumbers, waiting for the strong to falter. That light can never be allowed to be extinguished.
The money donated will help us to cast the best actors to bring the characters to life and enable our departments to achieve the historic and contemporary look for Persistence of The Past. Additionally, it will be used to meet the cost's of shooting on a ARRI Alexa Classic, an industry standard camera, and on Super 16mm film.
Furthermore, it will be used to make the most out of our production design, costume, makeup, and distribution. All in all, your donations will make this film into reality.
Joseph our director, and voice of the crowdfunding video, is a Royal Television Society Bursary Alumni, a title given to only 20 people each academic year across UK Universities. He has worked for Ridley Scott Associate Films and was personally mentored by David Evans, a director known for Downton Abbey (2012-2015), Preacher (2017) and Jamestown (2018). He has built up 5 years of experience both on set from high end production dramas, and off set working for in house production companies both domestically and internationally.
Ben is a BFI Film Academy Alumni, and has spent time working on a number of short and feature films in the last few years. He hopes that this experience will be useful in helping to bring to life the film’s incredible vision.
Passionate about visually communicating the important message of the script for Persistence of the past, Marti is our Director of Photography. Experienced camera assistant for high-end music videos, commercials and TV dramas such as Poldark & The Royals, Marti is competent with both digital and film formats including 35 & 16mm. He excels on his determination, confidence and ambition to create the most stunning visuals to accompany and enhance the story of every film he’s a part of. Drawn to the script by it’s historical accuracies and harrowing social reflection in the modern day. Marti is determined to achieve the film's ambitious vision and to provide it with the thematic basis it deserves, to display a story which needs to be told.
Throughout her time at university Imogen has always been drawn to editing. Whether its foreign films, animation, documentaries, or VFX films, she is up for the challenge. Each of these experiences have developed her creative technical and story telling ability. Imogen will draw on her broad range of experiences and technical skill when cutting Persistence of The Past.
Ili Newson is a Hungary and UK based Freelancing Makeup Artist and Beautician. She has had a variety of experiences in the past such as working at Filmefex Studios, where she was traineeing as a prosthetic assistant on Emerald City. After her first year at university she had the opportunity to do work experience on Cinemax American- British Television Drama, Strike Back, Series 6 and French Film, Budapest released in 2018. During her second year at university she went onto working on BBC and Netflix TV series The Last Kingdom Season 3. This opportunity lead her to working with P.A.M. special effects makeup shop at IMATS, UMAE and Birmingham Prosthetic Event. She has also attended a wig making course at Pinewood Studios in the summer of 2018.
She has since worked on Four Weddings and Funeral mini television series and Sas Red Notice. Ili is confident in assisting the story of Persistence of the Past through the Art of Makeup. Her previous roles as HOD as well as Makeup Designer gives her confidence to fulfil the requirements of this project.
Jemma Reardon is a third year costume student and the Costume Designer for the film. She has previously worked on multiple contemporary designs and projects, as well as designing for pantomimes, period pieces and theatre. She recently attended a work placement for the BBC show Shakespeare and Hathaway where she attained new knowledge to help her design process.
Terry is a former medical research scientist who came into writing via comedy scriptwriting for the BBC and Channel 4. A feature film that Terry was a writer on in 2015 (‘Chasing Robert Barker’) won the Best Action Feature Award at the UK National Film Award. Since then he has written extensively, scripts and books, both drama and comedy, for live action, animation and games and is #1 Kindle Bestselling Comedy Fantasy writer published by Harper Collins
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On behalf of the whole Persistence of The Past crew, we sincerely thank you for your interest in our film. Please give our Facebook a like, so that we can share our journey through production with you and so you can find out who the other crew members are going to be!