Every Face Has a Name to screen today
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Magnus Gertten’s documentary is about survivors from the German WW2 concentration camps identified 70 years later
On 28 April 1945, hundreds of survivors from the German WW2 concentration camps arrived in Malmö, Sweden, and their first steps into freedom were filmed by Swedish news photographers.
Seventy years later, audiences will be able to watch the archive footage for the first time in Swedish director Magnus Gertten’s documentary Every Face Has a Name [+see also:
film profile], which has so far won the Ecumenical Prize at Göteborg and the international critics’ FIPRESCI Award at Thessaloniki.
“Through crowd-sourcing research, publishing passenger lists, photos and other information about 28 April 1945, we first managed to find ten people arriving that day who are in the film, and later identified another 50, whose stories will be published in an online project,” said producer-publicist Ove Rishøj Jensen, of Sweden’s Auto Images.
“For Every Face Has a Name, we have 4K-scanned the original archive material to achieve a till-now unprecedented quality of footage, which we could use for zoom and slow-motion sequences to further focus on details, helping us to relate the stories in the film,” he added about the Gertten-Lennart Ström production for the company.
Among the passengers identified were Bernard Kempler, who was nine years old when he came to Malmö – he had survived the war by being dressed as a girl. Elsie Ragusin from New York City was visiting her grandparents in Italy when she was accused of being a spy, put in a boxcar and sent to Auschwitz. Others were Jewish survivors, Norwegian resistance fighters, Polish mothers with newborn babies and British spies.
Every Face Has a Name has been co-produced by Nordvision (the five Nordic pubcasters: Denmark’s DR, Finland’s YLE, Iceland’s RUV, Norway’s NRK and Sweden’s SVT), as well as the Netherlands’ Ikon. Both Auto Images and Ikon have organised screenings in Copenhagen and Amsterdam on 28 April; SVT will also transmit the film on the date. German international sales agent Rise and Shine reported interest from more than 30 buyers at the recent MIPTV market in Cannes.