URI student film on Holocaust to be screened at upcoming events, added to state genocide education

URI Today

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 28, 2019 – A short film on the Holocaust by student filmmakers at the University of Rhode Island will be screened at some high-profile events in the coming weeks –and will become one of the education resources available as part of Rhode Island’s mandated genocide education for secondary school students.

“The Fence Between Us” will get its URI premiere Monday, April 1, at the Norman M. Fain Hillel Center on the Kingston campus. The film will also be shown during the 35th annual Statewide Interfaith Commemoration of the Holocaust on May 1 at Temple Emanu-El, in Providence.

The 13-minute film was produced in spring 2018 by 14 students in a film production class in the Harrington School of Communication and Media. The film features the first-person accounts of Holocaust survivors set against a narrative and intermingled with commentary from Rhode Island lawmakers, as well as Holocaust scholars from URI.

“I think one of the most gratifying things for me about the film and the experience the students had is what a unique film they’ve made,” said Rob Cohen, a URI adjunct professor and filmmaker who led the class. “I think the students probably don’t know – simply by dint of their youth – what a special film this is. It’s a hybrid of documentary and narrative and archival information. It’s very original, and it’s very gratifying for it be as successful as it’s been and seeing the response that people have given it.”

The URI premiere on April 1 – free and open to the public — will be in the Hillel Center, 6 Fraternity Circle, at 5 p.m. It will be followed by a panel discussion with two Holocaust survivors who appear in the film, retired URI Professor Albert Silverstein and long-time state resident Jorge Gardos. The panel will also include Robert Weisbord, a retired URI history professor and Holocaust scholar, and Paul Bueno DeMesquita, director of the URI Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies.

As part of the event, DeMesquita will be awarded the Avi Schaefer Seek Peace and Pursue It Award, bestowed by the Avi Schaefer Fund. DeMesquita, one of 10 awardees across North America, is being honored for his work as an outstanding campus change-maker who stands up for peace, justice and compassion on the college campus.

On May 1, Temple Emanu-El, 99 Taft Ave., Providence, will show the film as part of the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration, starting at 7 p.m. Gardos, a renowned violinist, will play during the event, and URI student filmmakers Kat Fortey and Griffin Alix will introduce the film. The event is free and open to the public.

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