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How we found our own Edek -
The making of the film

'Edek' the film is a project that has followed an unusual path to the screen. It's been an experiment in both storytelling and filmmaking, an attempt to push beyond the usual boundaries and genres of communication, embracing and utilising new technology, with the intention of finding a new and contemporary way of teaching the message of the Holocaust through emotion, empathy and ... of course... Hip Hop!

The genesis of the film began when we were making a promotional video for The Forever Project. That video approached the subject of Holocaust Survivors in a very different way to those that have previously been explored. For once, a truly positive and uplifting message was brought to the audience in a piece that was modern, creative and exciting. The video itself featured four Survivors, each with a strong connection to the National Holocaust Museum. One of them was Janine. And although the nature of that video was not about specific personal stories from the past, we did take the opportunity to capture some interviews.

A while later, reading through the transcripts of those interviews, a story that Janine told literally leapt off the page. It was the story of Edek. Immediately, it resonated. In a way, it encapsulated the entire raison d'etre of the National Holocaust Museum: teaching about the capacity of human beings to do things beyond our own estimation.

Because we are all capable of far more than we imagine. We each have the potential to do untold evil. And also to perform acts of untold kindness. Similarly, we have inner resources that are often untapped - the ability to survive unspeakable horrors, for example. And, as in Janine's case, the power to convert those experiences into an incredible 'positive energy' that can help transform the lives of those who meet and hear her speak, so that they recognise and harness the good within themselves and act in kindness to others.

In a way, that is the 'inner Edek' that exists within each of us.

In six minutes, we felt that we were able to translate the experience of Janine and the lessons of Edek into an audio-visual piece that might take Janine to the places even she couldn't reach.

 

“We wanted to create something with impact. Something that challenges an audience, perhaps disturbs them, but hopefully leaves them in a better place than before we met them. And do it to a beat.”

Malcom Green


 
 
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Why Hip-hop?

When making this film, it was crucial to us that it resonated with an audience who are young, content-savvy, digital and largely disinterested in some of the sound and visual cues that are normally associated with the Holocaust. It was important to us that we both reach them in the visual and sonic vocabulary of the content they watch and listen to on channels like YouTube.

This is an audience who are into Rap and Hip-hop and music. Who enjoy visual surprises and eclecticism. Who appreciate creativity and modern craft.

Or who simply feel the beat...

By listening to Janine's words, examining the rhythms and musicality of her voice we were able to create a modern song structure from her dialogue. Then, by integrating the rapping of Kapoo and embellishing that with the vocal singing talents of young Issy Burnham, we took an organic non-linear journey into the making of our film, shooting, editing, composing and recording in parallel as part of a creative voyage of discovery. So, the music informed the edit and vice-versa. This is a very new way of making a film.

But no matter where we went, what new recording or photographic tech we utilised, or how far we pushed ourselves exceptionally, we obsessively made sure that we kept the words of Janine, her story of the past and her message for the future, very much central to the film.

For us, we discovered that we too had hitherto untapped resources of creativity, collectively producing something beyond our original intention. But more important, we have seen the effect and impact of the film on young audiences in schools, who fall in love with Janine and leave richer for her words: "We are all human beings".

 
 


TEAM

Written and Directed by Malcolm Green | Edited by Tom Baker | Music composed and produced by Kevin Pollard | Sound recordist :  Timo Salia | Final mix : Adrian Hall | Colorist : Chris Bell at Creep | Cinematography : Malcolm Green and Tom Baker | Producer : Sara Huxley | Executive Producer : Marc Cave