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Director's Statement

“The House of Falek” is a deeply personal film, part elegy and part eulogy, weaving together family stories with a cinematic look at my ancestral home, now abandoned, in rural southern Poland. The film is a journey back in time, attempting to reconstruct the world of my great-grandparents – Chaim and Golda Falek -- focusing not just on how they died, but how they lived.
 
This film is about repair, reconciliation, even renewal at this fraught moment in history, where our world is engulfed in conflict: in Congo, in Sudan, and in Gaza, places that I have covered as a journalist. Leaving behind journalism, I approach The House of Falek cinematically, through the lens of personal history, tying together the stories of my ancestors and tangible sense of place, where my family once belonged, where I retain deep ties, to plant seeds of remembrance for generations to come.
 
This film represents my lifelong quest to understand the weight of genocide, a search that inspired me through years as a broadcast journalist. My grandfather never discussed those he left behind in Poland, so I had to seek the truth from other relatives, principally Uncle Benno, my grandfather’s brother. The stories Benno told me – that our relatives had been murdered in the forest outside the karczma – helped guide my decision to seek out stories of war and peace around the globe. I never forgot the experience as a young reporter of standing in the forest where my great-grandmother was murdered by the Nazis. But my journalistic training also convinced me to keep digging – to question all that I had heard. Halfway through production, I discovered a letter from my Aunt Pepa, my grandfather’s sister, that documented the actual story of our family’s journey through the Shoah, and ultimately led me to Bełżec, the Nazi death camp.


What I have been seeking, as a filmmaker, is a way to eulogize relatives I never knew, to reassemble the links broken by time and by the Holocaust. This film is not hagiography or idealization, but a homage to life before the Shoah.
 

 

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