I produced the special feature A World Imagined: The Music of The Last Flight of Petr Ginz for the DVD release of The Last Flight of Petr Ginz. The documentary film tells the story of an imaginative and talented young artist, a Czech boy who was taken from his home and murdered in a concentration camp during the Holocaust.
By 14 he had written five novels and penned a diary about the Nazi occupation of Prague. By 16 he had produced more than 170 drawings and paintings, edited an underground magazine in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, written numerous short stories and had walked to the gas chamber at Auschwitz. But this is a story of celebration as well as tragedy, a testament to how a boy’s wonder and creative expression represent the best of what makes us human.
I traveled to New York with my professor, the film’s editor and director of photography, Cynthia Hill to shoot the segment. We met composer, John Califra to interview him about his work on the original symphonic score. John, an Emmy nominated composer, discussed how Petr’s life and work inspired the music for the film. The composer was faced with the challenge of creating a consistent score that could communicate both the whimsy of the imagination of this young artist and capture the horror of Holocaust. It was great to hear John talk about his process and I’m certainly looking forward to the day when I may be able to work with a composer of his caliber.
Under the direction of Cynthia Hill, I edited the piece using John’s interview, the original score, and scenes from the film into a 10 minute special feature.
Petr’s story is a remarkable one and his imaginative spirit and creative work allowed for a very unique approach to a Holocaust documentary film, using contemporary and historical footage, art, animation and music to tell the story. It’s special project and I’m immensely proud to be involved with its release, even in the limited capacity of having created this short “making-of” for the extras.
The DVD can be purchased online from the film’s distributor, First Run Features.