Using Cinema to Counter Anti-Semitism
The alarming resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe and its slow but steady infiltration into North America united producer Cecelia Margulies, a daughter of Holocaust survivors, and director Danny Finkelman, a prominent member of the Orthodox Lubavitch Hassidic community. This dynamic duo assembled a crew of professional actors—Jews, Christians and Muslims alike—to create a spectacular video masterpiece.
Before it hits theaters, Opening Night will be marketed to film festivals with the imperative goal of preserving and expanding awareness of the Holocaust as the number of living survivors dwindles and Holocaust deniers proliferate.
From Broadway to the Holocaust Film
The leading actor of Opening Night is none other than internationally-acclaimed Broadway star and cantor Dudu Fisher who has been hailed on stages throughout the world for his famous Broadway hit performance as Jean Valjean in the musical Les Misérables. This is Fisher’s first time appearing in a big-screen production.
The Everlasting Pain of the Holocaust Survivor
Opening Night exhibits the heart-wrenching tale of Mark, a survivor of Auschwitz, who seeks to reconcile with his grown-up son and finds himself thrust against his will into a battle to confront a past he strived for years to forget. Set in 1971, the film flashes back to Poland of 1939, to a younger Mark whose dazzling career as a performer is abruptly terminated by the rise of Nazi terror, and whose loved ones are carted away to the crematoria. As the story proceeds, Mark finally triumphs over internal conflict and, buoyed by the devotion and support of his family, churns out the performance of a lifetime.
Produced by Cecelia Margulies and directed by Danny Finkelman of Sparks Next Productions, with cinematography by Mauricio Arenas, Opening Night is the riveting, touching account of an emotionally-tormented, aging Holocaust survivor finally making peace with a buried past in a concerted effort to build a brighter future.
Teaching the Legacy and Tragedy Through the Arts
Born in Stockholm to Holocaust survivor parents, Cecelia Margulies is a brilliant author and producer who wrote extensively of the issues closest to her heart including Israel, the Holocaust, and the individuals and stories that touched her life. Beyond the wide-screen, Margulies, also a gifted composer, expresses her ideals and sentiments through music, transmitting the importance of Holocaust remembrance through melody and song. Her first album, Harmony (1990), featured fifteen original songs in Hebrew and English.
Margulies co-chaired a Holocaust tribute event which first aired The Spirit of Survival, a musical production created in association with Rami Yedid to honor Holocaust survivors, all of whom, as Cecilia says, are true heroes. She also serves as Vice President of the Jossi Berger Holocaust Study Center in Jerusalem which promotes Holocaust studies for college students in Israel, and is a freelance writer for the Jewish Press and “Lest We Forget” Emunah Newsletter. More recently, she teamed up with music video director Danny Finkelman to release short films and music videos based on her original compositions. One of them, Rainbow in the Night, filmed in Krakow, Poland, features cantor Yanky Lemmer portraying the quintessential Holocaust Jew.
Lately, Cecelia teamed up with music video director Danny Finkelman and released short films and music videos based on her music. One of them was “Rainbow in the night” shot in Krakow, Poland which features cantor Yanky Lemmer as he portrays a survivor during the holocaust.
Her latest short film “Opening Night” Starring Dudu Fisher as a holocaust survivor in 1971 that is hunted by past memories and gets a unique opportunity to fix his relationship with his son.