MPG heads overseas on doc

0

“Forgiving Dr. Mengele” producer Bob Hercules

Bob Hercules and Media Process Group head to Rumania and Israel in May as they enter the last leg of production for their $300,000 documentary, “Forgiving Dr. Mengele.”

Hercules plans to wrap shooting this summer and complete post by this time next year with an intended PBS broadcast.

“Forgiving” tells the story of Eva Mozes Kor, a Holocaust survivor who, along with her sister Miriam, was among dozens of twin children subjected to Josef Mengele’s medical experiments at Auschwitz.

Kor is best known for her controversial choice to publicly forgive Mengele and all Nazi perpetrators at a public ceremony in 1995 commemorating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

Co-producer Cheri Pugh conceived the project when she came across a Russian film of the Auschwitz liberation in the WPA archive where she worked, and was drawn to the scene of rows of twins marching out of the camp gates. Pugh tracked down Kor, who led that line of twins, at the CANDLES Museum that Kor now runs in Terre Haute, Indiana, the only Holocaust museum in the state. (www.candles-museum.com)

MPG has already shot in Terre Haute, London and Berlin, as well as Auschwitz, where they filmed Kor at the site where she and Miriam were separated from their family, who were killed in the camp.

“That was the most emotional thing I’ve ever filmed,” said Hercules, who is producing the film with Pugh.

Kor came to her point of forgiveness through Hans Munch, a former Nazi doctor whom she met after Miriam’s death, due to complications from the Auschwitz experiments, in 1993.

“Munch told her that he himself had nightmares about Auschwitz, which was an amazing revelation for her,” Hercules said. “It allowed her to begin moving forward with her life through a process of forgiveness. Since then she has been much more at peace with herself. But it’s something a lot of people can’t understand, and that controversy is part of the film.”

“Forgiving Dr. Mengele” DP Keith Walker

The producers have raised $100,000 of the $300,000 budget through MPG’s nonprofit arm Media Process Educational Films. Principal funders are the Fund for Jewish Documentary Filmmaking of the Foundation for Jewish Culture (a major beneficiary of the Stephen Spielberg Foundation) and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kor, Pugh and Hercules will attend a screening of clips from the work-in-progress “Forgiving Dr. Mengele” as part of the Human Rights Film Festival at the Columbia College Dance Center, 1306 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Tuesday, May 6 at 6 p.m.

The field crew for the BetaSP doc are producers Hercules and Pugh, DP Keith Walker, and sound recordist Alan Chow. Editor and composer have not yet been hired for the doc.

MPG’s recently taped Oprah interviewing Celine Dion in Las Vegas and documented the singer’s performance there. The Las Vegas footage is part of MPG’s five-year relationship with the “Oprah” show.

Media Process Group can be reached at 312.832.1300, 770 North Halsted Street, Chicago, or www.mediaprocess.com. — Ed M. Koziarski, edk@homesickblues.com

BackTalk