Righteous Muslims - New Doc Premieres at SFJFF
Peninsula - Palo Alto
BESA: THE PROMISE TO PREMIERE AT SAN FRANCISCO JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
New Documentary Based On The Book BESA: Muslims Who Saved Jews In WWII,
With Score By Philip Glass
JWM Productions, LLC is pleased to announce the world premiere of its feature documentary BESA: The Promise at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. The film will be shown July 29 in San Francisco; July 30 in Palo Alto; and August 6 in Piedmont. The SFJFF is the oldest and largest festival of its kind.
BESA: The Promise presents a powerful human drama compounded by a devastating twist. Set in modern-day Albania, it follows the quest of two men: one, a Muslim toy store owner who must fulfill a promise to return three Hebrew books to the Jewish family his father rescued during the Holocaust; the other, an American photographer who seeks to document the remarkable story of how ordinary Albanians stood up to the Nazis - before the last remaining witnesses are gone.
The Albanian concept of besa is a code of honor which, among other things, promises protection to those in need. During World War II, Albania opened its borders to Jewish refugees and kept thousands safe, even under brutal Nazi occupation. It was the only European country to have more Jews living within its borders at the end of the war than it had at the beginning. This tale of heroism was nearly lost in the half-century of communism that followed WWII. That it was a majority Muslim country makes this nearly unknown history of great interest today.
Selected for a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures through Film grant, the documentary was further honored by the interest of one of America's greatest living composers, Mr. Philip Glass, who crafted the powerful score. Portraits by renowned fine art photographer Norman H. Gershman are blended with animation and rare archival film. Poignant interviews with witnesses and extraordinary vérité were filmed in Albania, Bulgaria, Israel and the United States by Neil Barrett. Directed by Rachel Goslins and edited by Christine S. Romero, the film is the first feature documentary of JWM Productions, a Primetime Emmy Award-winning production company owned by Jason Williams and William Morgan.
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To view a trailer, please visit
. A downloadable presskit and publicity stills are available at
. Festival webpage at