Fay Sussman has had a dream, most of her adult life that the relationship between the people of the nation where she was born Poland and those of her Jewish background can be repaired. They share a history that was conflicted in one of the world’s greatest tragedies, the Holocaust.
As the principal singer of the Klezmer Divas band she was invited with the band to sing in Poland at a number of Festivals. She also sang in some of the small former Jewish towns, known as shetls, where all evidence that Jews existed had been wiped , till now, when a brave group of young Polish people have tried to re-establish the Jewish Heritage of those towns, against opposition and sometimes death threats in the face of rising antisemitism in Europe. The greatest symbol of this movement and reconciliation is the new History of Polish Jews Museum, which opened in 2013 on the site of the famous Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Fay was one of the first singers to perform there.
‘Pockets of Hope’ is a film about music and healing - facing up to a difficult past and creating a hopeful future. The film will deal with the hostilities of the past and if it is possible to move forward through music. Klezmer and Yiddish music that was part of the rich fabric of Jewish Culture in Poland before the war is now being re-established with artists such as Fay and young Poles who are thirsty to reconnect to this rich culture that has been absent from Poland since the war.
How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?
The project meets the aims of a philanthropic foundation by having as its main concerns the making of a documentary that is inspirational, projects positive themes and healing between sometimes hostile cultures. The film will address culture, global concerns and ethics. The documentary ‘Pockets of Hope’ will encourage harmony between former enemies and show a peaceful way forward through music. It will have the power to influence through positive change and new relationships being formed .
What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?
Aims & Objectives
We feel that by making the film ‘Pockets of Hope’ we will be opening a dialogue about how two communities, Jewish and Polish, can recognise the historical rift that exists between them and attempt - through shared love of music and heritage - to build a new positive future for the 3rd and 4th generations in both communities. Australia has the largest population of Holocaust Survivors in the world after Israel. This impact will be measured by exposure and interest by the media, sales to TV, attendances at screenings and new relationships being built by the two communities. We see the film helping in the fight against the rising tide of antisemitism that is prevalent in Europe today and spreading worldwide. We also know that the popularity of Klezmer music and Yiddish language and culture are growing areas of interest in the wider community and through ‘Pockets of Hope’ we will attempt to make the serious issues being addressed easier to digest .
What is your education and outreach strategy?
'Pockets of Hope' could be sold to TV in Australia and Internationally. It could be shown in Film Festivals and larger community groups and could be used in Secondary and Tertiary Education. Our strategy is for it to be marketed wherever possible, under the Arts area, History or Socio Political areas.