Documentary Australia Foundation

Next submission deadline is
16 May 2014

Fay's Journey

Fay's Journey
Director /
judy menczel and paul green, judy menczel paul green fay sussman
2013 February
AUD $400000
AUD $400000
55 minutes
Arts, Community, Education, History, Social Justice

About the film

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, 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 has been invited with the band to sing in Poland at a number of Festivals. She is also going to sing in some of the small former Jewish towns, known as shetls where all evidence that Jews existed has been wiped from their towns, till now, when a brave group of young Polish people have tried to re-establish the Jewish Heritage of the 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 is about to open in 2013 on the site of the famous Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Fay has also been invited to be one of the first singers to perform there.

‘Fay’s Jouney’ 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 and is now being re-established with artists such as Fay and the young poles who are thirsty to reconnect to this rich culture that has been absent from Poland since the war.

Funding amount Sought

AUD $400000

Total Project Budget

AUD $400000

Length of Production

55 minutes

Stage of Production


How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

The project meets the aims of a philanthropic foundation by having as it’s 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 ‘Fay’s Journey’ 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?

We feel that by making the film ‘Fay’s Journey’ we will be opening a dialogue about how two communities Jewish and Polish can recognize the historical rift that exists with the two communities and attempt through shared love of music and heritage 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 ‘Fay’s Journey’, we will attempt to make the serious issues being addressed , easier to digest .

What is your education and outreach strategy

Fay’s Journey 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.

Who are the filmmakers responsible for the project?

Producer/Director Judy Menczel has been involved in the Film and TV industry for over 30 years as a Producer and Director for organizations such as ABC TV, SBS and Ch 9. She has made numerous Documentaries such as Angst, When Friends were Enemies, Old Songs in a New Land and in collaboration , The Book that Shook the World , The Hidden History of Homosexual Australia and You Might as well Live.

Paul Green, Cinematographer/Co Director is a Film maker and freelance Photographer specializing in the field of Art and Performance.He received the Diamond Award for his project, ‘Beyond Sacred’ and was nominated for the Blake Prize for religious Art and Travelling Exhibition.

Fay Sussman, Co-producer is the principal vocalist with her band ‘The Klezmer Divas’ She has organized numerous interfaith Events and concerts and she passionately believes that music is a powerful medium for healing. Her specific focus has been attempting to repair the historical rift of the Jewish and Polish Communities especially since the Holocaust.