Dialog Box

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Aged | Community | History | Social Justice
I'll Be Frank

1

$370 Raised of
20,000
Goal
Synopsis
"I will relate my memories as they come flooding back. One leads to another. If my narrative sounds disjointed from time to time, please forgive me." - Frank Lucas in his unpublished autobiography 'Some Memories Of My Life'.

Frank was a twelve-years-old Jewish boy living in Nazi Germany when he and his family fled for Australia. 80 years later, Frank’s grandson Aaron moves from Sydney to Berlin. Guided by the animated memoirs of his Opa, Aaron sets out on a path to discover the life Frank once lived, beginning a new chapter on his own German heritage.

At the age of 70, Frank Lucas wrote his memoir entitled, ‘Some Memories Of My Life’. He musters up memories and details from his childhood - from growing up in Berlin in the 1930’s as a young Jewish boy until his family’s escape to Sydney, Australia in 1939. Pinned against the backdrop of Nazi Germany and Jewish persecution, Frank recounts fond memories of playing in fields making daisy chains in the graveyard near his grandparents house in Soest, of protecting his younger sister and of looking up to his funny Uncle Ernst - who was later killed along with his wife and son at Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp. These memories come alive in animated form, in fragments and mostly incomplete as Frank heaves up memory from many years ago. 

Fast forward 80 years - Frank has passed away and his grandson Aaron has moved from Sydney to Berlin, now a completely different city to the one that Frank describes. From the houses where Frank lived to the synagogue where he sang in the choir, the documentary will take Aaron all over Germany to discover the places from Frank’s stories. In piecing together his Opa’s stories, Aaron learns about parts of his personal history that he previously didn’t know existed. Aaron’s journey is to end with him being approved for ‘renaturalization’, making him a German citizen once again.  

'I’ll Be Frank’ is about the passing down of stories through generations. It’s about younger generations remembering the hardships of older generations. It’s about self-discovery and perhaps a connection to something greater.

“My children and grandchildren and their children’s children will have to fill in more of the story.” - Frank Lucas 

Philanthropy

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

Frank writes:
"Hitler wanted to annihilate the Jews and nearly succeeded. Let us by our lives repudiate this ambition and help to make up for the lost generations. Don’t abandon your Judaism. Show the people around us that the Hitlers of this world haven’t got a chance."

2019 marks exactly 80 years since Frank and his family fled Berlin for Australian shores. It marks 80 years since Germany invaded Poland and began World War 2. In 2019, Jewish people from all over the world are immigrating to Berlin - more than any other city in Europe. A city that was once the heart of darkness for the global jewish community is now being seen in a new light. ‘I’ll Be Frank’ is one inter generational story that represents many more similar experiences of return and reclamation. In telling this story, we hope to play our part in preserving the memories and stories of the European Jews that were so nearly eradicated 80 years ago.

Frank finishes his autobiography with:
“The Jewish people will always survive as they have done for over 5000 years. My children and grandchildren and their children’s children will have to fill in more of the story."
Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

From The Director (Aaron Lucas):

It would be a Friday night and the whole family would be there for Shabbat dinner. I would sit amongst a sea of my many cousins, all watching on with our mouths agape. For the first time in the evening, we were silent, enamored, listening to Frank. He would have the rooms total attention. Frank was a beautiful story teller. I want to share his stories with as many people as possible so that they too can feel that they were in that room.

All of Frank’s stories are to be taken verbatim from his autobiography so that they remain exactly as he remembered them. They will then be animated by his other grandson, Jimmy Buckle, bringing his words and his stories to life. At the same time, Aaron’s discovery of Berlin in 2019 will be shot beautifully by the cinematographers at Berlin based production company SKIN with vintage lenses to give it a nostalgic quality.

Frank’s story is vital. It is by sharing human stories of such an inconceivably inhumane period of history that we are able to understand it more and, in turn, prevent it ever happening again.

“Fiction cannot recite the numbing numbers, but it can be that witness, that memory. A storyteller can attempt to tell the human tale, can make a galaxy out of the chaos, can point to the fact that some people survived even as most people died. And can remind us that the swallows still sing around the smokestacks.” — Jane Yolen, Author of The Devil's Arithmetic.
Strategy

What is your education and outreach strategy?

The films duration and content makes it an ideal short for film festivals. We intend to submit the film to festivals in Australia, Germany and throughout Europe and the U.S through which we hope to reach as large and broad an audience as possible.

We believe this project to also be a useful resource for school students and Jewish and non-jewish organisations in Australia and Europe, some of which we have already received interest from. These include Jewish Museums, Berlin Jewish Community Organisations, Sydney Jewish Community and Synagogues.
Director
Aaron Lucas
Producer
Eloise Walker
Total budget
$100,000
Length
15 Minutes
Stage
Development
bit.ly/2RqnSLR