I Am Here

  • South Africa
  • Documentary
  • 2021
  • 73 min.

I Am Here

  • South Africa
  • Documentary
  • 2021
  • 73 min.

Synopsis

On her 98th birthday, a spirited South African Holocaust survivor reveals to her family her astonishing life journey. Born in 1921 Warsaw, Ella Blumenthal grew up with a large family and a love for swimming, but WWII changed everything. From the Warsaw Ghetto uprising to Bergen-Belsen, Ella and her niece, Roma, bore witness to the unthinkable, persevering only with hope and faith. Still active, Ella lives in Cape Town, greeting each day with optimism and even compassion for those who would deny her past. Ella’s memories, divulged for the first time, are illustrated through evocative hand-drawn animation. Against rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism worldwide, this beautifully rendered Holocaust memoir ensures that a new generation will never forget.

Credits

Director(s)

Jordy Sank

Producer(s)

Gabriella Blumberg

Cinematography

Rick Joaquim

Editor

Esther Badenhorst

Original Music

Edward George King

Cast

Ella Blumenthal

Animator

Greg Bakker

  • WINNER

    Audience Choice Award
    Durban International Film Festival
    2021
  • WINNER

    Best SA Documentary (Oscar Qualifying)
    Durban International Film Festival
    2021
  • WINNER

    Best Director
    Jozi Film Festival
    2021
  • WINNER

    Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary
    Atlanta Jewish Film Festival
    2021
  • WINNER

    Best Director
    Africa Human Rights Film Festival
    2021
  • WINNER

    Audience Choice Award
    Africa Human Rights Film Festival
    2021
  • WINNER

    Audience Choice Award
    Jewish International Film Festival Australia
    2022

Festival Highlights

  • 91% -- A life-affirming documentary that celebrates the remarkable life of Ella Blumenthal, whose magnetic personality and spirit has remained undimmed despite living through one of history's darkest chapters... Now more than ever, her story teaches us the importance of compassion and tolerance.
    Rotten Tomatoes
  • Familiar, although undeniably stirring: a portrait of a dynamic soul whose life continues to defy the horrors she experienced.
    Lisa Kennedy, New York Times
  • It is wonderful that director Jordy Sank was able to celebrate the joy his protagonist experiences every day of her life, which helps balance the sorrow of her memories.
    Hannah Brown, Jerusalem Post
  • Vital, engrossing and profoundly illuminating.
    Avi Offer, NYC Movie Guru

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