NO PLACE ON EARTH
Documentary of Ukrainian Jews’ survival story during WWII
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NO PLACE ON EARTH brings to light the untold story of thirty-eight Ukrainian Jews who survived World War II by living in caves for eighteen months, the longest-recorded sustained underground survival. Built upon interviews with former cave inhabitants, as well as Chris Nicola, the caving enthusiast who unearthed the story, NO PLACE ON EARTH is an extraordinary testament to ingenuity, willpower and endurance against all odds.
NO PLACE ON EARTH is a documentary that plays like a feature film, bringing to life fear, bravery and youthful adventure. Artfully directed re-enactments help visualize the incomparable existences above and below ground; these scenes are narrated by actors whose script comes from Esther Stermer’s memoir We Fight to Survive and writing of other survivors. The film is further narrated by four real-life survivors who recount the harrowing twists and turns of evading capture; and describe how they were able to inhabit this harsh underground environment, build an extraordinary secret exit, and survive when discovered and buried alive by their former neighbors. At the war’s end, they emerged alive, some children having lived underground so long they were blinded by the sun they forgot existed. Their story is remarkable in any era — an extraordinary testament to human ingenuity and will power, and the strength of community and family. But had it not been for Chris Nicola’s persistence, the cave survivors, who emigrated to Canada and the US after the war, might have only told their remarkable adventures as family bedtime stories. Instead, we went with them as they journeyed back to Ukraine, 66 years later, to show their story to us and their grandchildren in a way that’s as heart-stopping as it is unforgettable. Inspired by a National Geographic article by caver Chris Nicola and writer Peter Lane Taylor, director Janet Tobias set out to turn the Stermer family’s unbelievable story of survival into a feature length documentary.
“GRIPPING AND MOVING. A substantial contribution to Holocaust cinema.” – John Anderson, Variety
“ASTONISHING. Let those who think they’ve heard every inspiring tale of Holocaust survival SEE THIS FILM.” – John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter
“AN EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF SURVIVAL” – Sheldon Kirshner, Canadian Jewish News
Magnolia Pictures present NO PLACE ON EARTH, opening April 12, 2013 at Landmark’s Embarcadero Center Cinema in San Francisco, and Rialto Cinemas Elmwood in Berkeley.The film’s running time is 84 minutes; it is rated PG13.