In 1942, with little to rely on except tremendous courage, a strong bond of love, faith and personal ingenuity, the Stermer family was forced to hide from the Nazis in cold, damp underground caves in the Ukraine where they lived for over 500 days in near total darkness. Seventy years later, through a combination of dramatic reenactments and interviews with the survivors, veteran documentary filmmaker and television producer Janet Tobias has brought to life their harrowing experience in her fascinating documentary, No Place on Earth, opening in theaters on April 5th.
In an exclusive interview, Tobias talked to me about what convinced her to make this inspiring film about Holocaust survival, the financing and logistical challenges she encountered, how her prior experience informed her approach, what her actors and creative team contributed, what impressed her most about the surviving family members, and why she felt a sense of obligation to preserve living history and pass their stories forward for future generations. She also revealed her upcoming projects: a documentary on the World Memory Championships, a drama about oil and greed in 1920’s Oklahoma, and a 3D IMAX film on human eco-systems. Hit the jump to read the interview.