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Alexander Rodnyansky’s AR Content – in partnership with Kevin Macdonald, an Oscar winner with “One Day in September,” and Rosanne Korenberg – has tapped Academy Award nominated and Emmy winning director Rory Kennedy, best known for “Last Days in Vietnam,” to direct its untitled documentary centering on a little-known refugee crisis immediately preceding World War II.
The film will center on the voyage of transatlantic liner St. Louis in 1939 – carrying Jews fleeing Nazi Germany – which was turned away by Cuba and the U.S., and was forced to return to Europe; 254 of its passengers died in the Holocaust. The film will compare that episode with today’s global refugee crisis. Alongside Rodnyansky – who was Oscar nominated for “Leviathan” and “Loveless” – Macdonald and Korenberg, Kennedy and the documentary’s writer Mark Bailey – a WGA nominee for “Last Days in Vietnam,” and a three-time Emmy nominee – will produce the film under their production banner Moxie Films.
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Rodnyansky first announced the doc late last year when AR Content partnered with producers Macdonald and Korenberg to help bring the story to light. It was, in part, the international community’s unwillingness to accept Jewish refugees that emboldened Hitler to enact his “Final Solution.” After the atrocities of the Holocaust, several measures were put in place to protect those escaping persecution. “Despite this, history seems to be repeating itself, with current vulnerable groups fleeing war-torn regions only to find a hostile, indifferent, and xenophobic Western world,” according to a statement from AR Content.
Kennedy’s documentary feature “Last Days in Vietnam” (2014), which told the story of the Vietnam War’s final weeks, was Oscar nominated for best documentary feature. Kennedy won the Emmy for Outstanding Nonfiction Special with her film “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib” (2007), which chronicled the American abuse of detainees in Abu Ghraib...
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