Česká centra, Czech Centres

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Mar 26, 2015 7:00 PM

Bravery in Film

An evening of film and informal discussion with film enthusiasts and scholars.

Courageous Warriors – Women Documentary Filmmakers

March marks the month of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. In a salute to the extraordinary women who shaped the face of film in the Czech Republic and America, film scholar and lecturer Mary E. Fetzko will present a short talk: Courageous Warriors – Women Documentary Filmmakers. The talk will briefly introduce Czech documentary directors Helena Třeštíková, Olga Sommerová, and Věra Chytilová, as well as compare their American counterparts who helped pave the way for women in the documentary realm in the United States. Celebrate the monumental filmmakers and instrumental documentaries that are pushing boundaries on how women are perceived in today’s world and giving a voice and perspective to women in film.  
In the Shadow of Memory     
The talk will be followed by the screening of the powerful documentary film In the Shadow, based on the life-story of Jerri Zbiral, whose mother and sister survived the Nazi destruction of the Czech village of Lidice during World War II. The stories had a profound impact on Jerri’s life.

This film is an exploration of the ongoing effects of tragedy on future generations. The village of Lidice was destroyed in 1942, in retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, a mastermind of Nazi genocide. All the men were murdered, all women were sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp, all but 9 of 91 children were gassed. After the war, the women who survived the concentration camp, including Jerri Zbiral's mother and half-sister, returned to Lidice. Filmed in the Czech Republic and Evanston, Illinois, In the Shadow of Memory consists of interviews with survivors, German visitors to the 50th anniversary memorial, and Jerri’s family, including her children.
Dir.: Jacky Comforty, 2007, 52 min.

Max Zbiral, son of Jerry Zbiral
Emma Zbiral, daughter of Jerry Zbiral and filmmaker
Mary E. Fetzko, film lecturer
Barbara Karpetova, Director of the Czech Center

Jerri Zbiral (née Jaroslava Irena Zbiralova) was born in Prague. Her mother Anna and half-sister Eva were survivors of the Lidice tragedy in 1942. Jerri’s mother spent the last three years of WWII in Ravensbrueck concentration camp, while Jerri’s sister Eva was sent to live with an aunt in Germany as part of the Nazi Lebensborn program. Jerri’s mother walked back to Czechoslovakia after the war and was reunited with Jerri’s sister. Following the communist coup in 1948, the family left Czechoslovakia. In 1982, Jerri started to record the stories of her relatives and others who had survived the Lidice massacre. Ten years later, she and her husband Alan Teller, created the film In the Shadow of Memory about the tragedy and her own relationship to the event. 

 Mary E. Fetzko received her M.F.A. in Film and Electronic Media from American University in Washington, DC (2004) and also studied fiction filmmaking and directing at the Film and Television Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague, Czech Republic (1998). Her thesis documentary film Beyond Borders delves into the life a Salvadoran immigrant trying to achieve the American dream. Currently, she works at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, DC, and has helped cultivate film series with the Avalon Theatre, the National Gallery of Art, AFI Silver Theatre, universities, and others.  She has a great passion for culture and cross-cultural understanding.

Photo courtesy of Jerri Zbiral



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Mar 26, 2015 7:00 PM


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