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Besa: The Promise Selected for 2013 Washington Jewish Film Festival

Area’s First Public Screenings for DC-Produced Documentary

DP Neil Barrett, Director Rachel Goslins, Norman Gershman in Tirana, Albania
DP Neil Barrett, Director Rachel Goslins, Norman Gershman in Tirana, Albania
Dec. 18, 2012 - PRLog -- For the first time since completion, Washington-area movie lovers will get their chance to see BESA: The Promise. Supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities Bridging Cultures through Film grant and featuring an original score by Philip Glass, the internationally acclaimed documentary will be presented at the Washington Jewish Film Festival on January 6 and 8, 2013.

BESA: The Promise follows the modern-day quests of two men: American photographer Norman H. Gershmann and Albanian toyshop owner Rexhep Hoxha. Their parallel journeys reveal the nearly unknown WWII story of thousands of Jews rescued in Albania, a majority Muslim country.  The Albanian moral code of besa requires a promise of protection to anyone requesting it, and carries across generations.  Rexhep Hoxha's father sheltered a Jewish family who left behind three precious Hebrew books.  Kept hidden during the nearly half-century of repressive communism following the war, Rexhep must now fulfill his father's besa and return the books - if he can find the family.  When Rexhep meets Norman, an unexpected drama is set in motion, uniting fathers and sons, Muslims and Jews.

BESA: The Promise was produced by JWM Productions, and the Washington, DC-area filmmakers will be on hand for Q&A after the screenings.  On January 6th, Emmy Award-winning Producer Jason Williams and Producer/Editor Christine S. Romero will be joined by Johanna Neumann, who was rescued in Albania and is featured in the film.  “I love to be able to talk about these wonderful people, who through their compassion, courage and valor upheld the honor of the human race,” said Mrs. Neumann. “The Albanian people filled the moral void that engulfed the world in those days, they were among the few shining stars!”

Following the January 8th screening, Director Rachel Goslins will discuss the challenges and rewards of making a film on three continents in five different languages.  “This film represents the reason I make documentaries. The fact that Rexhep’s story not only really happened, but that we had the privilege to discover and document it is one of those rare gifts from the documentary gods for which I will be forever grateful.”

To view a trailer, go to http://besathepromise.com

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