As a professor of documentary film history, Dr. Churchill Roberts lectures on how both the perpetrators of and the survivors of the Holocaust have used the medium of documentary film. As a film director, he has walked through the death camps of Auschwitz and Chelmno with survivors as they recounted the painful memories of what happened to them and their families.
On Tuesday, February 14 Roberts will present Reconstructing the Most Terrifying Moments of the Holocaust: A Documentary Approach. In this public lecture, he will examine the use of Holocaust survivor testimonies in documentary films, the objectives and responsibilities of filmmakers in securing these testimonies and the ethical challenges filmmakers face with these portrayals. In addition to seminal works such as Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah, the presentation will include an examination of a film Roberts’ co-directed featuring the efforts of a WWII veteran to find Holocaust survivors he photographed during the liberation of a slave labor camp. The lecture will take place from 3:30 to 4:45 in Annenberg Forum, Carswell Hall.
During his visit, Roberts will also meet with students in the DFP’s Documentary Film History course to discuss the life and work of German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. He will supplement an examination of Riefenstahl’s films, Triumph Of The Will and Olympia, with insights from his personal interview with the filmmaker to explore the propagandist traditions within the documentary genre.
As the former co-director of the Documentary Institute at the University of Florida, Roberts worked with DFP faculty members Sandy Dickson, Cindy Hill and Cara Pilson on several films including, The Last Flight of Petr Ginz, Angel of Ahlem, Negroes with Guns and Freedom Never Dies: The Legacy of Harry T. Moore