"Life Will Smile"
The Unique Story about the 275 Jews of Zakynthos
a 40-minute Documentary
a TerraMagma Pictures & Nomadic Films co-production
under the auspices of UNESCO
275 souls. 275 men, women and children. 275 neighbors, co-workers, friends - a whole community of Greek Jews pulled back from a horrible fate on the ashen grounds of Auschwitz and saved by the determination and bravery of their Christian brethren on the small Greek island of Zakynthos.
'I was lucky to have been born in such a place' a tearful Haim Konstantini says on camera, one of the very few survivors still alive who narrates the gripping story of a unique rescue in the annals of World War II history.
It was 1943 - the year the Nazis brought their flotillas to the Ionian Sea and began to systematically gather all the Jews from the islands for transportation to Auschwitz. Unbeknown at the time to the young Haim - what he was witnessing as the first boats reached the picturesque shores of Zakynthos and Kommandant Lutt made his request for the complete name list of all the island's Jews to Mayor Carrer & Bishop Chrysostomos - was part of the Final Solution which by that time had already the rest of Europe in its iron grip and most of the continent's once-proud Jewish communities reduced down to nothing.
Those were the darkest of times and hope appeared in short supply as the Nazi troops took control of the island. And yet...no one could prepare the world for what happened in that small, insignificant strip of land...
The fascinating story of Zakynthos' Jews and the courage & humanity that propelled the whole island inhabitants to defy grave danger and rescue all 275 of their 'brothers and sisters' still shines as a beacon of hope against the darkness - a truly unique example of the power of the human soul to rise above fear and embrace the true measure of self-sacrifice and love.
'Life Will Smile' is a 40 minutes documentary directed by Miami-based Drey Kleanthous and produced and lit by Steven Priovolos. The documentary will be released in the fall of this year worldwide. The project is executive produced by Hollywood legend Sid Ganis who apart from stints as President of Sony and Paramount Studios he was also President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Sid Ganis is of Greek-Jewish decent and "Life Will Smile" has become a very personal project of his.
A feature film based on the same events is currently in the works by TerraMagma Pictures and Nomadic Films, with production planning to commence in 2020.
A great thank you goes out to the whole community of Zakynthos. Their generous support made the making of this documentary possible.
The documentary had its grand premiere on the island of Zakynthos in October 2017. Additional screenings have been scheduled in Jerusalem, New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Chicago, Melbourne, Boston, and London in 2019.