Inheritance, for those of you who don’t know is my short film chronicling the liberation of the Buchenwald, Germany concentration camp. It prominently features photos taken by my grandfather, Anthony Cuoco during the liberation of the camp, as well as a heart-wrenching performance by the late Harrison Young, a wonderfully haunting score composed by John Swihart, and beautiful cinematography by my frequent collaborator Doug Delaney.
The film itself was a labor of love that haunted my thoughts and dreams for months prior, during, and after production. It has had a long life as short films go, and on May 31st, just a few days after Memorial Day, it won its first award for best drama at the 4th Annual Universal Studios Hollywood Team Member Film Festival. This festival is open only to employees of Universal Studios, which is where I currently spend my days developing themed attractions. With a stellar panel of film and television professionals judging the films that included Ron Meyer, it was quite an honor to receive.
As much as it was an honor, however, that’s not why I’ve finally gotten back to blog. What’s compelled me to write is the reaction that I’ve received from the film. I’ve gotten accolades for the film in the past, the ubiquitous congratulations from friends and family. My wife tells me how it’s her favorite of all my films. I’ve shaken hands with people at film festivals, and been written to by folks around the globe from making it available on-line here and on YouTube, but this time it’s different. When it last screened at VIFFI, it played well and hushed the audience before sustained applause, but after we left the festival, the experience was over. With this screening, it again hushed the audience and drew two rounds of applause, but since it was screened for employees, the people I work with, the experience has continued for me in ways it hasn’t in the past. Other employees whom I have never met congratulate me on the elevator, in the halls, or at commissary. People have pulled me aside with tears in their eyes telling me what a profound effect the film has had on them. I’ve received e-mails requesting copies of the film on DVD. People have shared the online links with friends and family, and the messages still come days later. This has overwhelmed me, for the simple fact the heart and soul of the film, was to show these images to the world so it cannot be forgotten. That was the legacy of the film, and it is finally being realized. It may have had this effect all along, but that was never shared with me until now. I feel the films audience has grown exponentially thanks to this festival, and I am thankful to Karen Fung and Christiane Sentianin at Universal for putting it on.
That said, the film can still reach even more people, but it needs help. I’ve always wanted this film to reach as large an audience as possible and with the internet the audience is unlimited. Please visit these links and watch the film. Tell others about it. E-mail your friends, your families. Let it be known that the holocaust was real, that it cannot be forgotten, and cannot happen again.
30K feet over the Gulf of Mexico, 7:15 PST – 6/5/07