Former Entebbe hostage to join faculty filmmaker at Philadelphia area screening

August 09, 2018

A former Entebbe hostage will join Penn State Assistant Professor Boaz Dvir at a Philadelphia area rough-cut screening of his feature documentary “Cojot” on Sept. 12.

A suspenseful character study, “Cojot” tells the little-known story of Michel Cojot, a Holocaust survivor who set out to kill his father’s Nazi executioner and ended up playing a pivotal role in one of history’s most daring hostage-rescue operations.

Michel's son, Olivier Cojot-Goldberg -- who, along with his father and 250 other Air France passengers and crew members, was a hostage in Entebbe, Uganda, in 1976 -- will join Dvir during the post-screening question-and-answer session.

The screening, from 7-9 p.m. at Beth Chaim Reform Congregation (389 Conestoga Road, Malvern), is open to the public. Admission is $10. Audiences will have a rare opportunity to provide input on a work-in-progress.

Long before its release, the film has generated a buzz. For instance, after watching an early rough cut, "The Guardian's" Hadley Freeman wrote: "It wasn’t until I saw Boaz Dvir’s very moving forthcoming documentary about him, 'Cojot,' that I truly understood Michel’s life, and perhaps the message of it."

In recent months, the rough cut has been screened to more than 1,300 people in the Northeast. The response to "Cojot" -- which is narrated by actor Judd Nelson ("The Breakfast Club," "St. Elmo’s Fire") -- has been overwhelmingly positive.

Besides Olivier, who shared the stage with Dvir during a 2016 preview of “Cojot” at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan, the film features interviews with 20 people around the world. They include other family members, international Nazi hunters Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, Operation Entebbe lead pilot Joshua Shani, French historian Vincent Duclert, hidden-children expert Raphaël Delpard, and bestselling British author Saul David.

“These remarkable people offer a great deal of insight into the human experience,” said Dvir, an award-winning filmmaker who teaches writing and production in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. “I’ve interviewed Olivier four times in three locations, yet I still have questions for him.”

Dvir’s "Cojot" co-producers include Penn State Associate Professor Richie Sherman, who also served as a director of photography; University of Florida Associate Professor Gayle Zachmann, who also serves as the historical consultant; and Matthew Einstein, CEO of Tradition Pictures in Los Angeles. Penn State Lecturer Anita Gabrosek edited footage shown at the 2016 preview.   

Penn State’s National Public Radio station, WPSU, recently devoted an episode of its “Take Note” to "Cojot":

Dvir’s previous project, the critically acclaimed PBS documentary, “A Wing and a Prayer,” has screened around the world and won Best Feature Documentary at the 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. It recently screened at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

Last Updated June 02, 2021