Florida Jewish Studies previews Penn State professor’s post-Holocaust film

October 22, 2018

GAINSVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida Center for Jewish Studies and the Jewish Council of North Central Florida will preview Penn State assistant professor Boaz Dvir’s “Cojot,” a documentary about a Holocaust survivor who set out to kill his father’s Nazi executioner, Nov. 15 at the Hippodrome State Theater in Gainesville, Florida.

A suspenseful character study, Cojot is written, directed and produced by Dvir, an award-winning filmmaker ("Jessie’s Dad," "A Wing and a Prayer") who graduated from and taught at the University of Florida. UF associate professor Gayle Zachmann serves as the feature-length documentary’s historical consultant and a producer.

The Nov. 15 screening by the center and council, which run the annual Gainesville Jewish Film Festival in March, is open to the public. The screening begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $10. Student admission is free with an ID.

Tickets may be reserved online.

Audience members will have a rare opportunity to provide input on a work-in-progress. In recent months, Dvir and Zachmann have screened the rough cut to more than 1,300 people around the country.

"Cojot" — which is narrated by actor Judd Nelson ("The Breakfast Club," "St. Elmo’s Fire") — has been generating a buzz. For instance, 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.”

“I have seen this film emerge in its various stages and I am truly impressed by how it’s come together into a powerful and coherent whole,” said UF professor Jack Kugelmass, director of the UF Center for Jewish Studies. “I am particularly struck by the creative use of animation. This is something which might seem overly daring and difficult to integrate with footage. At first glance it could be very jarring, but Dvir succeeds and it makes the film that much more compelling and a pleasure to watch.”

The film features interviews with 20 people around the world. They include 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.

Penn State’s National Public Radio station, WPSU, recently devoted an episode of its “Take Note” to the film and Dvir. 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. Dvir recently presented it at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 22, 2018