Three Virginia schools to screen Penn State professor's films

March 18, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In coming weeks, three Virginia schools — the University of Virginia, Randolph College and Virginia Tech — will screen two critically acclaimed documentaries produced by Penn State assistant professor Boaz Dvir.

The University of Virginia will screen “A Wing and a Prayer” at 7 p.m. March 21 at the Brody Jewish Center. Randolph College and Virginia Tech will screen a rough cut of “Cojot” at 7 p.m. April 1 at the Nichols Theater and 7:30 p.m. April 2 at Torgersen Hall 3100, respectively.

A popular PBS film, “A Wing and a Prayer” shines a light on a secret, illegal 1948 operation to save newborn Israel. Narrated by actor William Baldwin (“The Purge," "Squid and the Whale") and co-produced by Steve Whitney (“Amityville Horror,” “Haunting in Connecticut”), it won Best Documentary in the 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. The Miami Herald's Ana Veciana-Suarez wrote that it “tells the story of how a few idealists effected change despite great obstacles.” 

A suspenseful character study, “Cojot” tells the virtually unknown story of a Holocaust survivor, Michel Cojot, who set out to kill his father’s Nazi executioner and ended up playing a key role as a hostage, in one of history’s most daring rescue operations. Narrated by actor Judd Nelson (“The Breakfast Club,” “St. Elmo’s Fire”), it 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.”

Joining Dvir at the Randolph College and Virginia Tech screenings will be University of Florida associate professor Gayle Zachmann, the film’s historical consultant and one of its producers. The others include Penn State associate professor Richie Sherman, who also served as a director of photography, and Matthew Einstein, CEO of Tradition Pictures in Los Angeles.

Dvir and Zachmann recently screened the “Cojot” rough cut at Columbia University’s Global Center in Paris. The event served as an unofficial Operation Entebbe reunion, bringing together lead rescue pilot Joshua Shani with former hostages Olivier Cojot, Monique Epstein, Air France flight engineer Jacques Lemoine and flight attendant Lydie Devine.

“I’ve been lucky to screen my documentaries to students and faculty around the world,” said Dvir, an award-winning filmmaker (“Jessie’s Dad,” “Discovering Gloria”). “I appreciate the opportunity to have this dialogue at the University of Virginia, Randolph College and Virginia Tech. I’m always eager to receive thoughtful feedback.”

Last Updated March 18, 2019