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a Film in Early Production Directed by Michelle Levy
An identity double, a prison record, a Polish mining town, a beekeeper, an old cocoa tin, a well, are some of the elements that converged in a collision of worlds, living and dead, that created an existential reckoning.
Artist/ Storyteller Michelle Levy was investigating the gaps in her own matrilineage when her life became intertwined with the story of a stranger in a miraculous, life-altering way. In the fall of 2018, Levy went to Poland for nine months to investigate the 1945 wartime testimony of a believed Polish-Jewish ancestor, Paulina, who lost her family and survived on her own throughout Nazi-occupied Poland. The heart of Michelle's investigation was a road trip with Patrycja, a Polish-Jewish "midwife" to untold stories, retracing Paulina's wartime path across Poland and Ukraine. They never imagined that in this process, they would find something Paulina left behind...
What began as an investigation into the buried past of one woman's Holocaust account, transforms into a promise to create new life, against many odds.
Levy takes the audience on her journey between Poland and the US, the past and the present, to share how one woman's story, decades after death, changed the course of her life.
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This film is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, with additional support from the Tarbut Foundation and Union Docs Early Production Lab.
Paulina emerges from an evolving performance and collaboration with Warsaw-based writer/ artist Patrycja Dołowy, Michelle's partner on a journey across Poland and Ukraine following Paulina's story. Earlier versions have been supported by Asylum Arts, Festivalt, Kana Theater, Emmanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute, POLIN Museum for the History of Polish Jews, the US Embassy, Warsaw, and numerous individuals.
Paulina is a fiscally sponsored project of the New York Foundation of the Arts. All donations are tax-deductible.
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