April 20, 2017
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Uncannily Riveting: Another Holo Story
by Doniphan Blair
An Elli Glass Project poster, in a lovely Constructivist style. photo courtesy L. Streit
Leslie Streit was chatting with her friend Anne Glass one day when, for no apparent reason, Anne decided to recount her parent's life story - thus kicking off the "Elly Glass Project."
The Glasses were just two kids in love in the very romantic city of Vienna when the Austrian government decided to annex itself to Nazi Germany in 1938. As an "interracial" Catholic/Jewish couple, they soon entered a world of hate: social abuse, Henry's arrest, Elly's heroic and successful attempt to free him, followed by peregrinations and poverty.
They returned to regular life in America with the birth of Anne and her siblings and Henry's emergence as a leading industrial designer and architect. He eventually designed of one of the first solar houses, and received 52 patents and numerous awards. Elly retained her beautiful mercurial spirit, which was obviously instrumental in their sixty-six year love affair and his career, not to mention his survival.
As soon as Anne completed her ancestral tale, "I was hooked," said Streit, a filmmaker, writer, and actress, who has done a few well received shorts, including "God Wears My Underware," which incongruously connects the Holocaust to the Tibetan genocide. She told me she admires the work of Errol Morris. "His films strike me as being full of suspense," probably a good template for covering the Holocaust.
"I am a Jew and growing up I heard many stories of life in the camps from family and friends. Their stories took terrifying new shapes in my childhood nightmares and became, in a way, partly my own. I was in awe of their strength and in wonder at their ability to still joke and laugh and live. I believe every one of their stories that can be told - should be told - because there are lessons in them for all of us."
"Elly [was] smart, indominatible and irreverent," Streit said about her heroine, who will turn 95 in March. "[She] was his in-dispensable partner... his touchstone, without whom life would have been very different. She is an extraordinary person."
Without cognizing it, perhaps, Streit's decision to focus on Elly, rather than Henry, highlights the hidden female side of war. When out-of-control machos wreak destruction on women and artists, as well their enemies or "The Jews," it is also up to the victims to defend themselves, by becoming more creative, loving, and brave, as demonstrated by Elly charming the Gestapo and freeing her husband.
Streit also abides that theory. As a woman and artist, she has overcome immense obstacles to complete "The Elly Glass Project." Self-financed, it clocks in at $328,000, including in-kind payments. But she did get Jill Eikenberry, the Emmy award-winning actress from NBC's "LA Law," to narrate. Now in post, the film is scheduled to finish this year.
Streit also obtained sponsorships from the good folks at Frazier Winery, _Mission Market and Evil Auntie's Quick & Sexy Family Cooking, among others, and is using the "donor party" method. In fact, you can attend one on Sat, Feb 6, at 33 Jennings Court, San Francisco. See the trailer at:
or call 415 468.0772.
Posted on Mar 08, 2010 - 04:47 PM