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Eileen Douglas’s film traces her intercontinental journey to locate a piece of real estate in Kaunas, and her eventual discovery of documentation, photographs and living relatives she never knew existed. Along every step of the journey she finds people ready with information and clues to help her further along. Although a major part of this discovery was filmed in, Lithuania, the film had not been shown here until this summer, when another set of unlikely circumstances put two individuals within blocks of each other in Vilnius.
Director of the VYI Summer Program Tina Lunson was a historical advisor and Kaunas guide to Ms. Douglas’s film crew when they came to Lithuania in 1999. Robert Jones, Pastor of the International Church of Vilnius, had seen “My Grandfather’s House” at the American Center and was struck by the intricacy of the story it reveals. When Pastor Jones learned that Lunson would be in Vilnius for most of the summer, he organized a multi-faith screening of the film. Indeed, the film shows how much information a persistent person can find, and the viewing prompted many questions about both Jews and Lithuanians returning to claim their family histories.
Douglas is still seeking funds to translate the dialog and add Lithuanian subtitles to allow the film a wider audience in Lithuania, and perhaps promote an appreciation of the history common to all who have lived here.
The U. S. Library of Congress gave the film a rare honor by selecting My Grandfather’s House for its motion picture division’s permanent collection.
|2005 VILNIUS YIDDISH INSTITUTE. Solution: Neosymmetria|