What do astronauts and the Holocaust have in common? "An Article of Hope"

Filmmaker Dan Cohen is the guy behind "An Article of Hope," a feature film project seven years in the making. The documentary is done, but Dan's got a Kickstarter to raise funds to get it on television and into schools. Below, some words from Dan for Boing Boing readers about the film:

What could space shuttle Astronauts and the Holocaust possibly have in common? When I began my research into my documentary An Article of Hope, I thought I was making a film about a Holocaust story. But I soon unraveled a story that was much more than that. It is a story that crosses generations woven by the lives of three men, born at a different time, but brought together by a twist of fate.

At the center of the story were the Astronauts of the Space Shuttle Columbia. All from different backgrounds from around the world, magnificently diverse, yet threaded by a moment from the Holocaust, a horrific attempt to stamp out diversity.

Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon was a hero fighter pilot, a man who had the ability to rise to the moment. By the time he launched into space he was more than that, he was the representative of his country, his faith, and in his eyes perhaps, humanity. He searched for a symbol of this responsibility, and found a little Torah scroll given to a boy in a secret Bar Mitzvah in a Nazi concentration camp.

The boy survived to become a scientist – working on the mission. So Ramon wrapped around him the story of the scroll, demonstrating to the world what can happen when, in his words, “You go from the depths of hell, to the heights of space.”

In today’s fractious world, An Article of Hope is a story that needs to be told, a story about hope for the future. Our Kickstarter campaign will help us raise the underwriting we need to bring this story to millions across America on PBS. We are two-thirds of the way there. The campaign kicked off with a jolt, support from all over the world. We have just a bit more than a week to go to meet the goal of this 9-year project, to continue to tell the story of An Article of Hope.

And, why the Kickstarter if the documentary's done?

It took 7-years to make the documentary. We did it by raising a little money here, borrowing a little more money there, and a lot of love and un-reimbursed time from the director. Now the final challenge is to get it on television before millions. PBS is a non-profit network, which means we must bring underwriting to the agreement. With your help, the funds we raise here go toward final editing to conform the documentary to PBS technical requirements, broadcast rights and fees, promotion, web site, all of the things that would normally come from a traditional agreement, we must fund it all.

(Thanks, Miles O'Brien!)

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