Ashton Gleckman turned to a subject he was familiar with for his first full-length documentary as a director.
“I’ve been studying the Holocaust since I was 7 years old,” the 19-year-old Carmel resident said. “I’ve built up the confidence to do a larger feature project and this is the result.”
“We Shall Not Die Now” will premiere at the Heartland International Film Festival at 7:20 p.m. Oct. 12 at AMC Castleton Square at Indianapolis. The documentary, which is 1-hour and 47-minutes long, also will be shown at 2:45 p.m. Oct. 17 at AMC Traders Point in Indianapolis.
Gleckman had scored two Holocaust documentaries previously. Six million European Jews were murdered by Germany’s Nazi regime during World War II.
“This is my first debut feature film, so there was a lot of interviews and a lot of traveling that I wasn’t used to,” Gleckman said.
Gleckman interviewed 25 Holocaust survivors and liberators in 10 states. He contacted synagogues all across the nation to find survivors. Gleckman went to Washington, D.C., to research archives. Holocaust historian Michael Berenbaum is the main interview about what transpired.
“I traveled to Florida to interview the last living prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials,” Gleckman said. “I spent two weeks in Poland filming at all the concentration camps, including Auschwitz, then I edited the film and wrote the music. It features a main theme composed by Benjamin Wallfisch, who did the ‘It’ films. It was recorded in London. His grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.”
Gleckman left Carmel High School before graduating to concentrate on his filmmaking and music career. He took a job in Los Angeles in January with one of famous composer Hans Zimmer’s music companies but determined it wasn’t right for him and left shortly afterward.
“Hans and I are really good friends, and Hans has been really supportive of this film because he and Ben Wallfisch are good friends,” Gleckman said. “Moving out to L.A. wasn’t my vibe. It just wasn’t right for me at the time, so I decided to come back home. When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my career, this film came across. Filmmaking allows me to stretch my legs a little more. It allows me to do the music that I love so much and direct, but also allows me to get in the real world and talk to real people. All the modern footage in the film was filmed by me.”
For more, visit heartlandfilm.org.