Manaki Brothers - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival


September 26, Bitola – The film Refuge, directed by Sara Logan Hofstein, was screened as a special feature. It is about an American-Jewish negotiator who moves to Vienna and starts a relationship with a refugee from Ethiopia. The film story connects to the life story of the director and script writer Sara Logan Hofstein.

-I am a Jew from USA who lives in Vienna. A lot was happening in Austria in 2015 that gave the possibility to pull back lines to the events of 1938. The chancellor of Austria stepped down, refugees came in and were put into camps, not concentration camps, but camps nonetheless, personal items were taken from them, the same that was happening to the Jews and all that deal touched me personally as a Jew. Still, about 95% of Austrians, especially the young population, supports the refugees and their struggle, the old regime is in fact the one still holding on to the dated and dangerous values. But the good thing is that it became clear to the Austrians that they were not victims in World War II, but perpetrators, they got that and moved on. We didn’t want to go hard on anyone with this film, but to motivate everyone to do what they can. One person might not change the world, but a movement can, and that is the message. As a short film, it was tough to get the big companies interested in supporting the filming. I want to point out the wonderful sponsorship by ARRI, who gave us the whole working equipment, the director and script writer of the film spoke.

The film is done by a family crew: Sara is daughter of Michael and Maria Hofstein, who appear in this film as a cinematographer and producer respectively, and who, on the other hand, have great experience at the Hollywood productions and studios.

-We are like gears of a family machine. We are a family of filmmakers, we have spent our whole life in the studios in LA, and then in Europe for 20 years. We work very harmoniously as a team, Michael Hofstein, the cinematographer of the film Refuge, said.