"This Genie Was a Jew" States Filmmaker of "For the Life of Me" Documentary

Family secrets: Hidden away as if they were captured in Aladdin's lamp, we all have them but, perhaps, not as life changing as Peter Vanlaw's.

His Genie happened to be trapped by his German immigrant parents. As a result, for over fifty years he believed that he was a Gentile. Growing up as their only child, he knew of no close relatives in his family other than his mother and father, and maybe a "ne'er do well uncle somewhere in England. But that would all change with time.

"I loved this film and am eager for it to reach larger audiences. It's truly a miraculous story of discovery and healing."

Julie Cobb, Entertainment Professional

It finally came at age 50. After suffering a heart attack, his mother became extremely agitated, which necessitate having her ejected from his hospital room. The fall out from her emotional distress was his first inkling of secrets locked away somewhere in his family's history. Now convinced that it was the key to his mother's strange behavior, he found himself compelled to learn the real story.

But fearing repercussions from his father, his mother was very reluctant to reveal anything about their family. Then, as her resolve began to crumble, she could hold back no longer. First she let slip the long held family secret that their family was Jewish. Then as the floodgates opened, she revealed years of hidden details about his family.

After his parents passed away, a few years later, he found a half dozen family photo albums, containing hundreds of pictures dating back to Germany in 1905; a pictorial history of the relatives he never knew. Then he found a treasure trove of home movies: dozens of reels of 16m films taken by his parents.

Now that the Genie was FREE, Peter became driven to uncover the identities and the histories of all those unknown relatives. His discoveries have simultaneously become a lens through which we are able to look back at a life style in prewar Germany that no longer exists. Played against the stark images of WWII and the Holocaust, the impact on the lives of members of his family is vividly displayed.

While the film is centered on the discovery of his own Jewish roots, it's also a searing indictment of family secrets, and the damage they can cause to loved ones. These are subjects that resonate with Jews and non-Jews alike, proving that not all Genies are Jewish.

Peter has assembled these life-altering events into a powerful documentary, "For The Life Of Me". A :50 min "rough cut" of it has already been shown in private screenings at a number of cultural centers, schools and synagogues on both coasts. The reception has been astounding across the board.

But Peter is faced with a dilemma. "We can't show the film in public until we get the proper licenses for the stock photos, film clips and music that we've used", he said, "And we have to raise the money to do that. Only then will we have a real historical film that can be used to educate a generation that wasn't around when these events took place."

Currently, contributions can be made through the IDA - International Documentary Association: http://www.documentary.org/film/life-me

Here's the link to the trailer:  https://youtu.be/ar3E89jhRhw

"I loved this film and am eager for it to reach larger audiences. It's truly a miraculous story of discovery and healing. "
- Julie Cobb - Entertainment Professional

Movie Details: www.forthelifeofme-film.com