Romola Garai (Emma, The Miniaturist), Thomas Kretschmann (The Pianist, King Kong), Tim McInnerny (Peterloo, Harlots), and Iain Glenn (Mrs. Wilson, Downton Abbey) star in a upcoming British drama set at the end of the Second World War.
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Filming for the 90 minute movie, which has a working title of “The Children,” began in Northern Ireland in May.
Based on the true story of child Holocaust survivors who were brought to England’s Lake District, “The Children” is penned by “Home Fires” writer-producer Simon Block, and is directed by “Any Human Heart’s” Michael Samuels.
Read on for the official synopsis, and more details.
One summer’s night in 1945 a coach-load of children, some as young as three years old, are in transit from Carlisle airport to the Calgarth Estate in Lake Windermere, England. They are child survivors, and presumed orphans, of the Holocaust.
With only a few meagre possessions, they do not know what awaits them in Britain. They speak no English and, having spent many years living in death camps, and are deeply traumatized.
At the end of World War II, the British government granted up to 1,000 children the right to come to the UK. Three hundred of these children were brought to Lake Windermere for their first four months to have the opportunity to recover, surrounded by nature.
In a statement, BBC said: “The Children promises to be a beautiful and powerful drama about a little-known part of British history. The refuge given in the Lakes and determination to give children back their lives so they could begin again is both deeply moving and humbling.”
In the “touching” drama, the responsibility for looking after the children is held by Oscar Friedmann (Thomas Kretschmann), a German-born child social worker and psychoanalyst. He and his team are in uncharted territory: their project to mass-rehabilitate a group of children has never been attempted before.
Romola Garai is art therapist Marie Paneth, and Tim McInnerny the philanthropist Leonard Montefiore, who persuaded the British Government to take in the children.
The roles of the young children, who were advised by the Holocaust Museum, Lake Windermere; and the Holocaust Education Trust, are played by a talented cast of young European actors selected from Polish communities in Germany, London, Manchester and Belfast, as well as from Warsaw.
Trevor Avery, of the The Lake District Holocaust Project, said that the real child Holocaust survivors had “come from places of horror and arrived in the beauty of Lake District, they often described the feeling to me as effervescent. It was like arriving in paradise.” The children recovered in the Lake District for their first four months in the country.
Avery told The Jewish Chronicle: “We’ve worked really hard with the production company to make sure every historic fact is correct all the detail is included.”
BBC calls “The Children” a “stark, moving and ultimately redemptive story of the bonds these children make with one another, and of how the friendships forged at Windermere become a lifeline to a fruitful future.” The story draws on the first-person testimony of some of these now elderly survivors, whose filmed interviews will feature in the film.
Executive Producers Wall To Wall Media, says: “The Children is a story of hope after horror, revealing how Britain and a remarkable group of adults transformed the lives of 300 child survivors of the concentration camps. Seventy five years after the Holocaust ended it’s a story that feels as important and relevant as ever. I’m incredibly proud of the exceptional cast and crew we have brought together to make this film.”
The historical drama will be broadcast on both BBC Two and ZDF in Germany in 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. Stay tuned for US premiere dates.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to see The Period Films List, with the best British, historical and costume dramas sorted by era. You’ll especially the Best Period Dramas: First World War Era list, and the Interwar Era list.