AVALON IN FOCUS is a program designed to hold single-night premieres of new films in Washington DC, often in partnership with other local or national organizations and/or filmmakers themselves. IN FOCUS screenings will be diverse in subject, but all will feature post-screening discussions or performances allowing the audience a chance to explore the process of filmmaking in greater depth.
IN FOCUS events are periodically scheduled special events. Please check back later for information on our next IN FOCUS event.
Wed, May 14 @ 8PM - Q&A after the film!
Post-Film Q&A featuring LOST TOWN’s historical consultant and subject (and DC resident), author Avrom Bendavid-Val
LOST TOWN tells the story of Trochenbrod, the only all-Jewish town to ever exist outside of Palestine, as told by following one man’s search to uncover his family’s history. First made famous by Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated, Trochenbrod was home to 5,000 Jews, all of whom were obliterated by the Nazis, except for 33 townspeople who escaped the massacre there. This personal search triggers a resurgence of interest in the town and reconnects the few remaining survivors who hadn’t seen each other in over 60 years.
LOST TOWN utilizes contemporary documentary footage, original animation, and survivor testimonials to tell the story of how far one will go to claim a sense of identity.
Avrom Bendavid-Val‘s book about the town of Trochenbrod and its people, The Heavens Are Empty: Discovering the Lost Town of Trochenbrod, was released by Pegasus Books in October 2010. The book is unique in the variety of first person accounts Bendavid-Val draws on, including those of Jews born in Trochenbrod as well as Ukrainians and Polish people who knew the town as children. His book is also unique in the large number of photographs and maps it contains. The Heavens Are Empty not only reveals the final days of this hidden town as witnessed by different people, but lets the reader experience the life and vibrancy that was Trochenbrod, and that was lost when Trochenbrod was lost.
Watch the trailer: