Filmmaker Pola Rapaport tells the story of a surprising discovery in her own family. More than 25 years after the death of her father, a Romanian-born doctor practicing in the United States, she received a letter from a stranger in Bucharest "looking for a trace of Dr. Ionel Rapaport family." So begins the adventure which links in the most intimate relationship she has experienced since her childhood. Using scenes of reunion, letters written by Pola and her brother and startlingly beautiful images of Paris, Romania and New York, the filmmaker welcomes the viewer into the warmth of the Rapaport family. As West meets East, the film proves both how foreign and how similar long-lost relatives can appear to one another.
Pola Rapaport grew up in New York City. "Family Secret" (2000), her most recent documentary, was recently broadcast on the European arts channel Arte, and has been shown at film festivals including Rotterdam, Goteborg, Tornoto HotDocs and NY DocFest. Le Mode commented, "This astonishsing autobiographical document blends black & white and color with love, humor, bitterness, and hope".
Rapaport's poetic film " Blind Light" (1998) starring Emmy Award winner Eddie Falco, has been presented on the Independent Film Channel. It has also been shown at the Mill Valley, Amsterdam Documentary, South by Southwest, and Goteborg Film Festivals, among others, and has been broadcast in Eruope. As reviewed in the Austin Chronicle: "Beautifully shot and artfully composed….a haunting, lyrical, hypnotic work whose light is both reflective and absorbing". In "Blind Light", Eddie Falco is cast as a burned-out fashion photographer who undergoes a spiritual renewal at a villa in Italy.
"Broken Meat", Rapaport's icinoclastic feature portrait of beat poet Alan Granville, has been described as "Hip and adventurous….stark and seductive…a fascinating enigma, explored with great humor and insight" (Baltimore Film Forum). It has been broadcast on WNET and the Sundance Channel in the US, ZDF/3SAT in Germany, and SBS in Australia. Her other films include "Tooth and Mask", "Joanna's Jobs", and "0,1,1,2,3,5 or The Walls Have the Floor".
Her work has been screened at festivals and museums including Sundance, Edinburgh, Seattle, and MoMa, and has been awarded prizes at many, including the Amsterdam, Leningrad, and Oberhausen Film Festivals. She has received grants for her work from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She works in New York as a producer and editor for film and TV.
As a film and sound editor, she has worked for Maysles Films, Columbia Artists, National Geographic, and others on documentaries that have been shown both on broadcast and cable television as well as in theatrical release, and have been nominated for Academy Awards. She received an Emmy Award nomination for sound editing in 1994.