Recipient of a 2023 JFI Completion Grant
Recipient of the 2023 Albert & Judith Goldberg Award for Jewish Arts and Culture
Official Selection, 2023 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
At the end of World War II, Nathan Hilu, an 18-year-old Jewish US Army private from New York, was assigned to guard the top Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg Trials. For one year, Hilu kept suicide watch over Hermann Göring and Albert Speer and learned first-hand about the men and their crimes. Speer himself instructed Hilu to "…keep your eyes open and write what you see here..." With brutish lines and annotated pastel sketches, Hilu obsessively documented those memories for the next 70 years. Now in his 90s, Hilu still compulsively animates the very same stories. Filmmaker Elan Golod proposes a documentary portrait of the aging artist but what begins as a peek at a unique witness to history grows into an absorbing study of the function of art as archive and invention. Daring to question an artist’s stories, Nathan-ism is a fascinating look at one man’s need to share truths with a world that doesn’t always want to listen.
Description provided by grantee.
Elan Golod since first being exposed to filmmaking during his military service in Israel, has worked in the New York film industry as an editor on a wide range of projects and as a short-form documentary director. After being part of the editing team on Mike Birbiglia's film Sleepwalk with Me (Sundance, SXSW), Elan co-directed and edited the documentary short Mike Birbiglia: How to Make What This Is. While working on Nathan-ism, he also co-edited Birbiglia's Don't Think Twice (SXSW, Tribeca) and Maya Zinshtein’s documentary ‘Til Kingdom Come (DocAviv, IDFA)."