Three Minutes: A Lengthening

Bay Area Premiere

Pre-recorded Q&A with director Biana Stigter

1938, Nasielsk Poland. A group of men, women, and children smile and mug for American tourist David Kurtz’s 16mm camera. For the next several decades the footage would sit forgotten in a Florida closet until happened upon by grandson Glenn Kurtz. Brittle, shrunken from years of neglect, and barely projectable, through the expertise of film archivists, three minutes of film was salvaged. With 20/20 hindsight, we now know that these same people less than a year later, would be terrorized, rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Nasielsk had 3000 Jewish inhabitants in 1938: by the end of the Second World War, fewer than 100 were still alive. Director Bianca Stigter examines and re-examines the three minutes of amateur footage with a meticulous level of detail, providing useful historical reference while also serving as a deeper examination of a seemingly trivial moment before the terror of things to come. Narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, Three Minutes: A Lengthening is a must-see poetic rumination on the importance of film preservation, collective history, memory, and loss. Through the act of watching, viewers partake in the creation of a memorial to the village.

Bianca Stigter is an historian and cultural critic. She made the short film essays Three Minutes -Thirteen Minutes – Thirty Minutes (2014) and I Kiss This Letter - Farewell Letters from Amsterdammers (2018). She is associate producer of Steve McQueen’s feature films 12 Years a Slave and Widows. In 2019 she published the book Atlas of an Occupied City: Amsterdam 1940-1945.

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