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When Gidon was just 6 years old, he arrived at the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt. When the camp was liberated in 1945, he was 10. Then, at age 87, he went viral on Tiktok. Gidon uses the world's biggest social media platform to teach Holocaust education and shine light in the dark corners where racism, homophobia, transphobia and hate of any kind dwells.
FOLLOW ME is a feature documentary that follows the story of one remarkable Holocaust survivor as he more than teaches and inspires but brings attention to the shocking rise of hate crimes that affect not just the Jewish community but all vulnerable, marginalized groups.
Follow Me reveals the sheer volume of online hate and intolerance in the wild west of the internet and asks what students, educators, academics, and others are doing to counter this growing hate.
But - outside of the noise and drama of Tiktok, who is this lost little boy who never quite grew up? What motivates Gidon to relive his trauma over and over on social media? Does this harm him, or is it cathartic? How is it that Gidon has a Californian girlfriend 30 years younger than him, a number of unpaid parking tickets and why does he want to meet Steven Spielberg so badly?
Meet the Team Behind the film
An actor, writer, director, and producer, Yaniv Rokah resides in Manhattan. His directorial debut was Queen Mimi, a documentary about Mimi Haist, an elderly homeless woman in Los Angeles. With appearances by Zach Galifianakis and Renee Zellwegger, Queen Mimi won Best Documentary at the Manhattan Film Festival, Hot Springs Film Festival, Chagrin Falls Film Festival, and the St. Tropez International Film Festival. The film landed a global distribution deal through Netflix. His narrative short film, Black Hat, about a conflicted member of the Orthodox Jewish community, won several film festival awards in 2019, including the prestigious Iris Prize, and Best Film at the American Pavilion at Cannes Film Festival and Jury Award at The San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. Black Hat was an official selection at the Tribeca Film Festival and landed a distribution deal with HBO Europe. Currently in pre-production, Yaniv wrote a feature film about the refugee crisis in Europe called 20 Miles, which he will direct in Italy in 2023.
The producer of Yaniv Rokah's Queen Mimi and other award-winning festival-favorites such as the Netlix Original Little Miss Sumo and the NBC Peacock Original Black Boys, Elliot Kotek is a recognized leader in the power of purposeful content. He is a member of the Television Academy and the Producers Guild of America, and his innovative branded documentaries for the likes of AARP, Accenture, Aflac, Campbell's, Hyundai & the UNDP, LEGO, New Balance, Whirlpool & Habitat for Humanity have racked up several billion media impressions and earned 7 Emmy nominations, 5 Cannes Lions, 4 SxSW Innovation Awards, 2 Clios, 2 Anthem Awards, multiple Webby honors, archiving at MoMA as well as recognition from the U.S. Congress and House of Representatives.
Jackii Chun was born in Seoul, South Korea and raised up and down the Pacific Coast. She obtained her BA in Film Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Davis and her MFA in Film/Video at the California Institute of the Arts. Her film, Space Ètude, No. 1, was an Official Selection of the Blow-Up International Arthouse Filmfest Chicago in 2019. In 2021, she produced Lake Forest Park, which had its European Premiere at IDFA and was nominated for Best First Feature. Her film Father was a Semi-Finalist at the Flickers' Rhode Island International Film Festival in 2021 and premiered at the 38th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2022. Currently, she is producing Weeping Rocks, a feature documentary that focuses on the critical role small organisms play in our fragile ecosystem. She will shoot Far From the Sky, a short based on her father's memoir, Where Will I Rest Tonight?, in South Korea later this year.
As a Supervising Sound Editor with over 200 feature film credits and an award-winning 40-year career, Vickie Rose Sampson is also a producer, director and editor of over seven short films, 20 commercials and PSAs. She is a voting and active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), Motion Picture Editors Guild Local 700 (MPEG), Alliance of Women Directors, Women in Media and Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) with an extensive list of credits including Pirates of the Caribbean, Ordinary People, and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. She has been teaching Post Production Sound and Filmmaking since 1992 at UCLA, USC, AFI, Video Symphony, Cal State LA and NYFA. She has been sound editing on the audiobook and podcasts for "The True Adventures of Gidon Lev" during and through the pandemic and looks forward to bringing Gidon and Julie to the big screen.
Camila Vilalva is a Brazilian filmmaker based in Rio de Janeiro. Her work deals with the interrelation of gender, class and labor in Latin America through autobiographical narratives. She received her B.A in Communications from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa and recently completed her MFA in Film/Video from the California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been selected and screened by the Portuguese Nucleus of Visual Anthropology of Art (NAVA) and has been featured in Portugal’s Neo-realism Museum, Latvia’s Film Festival TourFilm Riga and The Velaslavasay Panorama in Los Angeles, California. Her short film Receitas (para não esquecer) was recently granted an Honorable Mention by the Experimental Forum and is premiering at the 2022 Les Femmes Underground Film Festival. Her feature documentary Querida Magnólia, an intimate essay-film about immigration due to domestic work, will be premiering later this year.
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