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Skirball Cultural Center

Ingelore (2009)

In partnership with Deaf West Theatre and Holocaust Museum LA

Public Programs | Film

A woman holds a smiling baby in the air as they both look at the camera

This mesmerizing documentary and loving portrait of an indefatigable individual is followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Frank Stiefel and Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre, DJ Kurs, moderated by Jordanna Gessler, Chief Impact Officer at Holocaust Museum LA.

This is a past program

This program took place on
Wednesday, February 28, 2024

About the Program

Ingelore is a mesmerizing documentary about Ingelore Herz Honigstein, born and raised in Germany, who narrates her inspiring story about living as an outcast in Nazi Germany not only as a Jew, but also as a Deaf woman. The film is made by Ingelore’s son, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Frank Stiefel, whose potent use of editing, archival footage, and dramatic recreations help convey the horror and bewilderment of any child living during such terrifying times. With extreme clarity and attention to detail, Ingelore does not back off from recalling everything that she experienced while living through the rise of Nazism and then making a new life for herself in America. A loving portrait of an indefatigable individual.

The 40-minute film will be followed by a Q&A with Frank Stiefel and Artistic Director of Deaf West Theatre, DJ Kurs, moderated by Jordanna Gessler, Chief Impact Officer at Holocaust Museum LA.

The film will be shown with open captions.
ASL interpreters will be on site throughout the space and present for the Q&A.

Coming soon from Deaf West Theatre

Deaf West Theatre is now fervently shaping Ingelore into a compelling stage adaptation. Helmed by filmmaker and director, Frank Stiefel, this new play draws inspiration from the emotional depth of the short documentary, offering a live experience that promises to be as evocative as it is transformative.

About the Participants

Frank Stiefel is a producer, director, writer, and cinematographer of a number of award-winning documentary films. 

He spent most of his career as an executive in the commercial production industry. He was the owner and executive producer of the bicoastal Stiefel & Company. Later, as executive producer of the international production company Radical Media, Mr. Stiefel was responsible for the production of TV commercials, web initiatives, and television programs. He was the only person chosen twice to be the chairman of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers. 

Stiefel produced a number of short subject documentaries that appeared at the Telluride Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, and Berlin Film Festival. 

In 2011, Stiefel retired from Radical Media in order to concentrate on directing documentaries. The first was Ingelore, a documentary portrait of his mother. Ingelore appeared in over thirty international film festivals, winning a number of Audience and Critics prizes. Ingelore was honored by the International Documentary Association and The Museum of Modern Art. It was acquired by HBO.

In October 2016, the Austin Film Festival premiered Stiefel’s documentary of the artist, Mindy Alper, Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405. The film won the Audience Award, the Jury Prize, and the Hiscox Courage Award, and became the only film to win both the Jury and Audience Prizes in the history of the prestigious Full Frame Documentary Festival. Its celebrated festival run was capped by winning the Academy Award in 2018. 

Current projects include a narrative script based on the characters in Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405, a documentary profile of the celebrated graffiti artist and long-time ALS patient Tony Quan, and a play of Ingelore.

Founded in 1991 in Los Angeles, Deaf West Theatre, led by Artistic Director DJ Kurs and
Managing Director Jeff Perri, is a Tony Award®-winning company blending American
Sign Language with spoken English to create innovative, culturally rich theater
experiences. Notable productions include the groundbreaking staging of Beethoven’s
opera Fidelio with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Broadway productions of Spring
Awakening and Big River. Building upon a commitment to bridging the Deaf and hearing
worlds, their repertoire includes acclaimed musicals, plays, and works. The company has
been honored with a variety of national and international awards for its significant contributions to the cultural enrichment of the Deaf arts landscape. Visit deafwest.org to
learn more.

Jordanna Gessler, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, provides strategic leadership for the education and archive departments at Holocaust Museum LA. With over fifteen years of work in the Holocaust Studies field, Jordanna is a visionary leader with a proven track record in leading program, research, and educational initiatives. Jordanna studied Holocaust history as an undergraduate at the University of Vermont and as a graduate student at the University of Haifa. She conducted research in the Righteous Among the Nations Department at Yad Vashem and won the 2014 Yad Vashem Award for Research. Jordanna has written articles and presented internationally on topics including contemporary Antisemitism, fiction and the Holocaust, art and resistance, and teaching empathy.  Passionate about animal rights, civic engagement, advocacy, and education, she is an active member of several non-profit organizations and sits on the board of the Council of American Jewish Museums, which was named by the White House as part of the National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. 

Mother holding young daughter dancing and smiling outside during a festival

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