The Arc will be sponsoring a limited engagement theatrical release of the award-winning short film “Menschen” in Los Angeles. This film directed by Sarah R. Lotfi and produced by Anastasia M. Cummings, showcases an often forgotten part of the Holocaust. During World War II, Nazi Germany had in place a non-voluntary euthanasia program called the Action T-4 program that targeted individuals with disabilities who Hitler deemed “life unworthy of life.” According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, about 200,000 people with disabilities were murdered between 1940 and 1945 under this program. The film centers on a young man with a developmental disability who is taken under the wing of Austrian troops during World War II and the unlikely guardian that keeps him safe. The goal of “Menschen” is to show that individuals with disabilities are “life worthy of life”, a concept which embodies The Arc’s mission.
The film stars Connor Long, an actor with Down syndrome. Long, learned German for his role, and spent extensive time learning about this part of history in preparation for the filming of the movie. His work was rewarded when he was honored as Best Actor, during the Filmstock Film Festival in 2013.
“The Arc is honored to be sponsoring the Los Angeles theatrical release of ‘Menschen,’ a film that sheds light on a part of history that is too often hidden. Sarah Lotfi deserves much admiration for choosing to share this important part of the Holocaust that impacted thousands of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“We are also thrilled to be supporting the work of Connor Long, the phenomenal actor who brought this story to life. Connor represents everything The Arc stands for, and we hope that his success as an actor inspires other individuals who have dreams of the lime light, and that his performance challenges the entertainment industry to create more dramatic roles for individuals with disabilities.” – Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc
“As an individual I grew up watching The Arc play an active role in the advocacy of my brother and sister whose lives are very much impacted by their disabilities. As a filmmaker it is a beautiful thing to partner with that same organization and work together to give “Menschen”its Los Angeles theatrical release. For me the underlying message of the film champions the value of life and some challenges of disability that are relevant to this day.” -Sarah R. Lotfi
“We feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to work alongside an organization like The Arc that passionately champions the quality of life for individuals who otherwise would not have advocacy. This is a very special partnership to share our film “Menschen,” whose message truly coincides with the mission statement of The Arc.” – Anastasia M. Cummings
“I am so happy that The Arc of Los Angeles and Orange Counties is able to be a part of this theatrical release. A dark part of history is exposed in this film, and it is important for audiences to understand the suffering that hundreds of thousands of individuals with disabilities faced during this time. I am grateful to the director and producers for telling this story, and of course to Connor for his hard work in making this film a success.” – Kevin MacDonald, CEO, The Arc of Los Angeles and Orange Counties
This theatrical release will make “Menschen” eligible for consideration during award season. Screenings will be held at Landmark’s Nuart Theatre, on August 15, 16, and 17 at 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. After each screening, a Q&A will be held with Sarah Lofti and Anastasia M. Cummings.