NIGHT WILL FALL
by Andre Singer
In April 1945, the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was liberated by British troops, and soldiers captured the liberation on film. They filmed the relief of the survivors, but also the terrifying reality of the camps, which were full to the brim with emaciated and dead prisoners. London-based producer Sidney Bernstein and Alfred Hitchcock made it their mission to edit the many hours of material from several concentration camps into a cinematic whole: the resulting documentary was called German Concentration Camps. For the British government the film was a major asset, as it would serve as proof of the systematic atrocities of the Nazi regime. But as the making of the film progressed, the political situation changed and fear started growing that showing the film would stand in the way of rebuilding Germany. In the end, Bernstein and Hitchcock’s five film reels were shelved. Recently, the Imperial War Museums decided to restore the film and to finish it. Night Will Fall tells the story behind the creation of the film. The calm voice-over and the stylized interviews with those who were there form a sharp contrast to the horror of Bernstein’s archive material. After 70 years, postwar generations finally have access to perhaps the most powerful and most gruesome film in the history of British cinema.
UK, USA, Israel, Denmark
English, Russian, Hebrew
Directed by Andre Singer (Spring Films)
Produced by Sally Angel (Angel TV), Brett Ratner (RatPac Documentary Films)
Co-Produced by Philippa Kowarsky (Cinephil), Signe Byrge Sorenson (Final Cut for Real)
Executive Produced by Richard Melman (Spring Films), Stephen Frears (Spring Films), James Packer (RatPac Documentary Films)
With Channel 4, MDR/ARTE, NDR, DR, BFI, Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts, DFI, Channel 8, Keshet
In Association with GA&A
DIRECTOR - ANDRE SINGER
André Singer was awarded his doctorate from Oxford University as an anthropologist and has subsequently followed a twin-track career in both anthropology and filmmaking.
As an anthropologist, his research was in Iran and Afghanistan where his fieldwork in 1970/71 was on the sedentarisation of pastoral Timuri nomads in the Kurasan province of Iran. Other field visits to Afghanistan and Pakistan lead to publications including Lords of the Khyber (1984) and The Pathans (1982).
He joined Granada Television as an anthropological advisor in 1973 and has now been in the documentary film world for over forty years as researcher, producer, director, executive producer and commissioning editor. His experience runs from being Series Editor of Disappearing World, to heading the BBC Documentary Department’s Independent Unit where he set up the Fine Cut series (later to become Storyville) and worked with such international filmmakers as Jean Rouch, Werner Herzog, David MacDougal, Vikram Jayanti, D.B. Pennebaker, Mike Grigsby, Bob Drew and Fred Wiseman. In the past decade Singer has executive produced The Secret Life of Uri Geller by Vikram Jayanti, We Went to War by the late Mike Grigsby, Dreams of a Life by Carol Morley, the multiple award-winning and Oscar nominated diptych The Act of Killing and The Look of Silence by Josh Oppenheimer; City 40 by Samira Goetzels; and They Will Have to Kill Us First by Johanna Schwartz. As director,he specialised for many years in anthropological films including The Pathans, Witchcraft Among the Azande, The Goddess and the Computer, The Kazakhs of China, and the Stranger’s Abroad series. His more recent film as director, Night Will Fall (following the restoration and release of the 1945 US and UK government propaganda film ‘German Concentration Camps, a Factual Survey’ has been a major festival and broadcast success winning two Focal Awards, the Royal Television Society Award, the Peabody Award and the Emmy for best history documentary.
In 2016 he produced the Werner Herzog film (with whom he has collaborated on 14 other productions) about mankind’s relationship with volcanoes (Into the Inferno);and similarly produced the Herzog and co-director Clive Oppenheimer’s film about mankind’s relationship with meteorites called Fireball : Visitors from Darker Worlds released in 2020. In 2017, Singer directed a film (Where the Wind Blew) about nuclear weapon testing in Kazakhstan and Nevada which won the Raven Award for best Documentary Feature at DocUtah in 2017. A further film, co-directed with Werner Herzog, is about the legacy of Mikhail Gorbachev (Meeting Gorbachev) was completed in 2018 and broadcast in 2019. André Singer is CEO of London-based production company, Spring Films Ltd, and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. From 2014 to 2018 he was President of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland and is currently Emeritus President of the RAI.
BERLINALE 2014 - WORK IN PROGRESS〡SHEFFIELD DOC FEST 2014〡JERUSALEM FILM FESTIVAL 2014〡HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2014〡CPH:DOX 2014〡THESSALONIKI 2014〡DOC EDGE NEW ZEALAND 2014〡IDFA 2014
"The hell of the Holocaust rises again in this remarkable account of how Britain’s army film unit commissioned producerSidney Bernstein to make a documentary record of the Nazi death camps, using horrific footage pouring in from the liberation of Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Auschwitz and elsewhere... It
exposes once again the obscenity of Holocaust denial. This is an extraordinary record. But be warned. Once seen, these images cannot be unseen."
- The Guardian
"A shocking and moving account of how the Bernstein documentary was shot, edited and shelved."
- The Independent
"A striking, moving, challenging and often quite harrowing film ,elegantly assembled by AndréSinger."
- Screen Daily
"It is tough but compelling viewing. Singer's take is unflinching."
- The Times