Montreal team wins Oscar for Best Short Documentary
Published Sunday, March 2, 2014 10:12PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 4:08PM EST
A Montreal film production team pulled off a major victory Sunday at the Academy Awards as “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” won for Best Short Documentary.
The 38-minute film was co-produced by Montreal’s Frederic Bohbot and directed by Montreal-based director Malcolm Clarke, while a variety of other Montrealers contributed to its success.
Sadly, the film’s subject Alice Herz-Sommer, the world's oldest known Holocaust survivor at the time of filming, died last week at the age of 110.
“So this really is for Alice,” Clarke says in accepting his award. “She was a woman who taught everyone on our crew to be a little bit more optimistic and a little bit more happy about the things going on in our lives. See the film; she’ll help you live a much happier life.”
Speaking to CTV Montreal via Skype, Bohbot described his Oscar experience.
“The section we were in was all the short documentaries and animated films so there was a nice community of people around us and everyone around us was excited for everyone else too when their films would come up. It was a really great experience,” he said.
Bohbot said the most remarkable part of the experience wasn’t the statue; it was meeting Herz-Sommer.
“I'm describing her now and I'm realizing more and more that she's quite possibly the most extraordinary person I've ever met. She's someone who endured more hardship than many of us think we could stand and survive and she went through all that and remained probably one of the most optimistic people you'd ever meet,” he said.
In a prior interview with CTV Montreal, Bohbot said the idea to make a documentary about Herz-Sommer came about from a persistent friend in New York City.
The crew eventually set off for London where they quickly organized the filming of the documentary of the then 107-year-old.
"What stood out for me was her spirit, her unbreakable spirit and her optimism," Bohbot said.
"She went through so many hardships and still had no resentment or anger. She was more zen than the Dalai Lama. There was no philosophy or religion on it. She didn’t need any of that; she just had this innate ability to see the beauty in even the bad things in her life.”
Bohbot had said that he hoped that a victory would encourage more funding of documentary film in Canada.
“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” is playing at Cinema du Parc this week, and will be available on Netflix as of April.
Producer Frederic Bohbot, seen here in an interview with CTV Montreal's Kevin Gallagher, was part of the Oscar-winning documentary crew. (CTV Montreal)