Venus Screening in New York

March 4, 2020

Venus, a short film made in Vienna, Austria is screening on March 17, 2020 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Downtown Brooklyn (445 Albee Square West Brooklyn, NY 11201) as part of the Fulbright NY film series.

Venus is a silent encounter with the Anatomical Venus, an enigmatic 18th century wax model in the Josephinum Medical Museum in Vienna. Venus examines, explores, circles around, reveal and conceals the anatomical Venus.

The Anatomical Venus (originally named the Medici Venus, also referred to as the Medical Venus) is the centerpiece of a collection of 1,192 18th century Italian wax anatomical models kept in the Josephinum Medical Museum.  A life-sized model, she lies in a coffin of Venetian glass and rosewood lined with silk. From the top of her head, lush blond hair (human hair) held in place by a golden headband, to the base of her throat, over which rests a strand of pearls, she is sealed and serene, presented as an example of feminine beauty on display. A few inches below the pearls however, her chest is cut open, and her internal organs revealed. Medical students were able to disassemble her, into 281 pieces.

One afternoon when I was filming, a tour guide led a group in, saying “Look at the sleeping beauty, she is just waiting for her prince to kiss her and wake her up.” But she is not sleeping. Her eyes are wide open. Her head is tilted to the side, neck arched, and it has been written that she has an  expression “between ecstasy and agony”(1) and  performs the “idealization of the death agony of a young, beautiful woman, thereby capturing the essence of Eros and Thanatos.”(2) Paul Sonne, in a review of an exhibit at the Wellcome Collection in London featuring a small Venus writes that her “head  and expression resemble an angelic Renaissance saint.” The Venus in Vienna is calm and steady, gazing through and beyond the viewer.

(1) Roberta Ballestriero, “Anatomical models and wax Venuses: art masterpieces or scientific craft works?” Journal of Anatomy, November 25, 2009 (2) Ballestriero, op cit.

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My Knees Were Jumping; Remembering the Kindertransports Screening in New York

January 20, 2019

My Knees Were Jumping is showing at the Center for Jewish History, followed by a conversation with Director Melissa Hacker and journalist and KT2 Uri Berliner.

Wednesday March 13, 6:30pm

The Center for Jewish History

15 W. 16th St.
New York, NY 10011

Tickets $10, to purchase

This event is co-presented by the Leo Baeck Institute and Yeshiva University Museum and in conjunction with the exhibition Kindertransport: Rescuing Children on the Brink of War.

Ruth Birnholz and parents, in the Austrian countryside, before the Kindertransports.


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My Knees Were Jumping Remembering the Kindertransports screening in Belfast

July 16, 2017

My Knees Were Jumping is showing in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Thursday July 27, followed by a conversation with Director Melissa Hacker.

There is a local connection, as the Jewish community in Belfast took in Kindertransport children, at Millisle Farm, in County Down, and in homes in Belfast.

This event is free but booking is recommended. Book a place by emailing hello@digitalartsstudios.com with your name and number of seats required or telephone 02890 312900 to book.

Date: 27/07/17
Time: 1.30pm
Location: Green Room Café at The Black Box, 18-22 Hill Street, Belfast , BT1 2LA

Hosted by Digital Arts Studios

Kindertransport children arriving at Harwich. From train to ferry to train to….


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My Knees Were Jumping Remembering the Kindertransports screening in Vienna

March 5, 2017

The very first public showing of My Knees Were Jumping in Vienna!

Director Melissa Hacker will participate in a post-screening discussion with the writer Doron Rabinovici

Thursday March 23, 4pm at the Votivkino, Währinger Straße 12, 1090 Wien

Hosted by the Jewish Welcome Service in cooperation with Psychosoziales Zentrum ESRA und Votivkino, sponsored by the City of Vienna

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Ex Libris in Los Angeles

November 27, 2016

A work-in-progress excerpt screened November 6th at the 38th annual World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Descendants Conference, on a panel on The Use of Art in the Transmission of Memory and Helping the Holocaust Survivor Community.

My grandfather’s apotheke in Vienna after the war.

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My Knees Were Jumping Remembering the Kindertransports screening in Florida

November 16, 2015

My Knees Were Jumping is showing in Seaside, Florida on Thursday November 19, 6pm at the Seaside Institute, followed by a conversation with Director Melissa Hacker.

168 Smolian Circle,Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, 32459

Parents and children separating, Prague, 1939


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Ex Libris in Havana

June 24, 2015

While I was in Havana spring semester teaching a Documentary Film Production course for New York University, the Ludwig Foundation hosted a screening of my work, including a work-in-progress of Ex Libris. The beautiful sunset was a special treat.


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Ex Libris goes to Oregon!

February 13, 2013

Playa Sunrise

I was invited to my first artist residency, at Playa, in Summer Lake, Oregon.
For details, please read the latest blog post.

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Ex Libris sneak preview

February 3, 2012

On Saturday February 10, a seven minute trailer for the work in progress will be screened at UnionDocs in Brooklyn, New York, as part of the New York Foundation for the Arts Bootstrap Festival.

Director Melissa Hacker will be there for a post screening discussion, and her video Venus will screen on Friday February 10 and Saturday February 11.

Saturday February 10, 7:30pm, UnionDocs 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211. To buy tickets.

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Letters Home screening in New York

January 3, 2012

Letters Home,  “an elegantly made short based on correspondence from the director’s great-aunt Freda, written as she traveled through Germany and Austria in the American Army Women’s Corps in 1945” is screening in New York City, as part of the New York Jewish Film Festival on January 12, at 1:30 and 6pm.

Letters Home uses letters Freda Birnholz wrote to her brother, Marco Birnholz, the subject of Ex Libris. Director Melissa Hacker will attend both screenings.

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