Cheryl Rattner Price

Directors’ Comment When artist Cheryl Rattner-Price and educator Jan Landau launched The Butterfly Project in 2006, there was no thought of making a film. That would come later, after Cheryl – who was not a filmmaker – had been videotaping footage of young people and Holocaust survivors painting ceramic butterflies and turning them into displays commemorating the 1.5 million children murdered in the Holocaust. The project was inspired by the book I Never Saw Another Butterfly, a collection of art and poetry created by children imprisoned at Terezin (Theresienstadt), and the documentary Paper Clips, which chronicles the efforts of a Tennessee middle school class to collect 6 million paper clips to represent the 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis. Cheryl and Jan recognized that the camera was capturing something that needed to be shared. Students were genuinely identifying with the lost lives they were learning about. Survivors were being comforted that their own legacies would live on. Teachers were accomplishing their goals of making history meaningful. Art was bringing communities of all backgrounds together, helping students to recognize their responsibility to stand up to injustice in their own communities and to bring a bit of healing to this tragic history. People of differing ages, religions and backgrounds were generating a real sense of community as they sat together, painting butterflies. And for a ceramic artist like Cheryl, the manifestation of art as a therapeutic tool was thrilling. That’s when Cheryl asked Joe Fab to help her shape a story around the project – a fitting idea, since Joe created the Emmy-nominated film Paper Clips. What followed was a filmmaking collaboration built around a shared passion for Holocaust education, the enthusiasm of students, the inspiration of survivors and, most certainly, a commitment that those young lives be honored. The result – NOT The Last Butterfly – is being recognized by festival audiences as both a moving documentary and a profound learning opportunity. Whenever possible, the filmmakers encourage that screenings include a chance for audience members to paint butterflies, which is something The Butterfly Project can help presenters facilitate. Not only does this add to the overall experience of seeing the documentary, but it also helps bring the project closer to its goal of 1.5 million ceramic butterflies in installations around the world. So far, about 150,000 butterflies are displayed at locations across the U.S. and in Australia, Israel, Poland, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Canada and other countries. ###

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