Watchers of the Sky

"Fiery...Essential. An impassioned call to conscience." - Entertainment Weekly


 
Watchers of the Sky

Watchers of the Sky

About the Film

With his provocative question, “why is the killing of a million a lesser crime than the killing of an individual?” Raphael Lemkin changed the course of history.  An extraordinary testament to one man’s perseverance, the Sundance award-winning film Watchers of the Sky examines the life and legacy of the Polish-Jewish lawyer and linguist who coined the term genocide.  Before Lemkin, the notion of accountability for war crimes was virtually non-existent.  After experiencing the barbarity of the Holocaust firsthand, he devoted his life to convincing the international community that there must be legal retribution for mass atrocities targeted at minorities. An impassioned visionary, Lemkin confronted world apathy in a tireless battle for justice, setting the stage for the creation of the International Criminal Court.

Inspired by Samantha Power’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Problem From Hell, this multi-faceted documentary interweaves Raphael Lemkin’s struggle with the courageous efforts of four individuals keeping his legacy alive: Luis Moreno Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the ICC; Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Ben Ferencz, a former Nuremberg prosecutor still tenaciously lobbying the UN for peace, and Rwandan Emmanuel Uwurukundo, UN Refugee Agency Field Director in Chad.  Alternating live interviews with rare archival footage and striking animation, Watchers of the Sky illuminates the compassion and bravery of these humanitarians and powerfully demonstrates the ability of global activism to give a voice to the silent victims of genocide.

Film website: http://www.watchersofthesky.com

Director: Edet Belzberg

Reactions

"Fiery...Essential. An impassioned call to conscience." - Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

4 STARS "Essential viewing. A story of how committed people have fought and struggled to create the possibility for hope." - Keith Phipps, The Dissolve

4 STARS "An intricate and immensely powerful documentary...urgent and humane." - Shelia O'Malley, RogerEbert.com

"An impressive and artful cinematic thesis of palpable substance." - Dennis Harvey, Variety

"This smartly and conscientiously crafted film is a powerful wake-up call." - Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter

"Fascinating...A story of the utmost righteousness and human compassion." - Daniel Fienberg, HitFix

Evocative animation, haunting imagery and humbling personal stories..."  - Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

3.5 Stars “Soulful and Moving.” - Sean P. Means, Salt Lake Tribune

Awards & Festivals

  • Winner! Sundance Film Festival 2014 - U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for Use of Animation
  • Winner! Sundance Festival 2014 - Editing Award: U.S. Documentary
  • Winner! Jerusalem Film Festival 2014 - Ostrovsky Award for Best Documentary
  • Winner! Monadnock International Film Festival - Jonathan Daniels Award

Cast & Crew

Featuring

Samantha Power
Benjamin Ferencz
Emmanuel Uwurukundo
Luis Moreno-Ocampo

Crew

Director: Edet Belzberg
Producers: Edet Belzberg, Amelia Green-Dove, Kerry Propper
Executiive Producers: Elizabeth Bohart, Stanley Buchthal, Lisa Kleiner Chanoff
Editors: Jenny Golden, Karen K.H. Sim
Additional Editing:
Bernadine Colish 
Lead Design & Animation: Molly Schwartz 
Design & Animation: Garry Waller, Dana Schechter, Eyal Ohana 
Cinematographers: Edet Belzberg, Sam Cullman, Mai Iskander, Martina Radwan, Bob Richman, Jerry Risius, Nelson Walker III 

Technical Info

Production Year: 2014
Countries of Production: US
Languages: English
Running Time: 2h 1m
Screen Ratio: 1.78:1
Color: Yes

Theaters

New York
New York
10/17/14
Encino
California
10/17/14
Los Angeles
California
10/17/14
Irvine
California
10/17/14
Palm Springs
California
10/24/14
Washington
District of Columbia
10/24/14
New York
New York
10/24/14
Beverly Hills
California
10/31/14
Chicago
Illinois
11/7/14
Coral Gables
Florida
11/7/14
Cambridge
Massachusetts
11/8/14
Detroit
Michigan
11/21/14
Boca Raton
Florida
11/21/14
Columbus
Ohio
12/4/14
Santa Fe
New Mexico
12/5/14
1/16/15

Watchers of the Sky - Press Page

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Awards & Festivals

  • Winner! Sundance Film Festival 2014 - U.S. Documentary Special Jury Prize for Use of Animation
  • Winner! Sundance Festival 2014 - Editing Award: U.S. Documentary
  • Winner! Jerusalem Film Festival 2014 - Ostrovsky Award for Best Documentary
  • Winner! Monadnock International Film Festival - Jonathan Daniels Award

Reactions

"Fiery...Essential. An impassioned call to conscience." - Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

4 STARS "Essential viewing. A story of how committed people have fought and struggled to create the possibility for hope." - Keith Phipps, The Dissolve

4 STARS "An intricate and immensely powerful documentary...urgent and humane." - Shelia O'Malley, RogerEbert.com

"An impressive and artful cinematic thesis of palpable substance." - Dennis Harvey, Variety

"This smartly and conscientiously crafted film is a powerful wake-up call." - Duane Byrge, The Hollywood Reporter

"Fascinating...A story of the utmost righteousness and human compassion." - Daniel Fienberg, HitFix

Evocative animation, haunting imagery and humbling personal stories..."  - Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

3.5 Stars “Soulful and Moving.” - Sean P. Means, Salt Lake Tribune

Detailed Film Info

With his provocative question, “why is the killing of a million a lesser crime than the killing of an individual?” Raphael Lemkin changed the course of history.  An extraordinary testament to one man’s perseverance, the Sundance award-winning film Watchers of the Sky examines the life and legacy of the Polish-Jewish lawyer and linguist who coined the term genocide.  Before Lemkin, the notion of accountability for war crimes was virtually non-existent.  After experiencing the barbarity of the Holocaust firsthand, he devoted his life to convincing the international community that there must be legal retribution for mass atrocities targeted at minorities. An impassioned visionary, Lemkin confronted world apathy in a tireless battle for justice, setting the stage for the creation of the International Criminal Court.

Inspired by Samantha Power’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Problem From Hell, this multi-faceted documentary interweaves Raphael Lemkin’s struggle with the courageous efforts of four individuals keeping his legacy alive: Luis Moreno Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the ICC; Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Ben Ferencz, a former Nuremberg prosecutor still tenaciously lobbying the UN for peace, and Rwandan Emmanuel Uwurukundo, UN Refugee Agency Field Director in Chad.  Alternating live interviews with rare archival footage and striking animation, Watchers of the Sky illuminates the compassion and bravery of these humanitarians and powerfully demonstrates the ability of global activism to give a voice to the silent victims of genocide.

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