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Historic Holocaust documentary is inspiration for Oscar-nominated film

Historic Holocaust Documentary

Brunel graduate and first-time director Adam Benzine has traded magazine journalism for a shot at the Oscars after spotting a story that was too important not to be told.

Adam, who graduated with a BSc in multimedia technology and design in 2003, discovered he had been nominated for the world’s most glamourous cinematic award earlier this month – for his debut documentary about French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann.

Titled Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, Adam’s film tells the story of Lanzmann’s own seminal documentary about the Holocaust, Shoah, a project that consumed the director for 12 years.

In an interview with CBC News, Toronto-based Adam said it was “unimaginable” that no one had documented Lanzmann’s life before. A friend of Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre, he had fought for the French Resistance during the war before producing his epic 1985 masterpiece.

Adam told CBC News: “He had this giant, Hemingway-esque life of travel and adventure, so my first reaction was 'I've got to see a film about him. There must be one'. At that point he was 85 and, when I realised there hadn't been one, I thought it was really important to find him, to sit with him and talk to him about his life."

Before stepping behind the camera Adam wrote for and edited a series of trade magazines in the entertainment industry, including Music Week and Realscreen.

He will attend the 88th Academy Awards on 28 February with Lanzmann, now 90 years old, as his guest.

See the interview with CBC News here.