Film Screening of “40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy” 10/26 at Seton Hill includes Panel Discussion featuring director Robert Lemelson
The Seton Hill University National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education will host a film screening of “40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy” on Monday, October 26, at 7 p.m. in Cecilian Hall on the University’s hilltop campus in Greensburg, Pa.
This event is part of the Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference scheduled from Sunday, October 25 through Tuesday, October 27. The film screening is open to the public and there is no charge to attend. To register, call 724-830-1855. For conference details, visit http://ncche.setonhill.edu.
Directed by anthropologist Robert Lemelson and edited by two-time Academy Award winner Pietro Scalia, “40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy” is a moving feature length documentary film about one of the most horrific chapters in Indonesian history.
The film will be screened and Lemelson, who has worked in Indonesia every year since 1993, will discuss issues raised through the film with panelists Carol Rittner, R.S.M., The Marsha R. Grossman Distinguished Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey; Michael Cary, Ph.D., professor of history and political science at Seton Hill University; and James Paharik, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology and advisor for the Genocide and Holocaust Studies Program at Seton Hill University.
According to Lemelson, “The film tells a very poignant and moving story. It is our hope that more people in the world are aware of this tragic history. It is also our hope that Indonesians become more aware of this history, from the perspective of the victims. Understanding and telling this history is long overdue in modern Indonesia. It is also a vital process to ensure that this history is never repeated.”
In one of the largest unknown mass-killings of the 20th century, an estimated 500,000 to one million people were secretly and systematically killed in 1965-1966. Under General Suharto’s authoritarian rule, any discussion, recognition, or memorializing of the mass killings that differed from Suharto’s official state narrative was quickly suppressed. This violence was hidden from the world for nearly 40 years, hence the title of the film. “40 Years of Silence: An Indonesian Tragedy” follows the compelling testimonies of four individuals and their families from Central Java and Bali, two regions heavily affected by the genocide. In chilling detail, the individuals describe the events of 1965 through their own experiences, re-living and reflecting upon the stigmatization and brutalization they continue to endure on both the village and state levels.
Robert Lemelson, director/producer, is a documentary filmmaker and psychological anthropologist whose work focuses on personal experience, culture, and mental illness in Indonesia and the United States. Lemelson has been conducting anthropological research in Indonesia since 1993. He is currently a research anthropologist at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).
Pietro Scalia, supervising editor, has won two Academy Awards for Best Editing including “JFK” by Oliver Stone and “Black Hawk Down” by Ridley Scott. His other editing credits include “Body of Lies,” “American Gangster,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Hannibal,” “Good Will Hunting,” “The Quick and The Dead,” “Stealing Beauty,” and “Little Buddha.”
The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference seeks to enhance Catholic-Jewish understanding by educating the educators. The Conference will equip teachers and faculty members, especially those at Catholic institutions, to enter into serious discussions on the causes of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, and to write and deliver papers that shape appropriate curricular responses at Catholic institutions and other educational sites.
The 2009 Holocaust Education Conference at Seton Hill is made possible by benefactor Ethel LeFrak. In 2008, Mrs. LeFrak, a noted New York philanthropist, presented the Seton Hill University National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education with a munificent gift to endow The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference and create The Ethel LeFrak Student Scholars of the Holocaust Fund.
A graduate and trustee of Barnard College, Ethel LeFrak has been active as a trustee or member of the board of directors for many cultural, philanthropic, educational and medical institutions, including serving as a trustee of the Cardozo Law School, vice president of the Little Orchestra Society, trustee of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, trustee of the Albert Einstein Medical College, and patron of the Asia Society.
A member of the Metropolitan Opera’s “Golden Horseshoe” and “Opera Club,” Ethel LeFrak also has been a patron of Lincoln Center, a conservator of the New York Public Library, a member of the Council of the Salk Institute, and a member of the Board of the United Nations International Hospitality Committee, which was instrumental in having her and her husband, the late Dr. Samuel J. LeFrak, honored with the United Nations’ “Distinguished Citizens of the World” Award in 1994.
In 1996, Ethel LeFrak was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Seton Hill. In 1998, Marymount Manhattan College also presented her with an honorary degree.
With her husband, Ethel LeFrak co-authored two books on their family art collection, “Masters of the Modern Tradition” and “A Passion for Art.” The LeFrak collection has been hailed by Art and Antiques magazine as being one of America’s top 100 collections.
The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education (NCCHE) was established on the campus of Seton Hill University in 1987. Seton Hill initiated this national Catholic movement toward Holocaust studies in response to the urging of Pope John Paul II to recognize the significance of the Shoah, the Holocaust, and to "promote the necessary historical and religious studies on this event which concerns the whole of humanity today." The NCCHE has as its primary purpose the broad dissemination of scholarship on the root causes of anti-Semitism, its relation to the Holocaust, and the implications from the Catholic perspective of both for today's world. Toward this end the Center is committed to equipping scholars, especially those at Catholic institutions, to enter into serious discussion on the causes of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; shaping appropriate curricular responses at Catholic institutions and other educational sites; sustaining Seton Hill's Catholic Institute for Holocaust Studies in Israel through a cooperative program with Yad Vashem, the Isaac Jacob Institute for Religious Law, and Hebrew University; encouraging scholarship and research through conferences, publications, workshops for educators, and similar activities; sponsoring local events on the Holocaust and related topics in the University and the community, and enhancing Catholic-Jewish relations.