© 2018 NANA by Dyamant Pictures

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NANA is a feature-length transgenerational documentary. The filmmaker retraces her grandmother's Auschwitz survival story, and investigates how her life-long fight against intolerance can be taught to the new generations.

Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant, born in Poland, survived Ravensbruck, Malchow, and Auschwitz, where she was the forced translator of the “Angel of Death”, Dr. Mengele. She dedicated her post-war life to publicly speaking of her survival to the young generations, so that it would never be forgotten or repeated. Alice and Serena, her daughter and granddaughter, explore how Maryla’s fight against intolerance can continue today, in a world where survivors are disappearing, and intolerance, racism and antisemitism are on the rise.

 
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Serena Dykman

Director | Writer | Producer

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New York-based award winning filmmaking from France and Belgium.

Founder and President of Dyamant Pictures.

Alice Michalowski

Producer

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Brussels-based producer, writer, and educator. 

Corentin Soibinet

Editor | Associate Producer | Co-writer

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New York and San Francisco-based editor and videographer from France. 

David Breger

Co-Writer

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New York and Paris-based journalist. 

Julia Elaine Mills

&

Nick Walker 

Cinematographers

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New York-based award-winning cinematograhers and producers. 

Team

 

Director:

Serena Dykman

Producers:

Serena Dykman, Alice Michalowski, Stephane Dykman

Associate Producers:

Larissa Foulon, Corentin Soibinet, Johannes Blum

Writers:

Serena Dykman with David Breger & Corentin Soibinet

Editor:

Corentin Soibinet

 

Directors of Photography:

Nick Walker & Julia Elaine Mills

 

Post Sound:

Charles de Montebello

 

Original Music & Piano:

Carine Gutlerner

 

Motion graphic design & animation:

Alex Noble

Team

Press

Village Voice

“Dykman does well to let her grandmother anchor the film: Michalowski-Dyamant’s charisma and pathos shine through countless cuts of archival footage. More often than not, Michalowski-Dyamant is refreshingly blunt, whether speaking about the last time she saw her mother or cracking one-liners. “How do you like my apartment?” she jokes to a group of students touring the camp barracks, her gallows humor tempering the bleakness.”

BUST

"Often when we talk about the Holocaust, we mention the six million Jews who perished and forget about the millions of people who were targeted and killed for their sexual orientation, ethnicity or political beliefs. NANA, however, does not make that mistake. As a Jewish woman, Maryla was in the position to share only Jewish perspectives and experiences—but throughout her years of work, she reminds us constantly that the story of the Holocaust, and of genocide in general, is not just about Jewish people. "

Film Monthly

"As an African-American, I do realize the horrors of the Slave Trade and Middle Passage. I have seen movies and heard accounts, and even read a couple of Slave Narratives. I understand about the lives lost and the atrocities that would compel my ancestors to jump into the ocean, as opposed to being sold as chattel to men who could not have been human. But to have Ms. Maryla tell her story in her own words—while her brave heart was yet beating—was a tear-jerker. However, it was the most educational and visual film that I have seen so far about that time in history."

WAMC

“What makes Dykman’s film powerful is the forceful personality and intelligence of Nana. […] Intolerance continues across the world and in our own front and back yards. Nana is no longer here to be an activist for a better world. It is as important now, as ever, to understand that narrow-mindedness can lead to intolerance and racism, and such hatred can lead to the torture and genocide of innocent people.”

Our Town

A granddaughter bears witness

“For the skeptics, Dykman’s youth is in fact one of the film’s strengths. This is a story of Holocaust survival, but it is also a master class in transmission. "

Participation of Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the EC, in the screening of the film "Nana" on the occasion of the Holocaust Remembrance Day: interview

"Frans TIMMERMANS, First Vice-President of the EC in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, attends in Bozar the screening of the film "Nana" on the occasion of the Holocaust Remembrance Day"

Steven Spielberg's USC Shoah Foundation

"After Maryla described her experiences – she was deported from Bedzin, Poland, to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where she was forced to work as Dr. Josef Mengele’s translator, and survived a death march to Ravensbuck and Malchow concentration camps – the interviewer asked if there was anything she wanted to say to her granddaughter, Serena. Maryla said she hoped Serena “does everything so it doesn’t happen again.” As a young filmmaker, Serena is now fulfilling her grandmother’s wish"

Below The Line Podcast

"Serena Dykman talks about her documentary 'Nana' that tells the story of her grandmother's fight against intolerance, Stephen King's detective stories, and what Pretty Woman could have been."

BUST Magazine 8 Up-And-Coming Women Directors To Watch

"Dykman and her mother retrace the steps of Dykman’s late grandmother Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant, a Holocaust survivor and activist, in this documentary. Dykman also speaks with other Holocaust survivors, friends of her grandmother’s, and activists as she grapples with questions of what it means to inherit trauma."

Transgenerational Remembrance

"Nana is empirically significant as it showcases Maryla’s suffering and triumph of will so thoroughly. We see this through her archival footage as she describes her agonizing experience as a translator for Dr. Mengele at Auschwitz, amongst other things, and also in interviews with Holocaust scholars she had worked with. Maryla’s hopes for a more tolerant world and her efforts in Holocaust education were expressed to a profound effect by both her and her colleagues."

Reviews by Amos Lassen

"Although the content is often heavy, it is filled with moments of hope and joy. Michalowski-Dyamant is funny and her sense of humor runs deep and at the end of the credits there are some real gems that come in the outtakes."

Chagrin Documentary Film Fest Announces Film Selections for 8th Annual Festival

"The Chagrin Documentary Film Festival has been named one of Movie Maker Magazine’s Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee for the fifth year in a row. The magazine credits the remarkable welcome which the Festival and entire community extends to visiting film directors."

Fargo Film Fest winner of Best Documentary Feature wit Bob Harris on KFGO (radio)

Meet Serena Dykman, winner of the Bill Snyder Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2017 Fargo Film Festival! Serena describes the film as a "transgenerational documentary on tolerance", as she retraces her grandmother's  survival story in the Auschwitz concentration camp . 

Palm Beach Post "What celebrity icon is being honored in Boca Raton?"

“Nana,” a documentary by Serena Dykman on her grandmother, who survived the Auschwitz death camp in World War II. Dykman will appear at the 1 p.m. March 29 showing at the Palace."

Inforum

What Women on a roll: Female directors dominate at Fargo Film Festival

Prairie Public Broadcasting (TV)

Matt Olien and Brittney Goodman co-host the Fargo Film Festival Preview Show, showing clips from the winning films entered in the 17th annual Fargo Film Festival, which runs March 21-25, 2017. Winning films include "Always Shine" "The Search" "Bon Voyage" "The Little Dictator" "Gratus" "Taking Flight" "Nana" and "Refugee"

Anchorage Press

"This content is rich, captivating and speaks volumes to the political situation then and now. Michalowski-Dyamant was more than a survivor, she was one of the few beacons of light remaining after the Holocaust. Her story transcends because she is brilliant and compassionate and can’t help but make connections between suffering, history and hope."

Jewcy Magazine

"If you believe that you have seen every statement of resilience and every vision of horror eloquently related, you will find a renewed and different connection to the legacy of the Shoah after you see this film."

St. Louis Jewish Light

"Director Serena Dykman was aware that her grandmother had been at Auschwitz but knew few details until, as an adult, she read her memoir."

Mamalode

"Serena's latest film, NANA, is a beautiful and moving multi-generational documentary that reminds us what can happen in a world of intolerance. The film is a tribute to her grandmother, and an expression of Serena's deeply held and very personal commitment to acceptance."

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EJC and European Commission host screening of the film NANA

"Among other things, the panel discussed the common responsibility of Europeans to never forget the lessons of the Shoah: “The European Union was born in Buchenwald. Hatred of Jews is today exploited for political gain. If we stay silent on that, the European project will fail.” said First Vice-President Timmermans.  “We need to teach people at a young age. This is not only the story of the Jews, it belongs to humanity as a whole”, added Serena Dykman."

The Hollywood Reporter

“She passed away 15 years ago, but Holocaust survivor Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant feels very much alive in the documentary made by her granddaughter, Serena Dykman. Nana proves another valuable addition to the Holocaust documentary canon, exploring Maryla's important legacy in devoting much of her later years to educating people about the horrors she experienced and witnessed.”

The Independent Critic

"At a time when anti-semitism is on the rise and political wheels have turned a potentially dangerous direction in multiple nations, Nana is a timely and unforgettable call to action to rise up and do something before it's too late."

This Week in New York

“Serena is now keeping her grandmother’s legacy alive at a time when there are fewer and fewer survivors and witnesses and more and more white supremacists and fascist leaders around the globe. But like her grandmother, Serena is filled with the hope that things can change, and films like Nana, which has won awards at numerous international festivals, need to be made and widely seen to accomplish just that.”

The Telegraph

‘Nana,’ the world’s most badass grandmother “This hilarity from the world’s most badass grandmother brings light into the dark tale, and makes “Nana” an absolutely gripping feature film and a well-deserved winner at many international film festivals.”

Talkhouse

“On Being a Millennial Making a Holocaust Film: Serena Dykman shares her experiences making her directorial debut, Nana, which is released this week.”

Trust Movies

"This is one of the best, most explicit, deep and profound explanations by a Holocaust survivor that I have yet encountered."

Broadway World "Award-Winning Doc NANA Opens 4/13 in NY"

"First Run Features is proud to announce the New York premiere of NANA, directed by Serena Dykman. The film, which documents Dykman's journey with her mother Alice as they retrace her grandmother's Auschwitz survival story, opens April 13, 2018 at the Cinema Village, to coincide withYom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day."

Manahttan Neighborhood Network - Imagining NANA (Television)

KIDS FIRST ! NANA – Deeply Touching Documentary about A Nana Who Survived the Holocaust

"This inspirational film is a must see. A story within a story, there are so many authentic personal stories including her memoir writer collaborator, recorder of survivor testimonies, Jewish history teacher and educational project designer among those who knew her well. Ms. Dykman’s footage is complemented by the archival footage that turned up unexpectedly."

Screening the Holocaust film series returns for a second year

"Miriam Klein Kassenoff, director of the Holocaust Teacher Institute, said, "Not only is 'Nana' a gem of a film because of its intergenerational commentary on how the Holocaust impacted a daughter and granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, but also for its historical information narrated by granddaughter Serena. This film without any images of terror manages still to tell the history with a heartfelt gentleness."

A Women's Thing

Meet the 24-Year-Old Filmmaker Behind the Holocaust Documentary NANA

Cleveland Jewish News

"“Nana,” which is about Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant. She spent years in the ghetto and the camps in Poland and served as the translator for the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele in Auschwitz."  

PlumbTalk - Interview with Serena Dykman (live video interview)

Dr. Shelly Plumb interviews NANA filmmaker Serena Dykman before the Florida premiere of NANA at the Palm Beach International Film Festival. 

The WEI network (radio)

Peter's LivingRoom radio interview - Serena Dykman at the Palm Beach International Film Festival 

Fargo Underground

The Fargo Film Festival is proud to announce the regional premiere of “Nana,” with special guest, director Serena Dykman.

2017 Fargo Film Festival Preview

“Nana,” directed by Serena Dykman, is another must-see. Winner of the festival’s best documentary award, the film follows Dykman as she traces her grandmother’s Auschwitz survival story through Europe. Dykman will attend the festival.

Jewschool

 "Identity is changing among young Jews, but our generation’s unique retelling of the Shoah has yet to be really heard. That’s why I was excited when I learned about young filmmaker Serena Dykman’s “transgenerational” documentary about the Holocaust. What is a Holocaust film though a Millennial’s lens? When the last Holocaust survivor passes away, how will our generation carry on the community memory?​"

New Voices

" She believed that she had an advantage as a filmmaker to reach the millennial generation and those to come, so that the Holocaust would never be forgotten. Nana, her documentary on her grandmother, Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant, began."

CCLJ (French)

"Elle a aujourd’hui 23 ans, l’âge qu’avait sa grand-mère lorsqu’elle a été déportée. Et c’est pour perpétuer le message d’ouverture et de tolérance qui lui a été transmis qu’elle a souhaité faire ce film Nana. Un magnifique hommage de la 3egénération pour prévenir la jeunesse de ce qui peut arriver de pire."

Le Suricate (French)

"Il s’agit d’un véritable trio de femmes résistantes et se battant inlassablement pour un avenir meilleur et tolérant. Elles apportent chacune ce que leur propre génération leur a appris tout en se nourrissant de l’expérience des deux autres." 

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Quotes & Testimonials

"I am pleased that I had an opportunity to view your documentary, which I found to be very well done, as well as, very  interesting. NANA must have been proud of your work and determination to preserve her legacy."

- ​Hon. Robert Ogrodnik, Consul Emeritus Polish Consulate in Saint Louis

"C’était un très grand plaisir pour moi d’avoir pu assister à la première New Yorkaise de “Nana” et de saluer votre maman. Félicitations avec le beau travail, votre « Nana » aurait été très fière de vous si elle avait pu voir votre réalisation, comme je le suis également."

- Cathy Buggenhout- Consul General of Belgium (New York)

“It was a great honor for me to be able to attend the New York premiere of NANA, and to be able to say hello to your mother. Congratulations for this beautiful piece of work; would she have been able to see it, your Nana would have been very proud of you, and I am proud of you as well.” (translated from French)

- Cathy Buggenhout- Consul General of Belgium (New York)

“I found the film “NANA” to be a beautiful film for perfect use in the classroom. Not only is it a gem of a film because of its intergenerational commentary on how the Holocaust impacted a daughter and granddaughter of survivor NANA, but also for its historical information. A gem of a new film—I highly recommend it –Thank you Serena for this gift of a film for many generations to learn from, to share and to teach.”

- Dr Miriam Klein Kassenoff, Education /Curriculm Specialist Holocaust Studies, 

Miami Dade County Public Schools, Director, University of Miami Holocaust Institute

“I just finished being captivated and deeply moved by your documentary NANA. I felt compelled to write you. It's impossible to underestimate the importance of your dedication to keeping your grandmother's legacy and message alive. The film made me laugh and cry. It opened my heart to the power of the human spirit and love. The message of tolerance rings loud and clear. This film and your grandmother's legacy will live with me for the rest of my days. Thank you for making it.”

- Mark Hoffe (Newfoundland, Canada)

"I had the wonderful opportunity to not only attend the screening of the film, "Nana - A Documentary," but also to meet this extraordinary young woman who is continuing her grandmother's legacy of teaching tolerance."

- Joan Darco (Fargo, ND)

“Your work is a wonder that NEEDS that widespread distribution”

- Theodore Kleinman (Fargo, ND)

"Thank you for coming! It was an incredible film!"

-Jen Anderson (Fargo, ND)

"I was fortunate to be in the audience watching this film....a must see for everyone… "

Deb Hill (Fargo, ND)

"Hi Serena, just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed seeing your documentary, full of heart and profound! Thank you for sharing her story, I know she is  so proud of you and all of the hard work you put into this project.  You have a true gift!"