The Photographer | JFI Online Short December 2022

Jewish Film Institute
2 min readDec 6, 2022


The Jewish Film Institute is pleased to present The Photographer as the Online Short of the Month for December. Read a short interview with director
Emily Pasternak.

About the Film: When the Nazis murdered Faye Schulman’s family, she survived because she could operate a camera. She later joined the resistance and became one of the only known Jewish partisan photographers of WWII.

Jewish Film Institute: Can you talk about the role of the camera in Faye Shulman’s life and how this impacted the visual language of the film?

Emily Pasternak: Faye’s camerawork had a significant influence on The Photographer’s style and visual language. We designed our animated segment to mimic the analog photo development project, hoping to evoke the process Faye engaged in every day. The team also incorporated historical images of Faye’s village, using her photos of herself and her family as a reference for their animated depictions. We hope to bring the viewer into Faye’s world, featuring and mimicking her personal artistic style as much as possible.

JFI: How can telling the stories of Jewish Partisans deepen our understanding of Jewish survival and resistance during the Holocaust?

EP: While a multitude of films center on the Holocaust, relatively few centre on Jewish resistance. Partisan stories are a particularly important element of Holocaust history, reminding viewers that Holocaust victims possessed agency, resilience, and hope. For viewers outside of the community, or those who know very little about the Holocaust, such stories serve as a reminder of each person’s agency and counter the all-too-common narrative that Jews were simply passive “lambs to the slaughter.”

JFI: What do you want audiences to learn from the story of Faye Shulman?

EP: Audiences need to know that Jews weren’t passive during the Holocaust. Thousands upon thousands of Jews fought as partisans in the woods while others launched uprisings in ghettos and concentration camps across occupied Europe. I hope Faye’s story — and her talent — might prompt viewers to research and explore this all-too-often overlooked part of World War Two history.

About the Filmmaker: The granddaughter of Holocaust refugees turned away from Canada’s borders, Pasternak’s work focuses primarily on intergenerational trauma, modern-day human rights atrocities, and social justice initiatives.

JFI Online Shorts features one new short film each month from emerging and established filmmakers. Since 2009, JFI has showcased over 100 online shorts and garnered worldwide views over 2 million on the JFI Youtube channel. Learn more at



Jewish Film Institute

The Jewish Film Institute, based in San Francisco, champions bold films and filmmakers that expand and evolve the Jewish story for audiences everywhere.