We’ve begun work on a documentary entitled “Sharing the Spotlight”, based on “Hiding in the Spotlight” by Greg Dawson. The film is being directed and produced by Director of Photographer Dan Beckman and Producer Sue Stauffer. A “work in progress” panel will feature “Sharing the Spotlight” at the Global Peace Film Festival on Friday, September 24th, in Orlando. In the book Greg Dawson, a columnist at the Orlando Sentinel, writes about his mother, pianist Zhanna Arshanskaya in an account reminiscent of Wladyslaw Szpilman’s The Pianist. As a child in the Ukraine, Zhanna was offered a scholarship to the Moscow State Conservatory.
Her life changed in 1941 when Nazis grouped her Jewish family with thousands to be executed; Zhanna and her sister, Frina, escaped to roam the countryside as fugitives, hiding and surviving. With a new name and a non-Jewish identity, Zhanna performed for unsuspecting Nazis. Arriving in New York in 1946, the sisters enrolled at Juilliard on scholarships. Zhanna married violist David Dawson, and the couple moved in 1948 to Bloomington, Ind., joining the music faculty at Indiana University.
The movie explores the story, how the book came about, and it’s lasting legacy. We hope to complete the film early next year.