It is hard to imagine the emotional and physical suffering of a young boy, who, between the ages of seven and nine and a half, had to hide in two different concentration camps because, if found, he would have been killed. It is hard to imagine that this boy – Sammy – would grow up to be the joyful, generous, positive and resilient adult that Sam Harris is today. Despite his suffering, Sam has thrived.
What is not hard to imagine, is why Eric Cosh and I, after hearing Sam’s story, felt compelled to make a documentary film about him. Getting to know Sam Harris, was for us, a journey of discovery. Having the privilege to get to know someone who had gone through so much and had emerged with a strong desire to celebrate the gift of life was an extraordinary experience. Sam’s curiosity about others and about the world in general, and his limitless caring for others, is, indeed, inspiring. So it is not hard to imagine why we wanted other people to hear Sam’s story, too, and also get to know him.
Eric Cosh filmed my interview of Sam – a conversation, really – in March 2013, which lasted for more than three hours. This was followed by research and more and more research. Eric filmed a lot of relevant material and we also had to go through the lengthy process of finding and acquiring additional visual material. We also interviewed many other people. We most certainly got to know Sam.
Then came the editorial decisions – many of them. But we always knew one thing for sure: we did not want to intrude on Sam’s account of his experiences. We wanted him to be center stage because we knew he was a powerful, magnetic, moving and credible storyteller. He was our bright, shining star and a bright light for all viewers. Getting to know Sam would be a Journey of Discovery for all.
– Ellen Palestrant