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My Underground Mother is a documentary feature that traces a daughter’s epic search for her late mother’s hidden Holocaust past. Growing up in New York, journalist Marisa Fox knew her mother as Tamar Fromer, a fiery redhead who often boasted of her years in the Israeli underground and army. But whenever Fox pressed her about her childhood, Tamar avoided the topic, claiming she fled her native Poland shortly after the Nazis invaded, unlike her mother and most of her family who were murdered in Auschwitz. Some 20 years after Tamar’s death, Fox discovers her mother’s writing under a different name in a diary at Yad Vashem, also penned by 60 Jewish girls, trafficked as Nazi slaves to a women’s camp. Fox sets out on a global search to uncover her mother’s secret identity and past, unearthing a buried chapter of Holocaust history, giving voice to women largely omitted from Shoah narratives, and breaking a two-generation silence.
Shot on location throughout the United States, Australia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Israel and Canada, My Underground Mother is a gripping, first-person documentary about post-Holocaust identity lost and found, of a daughter hungering for connection with a mother, a case of “not me” meets #MeToo 74 years after liberation, an empowering women’s story of trauma, survival and reinvention.
Marisa Fox (Writer/Director/Producer) An award-winning journalist, Fox has reported on 9/11, opioid addiction and sexual surrogates, and has written and edited celebrity cover stories for major publications like The New York Times, InStyle, Chicago Tribune, New York, Elle, O and Harper’s Bazaar. Her political editorials and features on Holocaust, sexual violence, arts & culture, and women’s issues for Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz have been syndicated in The International New York Times and The Forward. She has produced news, interview shows and special programming for Vh1, FX, HBO & PBS, and her campaigns on infertility and domestic violence for Hearst Digital were award nominated. Her graduate publication, Arts Chicago, won a National Journalism Society Award. She holds a Master’s and Bachelor’s in Science from the Medill School of Journalism and a Bachelor’s of Arts in French Language & Literature from Northwestern University. My Underground Mother is her directorial debut.
Alexis Alexanian (Producer) served as President of New York Women in Film & Television and is a well known independent film and television producer with over 20 years of experience, She began her career on big budget studio films including JACOB’S LADDER, A BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN and STRIPTEASE. In 1999 she co-founded the cutting edge digital studio, InDigEnt, financed by IFC, and produced nine features including Sundance award winners, TADPOLE, PIECES OF APRIL and PERSONAL VELOCITY. Alexanian produced Ethan Hawke’s THE HOTTEST STATE and the around the world motorcycle documentary, LONG WAY ROUND with Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman. Recently, Alexanian was President of Production for Locomotive, a film and television production company where she Executive Produced, MAGGIE’S PLAN and the soon to be released BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS.
Michael Berenbaum (Executive Producer) is an Academy Award, Emmy Award and Cable Ace Award-winning producer of the HBO film “One Survivor Remembers: The Gerda Weissman Klein Story.” A foremost Holocaust scholar, he has produced, served as a writer, consultant and executive producer on many award-winning films like “Defiance,” “Uprising,” “Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh” and “Magda,” and appeared as a historical expert in such television series and documentaries as “One Day in Auschwitz,” “Annihilation,” “Forgiving Dr. Mengele” and many others. He played a leading role in the creation of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's permanent exhibition and was director of its Research Institute, served as Deputy Director of the President’s Commission of the Holocaust, was President/CEO of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation and is currently Director of the Sigi Ziering Institute: Exploring the Ethical and Religious Implications of the Holocaust, located at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, CA.
Slawomir Grünberg (Director of Photography) Grunberg is a Polish-born American Emmy Award-winning documentary producer, director, cameraman and graduate of the Polish Film School in Lodz, who has directed and produced over 40 television documentaries, including School Prayer: A Community at War, which received an Emmy Award. Grünberg’s film, Karski and the Lords of Humanity, won a 2016 Lavr Award, the Russian equivalent of an Oscar, and was nominated for the Polish version of best documentary feature. His film Sister Rose’s Passion won best documentary short at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2004 and received an Academy award nomination in 2005. His work as director of photography on Legacy earned him an Academy Award nomination. Grunberg has shot over 50 documentaries, five of which received Emmy nominations. He has also been a contributing director of photography and editor for such PBS series as Frontline, AIDS Quarterly, American Masters, and NOVA, as well as Lifetime and HBO.
Halil Efrat (Editor) A native of Jerusalem, Efrat is an award-winning director and editor whose documentaries have earned him top honors at film festivals around the world and have been released theatrically in the U.S. and on television, most recently: Foreign Land, which won Best Documentary Feature at the Ophir Awards, Israel’s equivalent of the Academy Awards, and Best Documentary Feature at Haifa FF 2017, Trophy, which won Official Selection at Sundance 2017, and Aida’s Secrets, Official Selection at Hot Docs 2016. His directorial debut, Souvenirs, won an Ophir Award, took home Best Film 2006 at San Francisco FF, Silverdocs FF and IDFA, and had a special screening at MOMA in NY. Sweet Mud won Best Foreign Film 2007 at Sundance and the Berlin FF. Efrat was awarded Best Director at the Jerusalem Film festival for Album 61, which he wrote, directed and edited in 2013. Efrat is a graduate of Jerusalem’s Sam Spiegel Film Institute, where he later taught film editing and served as a lector at Gesher Multicultural Film Fund and Israel’s New Fund for Cinema & Television. He moved to New York in 2016.