“I THINK there are a lot of angels flying around this film,” the director of a documentary about the late Jeremy Spinak, which will air on ABC Compass this Sunday, has told The AJN.
Produced and directed by documentary filmmaker Mitzi Goldman – Spinak’s first cousin – Jez follows the former NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president in the last five months of his life as he faced his mortality and set about leaving a legacy for his children, Grace and Michael.
Spinak passed away in November 2018 from a rare form of cancer.
“The spine of the film is Jeremy’s story over the last five months of his life, but wrapped around that [is] what was really important to him,” Goldman said.
“The three things that I’ve identified as being the strongest themes in the film are one, death and dying and coming to terms with the end of your life and if you’re a young person or you’ve got young children, particularly what you want to leave behind.
“The second is the whole area of leadership – what makes strong leadership and I suppose in the Jewish context what can young Jewish leaders offer. And then the third is the area of social cohesion – what it is to live in a truly multicultural society and how we need to listen to each other and work together.
“Which I think is critically important in these times when we see both on the right and on the far-left this fracturing into identity politics.”
Two versions of the film have been produced – the half hour that will screen on Compass and a one-hour film that will be released at the Jewish International Film Festival (JIFF) in February-March next year.
Goldman said the film will resonate both with those who knew Spinak as well as the general public.
“I really think that there are lessons – we all are going to face the end of our life at some point. We all have questions,” she said.
“The footage is so intimate, he’s speaking to his children at the time that we filmed it. So it has a kind of tone in the delivery that is so unguarded and so true, so full of love and hope and expectation. I think there’s something about that that’s incredibly compelling.”
With around 50 hours of raw footage filmed, Goldman also plans to produce a series of short clips that will be shown to Grace and Michael as they reach different milestones in their upbringing.
Jez will screen on ABC Compass this Sunday, August 9 at 6.30pm.