Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, who won an Academy Award in 1989 for the documentary “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt,” have begun production in Europe of “Pink Triangle,” about gay survivors of Nazi persecution.
The feature documentary tells the stories of homosexual men and women who survived the Nazis’ brutality during World War II and persecution after the war. Survivors, many branded with a pink triangle identifying them as gay, were subjected to oppression and imprisonment even in post-Nazi Germany, where they were seen not as political prisoners but as criminals under the Nazi sodomy law.
Many of Epstein’s and Friedman’s primary subjects granted interviews after years of public silence. The docu will include footage from the archives of Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, established in 1994 by Steven Spielberg to record accounts of Holocaust survivors, rescuers and witnesses.
” ‘Pink Triangle’ will explore a part of history that has seldom been told on film, much less documented in history books,” Epstein said. “The collective stories of these survivors will fill a crucial gap in the historical record.”
“We are thrilled that these survivors are finally ready to let us tell their stories on film, ending decades of unnatural silence, isolation and shame,” added Friedman. “We feel a particular urgency to record what stories we can while there are still living witnesses to tell them.”
Janet Cole and Michael Ehrenzweig are the film’s co-producers. The film is being produced through Epstein’s and Friedman’s San Francisco-based production company, Telling Pictures, and was developed with support from London’s Channel 4 and Zero Film in Berlin.
Epstein and Friedman are currently in production on an alternative sports docu for HBO and are developing “Save Me,” a feature film for Fox Searchlight. Previous productions include “The Celluloid Closet,” a look at homosexuality as reflected in movies, for which the duo received an Emmy for best direction.
Epstein won an Oscar for his 1985 film “The Times of Harvey Milk.”