A feature-length historical adventure, my script is based on the harrowing true story that forced a family to run for their lives during WWII. This a dramatized adaptation of my uncle’s autobiography, which was published in France https://livre.fnac.com/a1607440/Ulli-Pickardt-Travelling-arriere
This is some media buzz received: http://atlantajewishtimes.timesofisrael.com/atlantan-tells-uncles-holocaust-story/
All materials for this project, working title THE FILM, are registered with WGA. Here for your review are the logline, summary and brief synopsis.
Based on a true story. A Jewish family blacklisted by the Nazis on the eve of WWII flees Germany with a film exposing Hitler’s secret plot. The family scatters across Europe and the U.S., hunted and desperate to survive.
A stunning trial shatters the idyllic lifestyle of Ulli, his twin sister, Ulla, and their parents. They are forced to make a run for it. The courtroom film will either save them or destroy them. They must protect it at all costs. The crisis breaks up the family. The twins separate and learn to fend for themselves. Tracked by the Germans and suspected by the French, the family confronts a series of life and death challenges. The father is captured, then escapes. No money, no safe place to hide, little hope. Ulli joins the French Foreign Legion, but deserts in the nick of time. Seeking safety, he treks through treacherous mountains into Spain. It’s a harrowing and fruitless effort. He is then cornered by his Nazi nemesis. A suspenseful ultimatum could be the way out. At their wits’ end, Ulli, Ulla and the parents reconsider their values and rediscover a love of family.
(Historical/Drama) – based on a true story, adapted from Travelling Arriere
By J.D. Moor & Martin Kelley
Germany 1933 – ULLI PICKARDT and his twin sister, ULLA, bask in idyllic lifestyles. Suddenly, their privileged teenage existence shatters when their father, LUDWIG, wins a stunning court case against the Nazis. In a courtroom outburst, HEINRICH POTTINS, Ulli’s classmate, reveals secrets of the Nazi master plan against the Jews. Coincidentally, Ludwig has the trial proceedings filmed as a marketing tool for his law practice. The family’s fortunes unravel when Ludwig is blacklisted and they struggle to save their lives and protect the film forcing them to flee Berlin for Paris.
As the situation becomes more dangerous, the family decides to split up to remain safe. At the age of fifteen, Ulli and Ulla need to support themselves and their parents in hiding. All the while, the film itself is shifted about to be kept as safe as possible. While Ulla pursues a dancing career, Ulli manages to find work with a film company. Despite losing that job, he manages to sneak back into the offices to make a copy of the film and stash the copies for safe keeping.
An unemployed Ulli faces detainment by the French, which forces him to labor in a munitions factory and ultimately join the French Foreign Legion in Algeria to escape the Nazis. However, German collaborators continue to pepper him for information, watching his every move.
Ulla, now a successful performer, takes one of the copies of the film out of the country still unaware of the film’s content. Throughout the war, the splintered family members wonder and worry about each other.
Ludwig and his wife, Lucie, crisscross France trying to elude the Nazis. Ludwig is captured and sent to an internment camp but escapes — twice! Ludwig and Lucie enlist the help of a beautiful French Resistance fighter to attempt to find Ulli.
As the Nazis close in, Ulli escapes Algeria. He meets the beautiful Resistance fighter and is smitten. She provides him with a guide to hike across the Pyrenees into Spain. The trip is a harrowing, life threatening and fruitless adventure. The film copies remain safe for the time being.
Back in Paris, Ulli is harbored by a friend with connections to the Resistance. He begins a slow recuperation and he dreams of the Resistance woman whom he met in passing. After Nazis search his Paris hideout, Ulli is picked up by the Gestapo and brought in for questioning. Heinrich Pottins, now a Nazi officer, confronts Ulli about the film. The tense scene culminates in a tacit agreement: Ulli has his freedom in exchange for never releasing the film. Pottins, in disgrace, shoots himself.
Meanwhile, Ulla attempts to enlist American government officials to save Ulli by showing them the film. Surprisingly, her copy of the film is blank.
The D-Day invasion looms. Ulli contemplates his life and all the time spent alone. He commits to shed his selfish, materialistic ways, treasure the gift of family … AND to find the Resistance woman.
Now 1947, Ulli meets the Resistance woman at one of Ulla’s performances. A warm welcome bodes well for their budding romance. Ludwig and his wife are there to surprise Ulli after the show. After years of struggle and separation, the family reunion is complete.