The Liberator

Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Drama, LGBTQ

Patrick Fritz

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This campaign raised $11,605 for development. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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A gay Holocaust researcher struggles to convince his boyfriend’s grandfather, a Dachau liberator, to reveal his untold story of gay pink triangle survivors. By lifting their voices and the memories of a secretive Holocaust liberator, this film depicts the power of empathy and healing to crush hate.

About The Project

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Mission Statement

This story is personal to me because my own grandfather was an American serviceman who liberated gay survivors at Dachau. Our team of filmmakers knows that now more than ever, storytelling must combat the rising hate in our society.

The Story

The Liberator is an LGBTQ+ drama that sheds light on what hate is. The film follows Emmett, a Holocaust researcher driven to unearth the secrets of the LGBTQ+ victims of the Holocaust, known as the pink triangle survivors.

Emmett’s boyfriend Rob, and Rob’s grandfather, Sam, hold the key to his success. With Rob’s blessing, Emmett hopes to convince Sam to do what he’s never done before: reveal his story from April 29, 1945, the day his unit liberated the Dachau concentration camp.

This story is personal to me because my own grandfather set foot in Dachau, as an American liberator, and because he liberated gay survivors on that  day. He never revealed what he saw, and grew belligerent if someone asked. It wasn’t until he died that my parents discovered his pictures—snapped on 8mm film—of Dachau. Poignant and inescapable images of human suffering and mutilated bodies, no doubt, tormented him.

What would it take to reveal this? Why keep the trauma siloed away, when speaking out could lead to healing? And if more people revealed their stories, would it temper Holocaust deniers and more broadly, any purveyor of hate, in present-day society?

We have an opportunity to give voice to the voiceless. With a Black or Brown protagonist, LGBTQ+ characters, and a Holocaust Liberator, our story weaves a narrative that empowers marginalized people and lifts the voices of survivors. All while educating the viewer to identify and silence hate.

The Liberator is a film that depicts the shifting landscape of human connectivity in a digital world. 

Our emotional needs as a species are often vested in our self worth. To be told we have merit; that we matter; can make all the difference.

As technology redefines our relationships, surges of isolation, loneliness, and depression rise, especially among our youth.

Our political and cultural systems grow polarized, creating bubbles of like-minded people. Sectionalism foments resentment towards those unlike us. 

What we lack is empathy.

75 years ago, as the Nazi crusade came to a searing end, we saw the tragic cost of empathy’s absence. Millions of Jewish people, religious minorities, political prisoners, and gay men lost their lives. 

An estimated 5,000-15,000 gay men were interned in camps, while thousands more were sent to prison. During liberation, some were actually sent back to prison to finish their sentences. 

A gay Holocaust survivor imparting wisdom via digital interface doesn’t just assure LGBTQ people they matter, it showcases the capacity of technology to heal and inspire empathy in others. 

Inspired by Dimensions in Testimony, a collection of 3D interactive Holocaust survivor testimonies at the USC Shoah Foundation, our film portrays revolutionary technology with the character of Marcel, a fictionalized gay survivor.

Dimensions in Testimony allows survivors to record every detail of their story. Over two thousand questions are asked of each one. Then, when a museum visitor asks a question, the survivor is able to answer in real-time, even if the survivor is no longer living. It’s like talking. Back and forth. Getting to know someone and starting to care for them.

Emmett holds out hope that if Sam witnesses Marcel’s testimony and “speaks” to Marcel, Sam would be so moved as to reveal his story. The act of sitting down and listening to another person tell a story is the vehicle with which empathy spreads from one human being to another. And if empathy thrives, hate is squandered.

That the values of empathy, kindness, and compassion can be shared through technological storytelling showcases the evolving landscape of human connectivity in a digital world.

Our team of filmmakers knows that now more than ever, storytelling must be used to combat rising hate in our society.

Already, we’ve talked to Dr. Geoffrey Giles, leading LGBTQ+ Holocaust researcher, members of the Dachau Memorial site, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the USC Shoah Foundation. They’ve read the script, made sure we’re historically accurate, and offered their support. Dr. Samuel Huneke of George Mason University, Dr. Wolfe Gruner of USC Shoah, and Dr. Jake Newsome of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum also serve as historical advisors for the film.

We are filmmakers, producers, and artists, with collective experience working at Disney Digital Network, the Sundance Institute, Netflix’s Creative Executive Team, Sony’s Post Production division, and more. Our DP has shot commercials for Cisco & IBM while our producers shepherded post-production for shows aired on TNT, AMC, and HBO Max. Two key producers and our director attended the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Check out our BIO section for more about our crew!

Emmett

32 | Tenacious, persistent historian committed to research, discovery, and unearthing secrets of the Holocaust. Open-minded, charming, serious. Boyfriend to Rob...

Rob

29 | Creative, clever, sophisticated writer with a darker edge. Steadfast and supportive to boyfriend, Emmett. Renewed fascination for his grandfather’s military service given Emmett’s field of study...

Sam

96 | A secretive veteran of World War II who compartmentalizes past trauma. A hero to 30,000 liberated prisoners from Dachau’s prison camp as first sergeant of his army regiment. Shuns recognition or accolades. Connoisseur of fine arts who delights in simple pleasures and yearns to see his grandson, Rob, more.

To make our vision a reality, we need your help. We are asking for $10,000 dollars to develop, cast, and begin the production. The money will be used to raise more money from Holocaust organizations, and film financiers.

Should we raise our goal of $10,000 we will be able to contact organizations we dream of working with. Holocaust and LGBTQ+ organizations alike will take our meetings and sponsor our project so that more financiers, producers, and orgs can donate to our project.

Stretch Goals

IF WE RAISE $20K: We will barely have enough to cover production of the film!

IF WE RAISE $30K: We can cover post production & VFX expenses! But it'll still be tight!

IF WE RAISE $40K: We can make offers to A-list actors! 

IF WE RAISE $50K or MORE: We can afford film festivals & publicity expenses and finally have some breathing room in our budget! 

Every dollar counts and even the smallest pledge can go a long way. Our team believes in this project. We hope you join us, share our story, and contribute. With your help, we can realize our vision. 

As we grapple with Covid-19’s impact, our production will strive for safety. All cast and crew must wear masks. Everyone will socially distance. Testing is mandatory.

Our producers have assembled a rigorous safety plan. Sanitization of surfaces will be conducted throughout the shoot and hand sanitizer will be available on set for regular use. PCR Tests must be taken 48 hours prior to each shoot. 

Total on set presence will be limited to essential individuals, with different departments (i.e. Art, G/E, Camera) rotating in and out as necessary.

Hair & Makeup is required to wear masks and face shields, while production will supply all PPE. Lunch will be single serve. Even if a crew member is vaccinated, they will adhere to these protocols, unless CA shooting restrictions are lifted or amended. Our plan will be approved by SAG-AFTRA.

Wishlist

Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Casting Team

Costs $5,000

An A-list casting director affords the opportunity to work with A-list talent!

Financing

Costs $3,000

Raising our seed round of funding will guarantee financier & organization involvement later on!

Crew - Development

Costs $2,000

Pre-production & development crew roles need financing too! Help us get to our production stage!

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Patrick Fritz - Writer & Director

Patrick is a writer, director, and production designer. He has completed ten projects with Disney Digital Network and his LGBTQ+ short film, Elijah, has screened at UTA, WME, and many film festivals. His directorial body of work includes documentary interviews with composer Alan Silvestri, NFL coach Pete Carroll, and Matt Barkley.

A 2016 graduate of the School of Cinematic Arts at USC, Patrick also holds a M.S. in Entrepreneurship & Innovation from the Marshall School of Business. In his spare time, Patrick plays the trumpet and mellophone and is a proud alum of the Spirit of Troy Trojan Marching Band.

 

Tami Alfasi - Producer

Tami Alfasi is a writer, producer, and post supervisor. She has had the pleasure of working on many different genres of projects from network docu-series to dramas on Viceland, TNT, and HBO Max. 


Tami believes in the power and importance of storytelling and hopes to always use it to provide some good in the world. 

 

Kyle Wilson - Producer

Kyle is a professional Post Production Producer & Supervisor, working primarily in scripted television. His credits include shows such as Bloodline (Netflix), Catch-22 (Hulu), Into the Badlands (AMC), and most recently The Alienist: Angel of Darkness (TNT). Focusing primarily on dramas, Kyle has an affinity for period and historical works. 

An avid lover of the outdoors, he spends much of his time outside the cutting room hiking, camping, or playing golf. He holds a BA in Theater from the University of Southern California.

 

O'Shea" Myles - Producer

O’Shea’’ Myles is a writer, director and producer who has worked on over 15 short films and has written four independent features. She was the Associate Producer on the Oscar nominated student short “Amelia’s Closet”. She is a recent graduate from the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts where she earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Film and Television production Dec. 2016. Since graduation, she has worked at CAA, the Sundance Institute, and Netflix. 

O’Shea’’ comes from a theater background, starring in such plays as “In Darfur” and directing plays including Amiri Baraka’s “The Dutchman”. O’Shea’’ is an advocate for and member of the LGBTQ community and volunteers time to supporting community organizations.

 

Jeff Caroli - Director of Photography

Jeff Caroli is a cinematographer and an associate of the American Society of Cinematographers(ASC) technical committee. Jeff has filmed all over the US and internationally including Australia, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cayman Islands, and Malaysia.

Jeff enjoys shooting both narrative, commercials as well as music video.

His most recent work BALI: BEATS OF PARADISE has released theatrically in the US and internationally. Jeff has shot commercials for companies like Intel, Cisco, and Dyson.

 

Raymundo Archila - Editor

Known in the business for his passion for storytelling, today Raymundo spends his days working as an editor on countless Commercials, Music Videos, and Feature Films. Recently, Raymundo had the opportunity to travel to Indonesia as the associate editor on the documentary feature Bali: Beats of Paradise. He also edited a music video, Queen of the Hill, for Grammy Award Winning Judith Hill (contestant on The Voice and Michael Jackson’s duet partner). Queen of the Hill has over 1 million views on YouTube. 

 

Marsha Bowe - Music Composer

Bio coming soon! 

Current Team

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