In a time of holocaust denial. some stories cannot be denied

About the Film

“Saving Lulek” tells the miraculous story of the Lau brothers and their brave survival of the Nazi death machine.  Tulek (Naftali) was only 13 when the Nazis invaded his hometown of Piotrekow, Poland.
The Jews were shut into a ghetto and Tulek was sent to Auschwitz from which there is no return.  

However, Tulek did manage to escapes and return to his family in the ghetto.  One day Tulek’s father, the beloved chief Rabbi, took Tulek aside and asked him to take care of his 5 year old brother Lulek (Yisrael Meir) and to make sure that they make it to Israel where they can continue the long legacy of the Lau Rabbinical heritage.  

Tulek and Lulek managed to survive most of the war in the Piotrekow ghetto, working in the nearby glass factory.  Life in the ghetto became harder with each day, and most of the ghetto inhabitants were sent to their fate in cattle trains.  The family first lost their son Milek, who was only 13 and later were forced to separate from their father. When the last of the ghetto survivors were sent to camps, the two boys were torn away from their mother.  The two brothers were sent to camps held together by an unspoken oath.

Time and time again Tulek gambles his life to save his younger brother: At the Czestochowa labor camp Tulek bribes a German officer with a diamond hidden in his teeth to buy
Lulek’s life. Betrayed to the notorious Buchenwald death camp, Tulek
crawls under the train and manages to smuggle Lulek from the women
and children who were all condemned to immediate death and into a car
of men, slated for slavery.

When they arrive at the camp, Tulek smuggles the boy into Buchenwald
in a pillowcase, and manages to hide him in the man’s barracks.  
Hiding a small child in the death camp is a near impossible task, and Tulek
uses all of his resourcefulness and cunning, to make sure Lulek is transferred
to POWs cabin.

As the Allies close in, all Jewish inmates were deported on a train.  Tulek, now 17 manages to jump of the train with two other survivors, “Where do we head now” they ask.
“To Buchenwald,” Tulek answers, “I have to go back for the child.”

The typhus stricken, Tulek makes his way through the wasteland of Germany, a terrifying journey of  four-days by a skeleton of a man, determined to unite with his brother and keep a promise

Against all odds, and against all reason, the two brother’s arrive in pre-state Israel.

Epilogue, a few decades later:  The two brothers stand before the Western Wall a few hours before the inauguration of Lulek, now Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, beloved Chief Rabbi of Israel.

“Saving Lulek” is a story about the strength that faith, and the power that a  connection to one’s roots instills in a person.

About the film

The animation style will be a hybrid of 2D and 3D techniques. The idea for the script won the Israeli pitch national pitch contest held by the JFF (Jerusalem Film Fund) and the Israeli Animator and Scriptwriter Unions, and has been turned into a feature length script.  The film is partially backed by private and institutional funding.

Rabbi Israel Meir Lau

Rabbi Lau is one of the most notable Jewish leaders of our era, and probably the most famous Holocaust survivors living today.  His achievements as the chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, and later of the state of Israel, did much to bridge the gaps betweens observant and non observant Jews, and strengthen Jewish identity and values to Jews in Israel and around the world.  Rabbi Lau’s amazing story of survival has inspired generations and served as an important counterpoint to the increasing clamor of Holocaust denial. His book “Lulek” is a best seller, translated in many languages and of critical acclaim.

Naftali Lau Lavie

Naftali continued his legacy of influence and service well into his adult life. Arriving in Tel Aviv, he rose to become a respected journalist and media personality.  He also served as an aide to Moshe Dayan, the chief of Staff of the IDF and later the minister of Defence. He was pivotal in building the peace accords with Egypt, and later was appointed as the Consul General to New York.  Amongst Naftali’s achievements, he managed to bring the Jews of the diaspora closer to israel, and create lasting bonds with Jewish communities abroad. His book “Am KeLavie” is a fascinating autobiography. Naftali passed away on Dec 2014, at the age of 88.  Until his last days he called Rabbi Lau “The Child”.

The Creators

Eldad Eilat

Eldad is a graduate of the University of Southern California film school.  He has over 20 years of experience in the film and television industries as a producer, director and screenwriter, during which time he was involved in over 200 productions.  Eldad is recognized as a creative force with the ability to provide award-winning ideas and inspiration to a wide variety of audiences. Eldad’s latest works include several high-profile music videos that instantly went viral and have been seen by over a million YouTube viewers.  Eldad is a partner in ARenu animation studio.

Zohar Shahar

A graduate of the Bezalel art academy in Jerusalem, Zohar has over 20 years of experience in animation.  He began his career as a 2D classical animator and later specialised in cut out and 3D animation. Zohar was one the 8 animator team that worked on the Oscar nominated “Waltz with Bashir”. Through his career he has worked on many animated productions ranging from commercials, to tv series’ and feature films.  Zohar was a lead 3d character animator in Snowball studios. In the last 2 years Zohar works in ARenu Studio as a storyboard artist, animation director and project manager.

The Production Team

Michael Helfant
Executive Producer

CEO and co-founder of Amasia Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based entertainment production and financing company. Michael has 35 years of entertainment industry experience in film, television, financing and distribution. Former President/COO of Marvel Studios, and Senior EVP of Miramax/Dimension Films. Amongst his many movie titles – Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Mr. Right, The Call, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Jumanji, Runaway Bride, and What Dreams May Come.

Eli Wurtzel

Eli has over 15 years of experience in the animation and entertainment fields including CG animation, game development, production and studio management. Eli founded and managed DPS Israel, a 3D / 2D Animation studio that employed over 150 animators, engineers and programmers to create animation for “hip Hop & Hamilton,” Cartoon Pizza’s “Monster Monster Trucks,” “The Simpsons”, and feature projects “Gene Rodenberry’s Starpoint Academy,” “Happily Never After” and ”Everyone’s Hero”.   

“Realistic films show the physical world. Animation shows its essence.”

--Roger Ebert

There has never been an animated treatment of the Holocaust. But animation may well be the  best way to reframe the subject and connect today’s generation to the messages latent in the film and its protagonist.  Animation is also a nuanced way to reconcile the hallucinogenic episodes with the historical memories in Tulek’s story. The Animated medium has “grown up” and is used more and more to address an older, more sophisticated audience, while appealing and engaging  younger audience.

The JFF (Jerusalem Film Fund) has recognized this production by awarding it an initial development prize in its latest pitch contest, and is currently offering a 35% rebate and other benefits for all animation productions in Jerusalem.  ARenu studios has a letter of intent from the fund, urging us to move to Jerusalem and fulfil that potential with the production of this motion picture.