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Rafting to Bombay

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Rafting to Bombay


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November 2008 - While filming his father revisiting his childhood city of Mumbai, India, Israeli director Erez Laufer finds himself caught in the worst terror attack in the history of the city. As the drama of the terrorist takeover of Chabad House in Mumbai unfolds, the Laufer family recounts how they found refuge there in the 1940s after fleeing the Nazis. Past and present collide as the family history is echoed in a contemporary war, and a little-known story emerges of the Jewish refugees who found a safe haven in Mumbai during World War II.

Rafting to Bombay is the story of how 5 year old Nahum and his mother escaped the Nazis in Poland, crossed Europe by train and sailed on a raft on the Tigris River until they reached the exotic and fascinating India of monkeys, elephants and Rajas. But Nahum's childhood experience, which is remembered as an enchanting fantasy, was in reality, a chilling story of a last minute escape.

20 years ago director Erez Laufer filmed his grandmother recounting her story, just before she passed away. Now, while stuck in the hotel in Mumbai, Nahum listens to his mother's testimonials. Then his childhood friend Sam Marshall who escaped from the Taj hotel, at the last minute, brings the horrific news of the Chabad house.

It is a tale of three generations: grandmother, son & grandson telling one story - Rafting to Bombay. From a child's memory of a hopeful and romantic journey, to the mother's horrific reality, and finally to the cruel encounter of past and present time.

Erez Laufer was born and raised in Israel, and graduated from the Film and Television department at Tel-Aviv University.

His film Mike Brant-Laisse Moi T'aime won the 2002 Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary for 2002, and had its international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival 2003.

He has worked on numerous projects with renowned filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker, including the Oscar-nominated The War Room, a three-part series celebrating Woodstock's 25th anniversary called Woodstock Diary, the documentary Startup.com, and Only the Strong Survive.

In 2001, Erez joined with "Steps For the Future," an international collaboration of filmmakers working on an HIV/AIDS film campaign project for South Africa, and in 2003 he joined the Africa 10 team to work on a series of films for the 10 year anniversary of South African Independence.

 

"I highly recommend this documentary for both its cinematic impact and it serving as a powerful catalyst for discussion."  Riva Gambell - Contra-Costa International Jewish Film Festival

"Laufer's film reminds the world that the consequences of grave wrong-doing span generations as well as continents, and that single actions can have effects lasting a lifetime. Indeed with recent media reports of potential security threats in Mumbai, Laufer's film becomes even more poignant."
Ed Vollans - University of East Anglia, School of Film and Television Studies

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