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© Gigi Williams

Norman Barker Stars in New Vishniac Documentary

Following over 10 years of work, Director-Producer Laura Bialis and Executive Producer Nancy Spielberg have completed the 90-minute documentary film VISHNIAC which is now playing at film festivals and select theatres around the country. This documentary is the first that gives proper recognition to Vishniac's decades-long work (1920s - 1970s) in biological photography and cinematography, alongside his documentary photographs of pre-WWII Eastern Europe.

The film views Roman Vishniac's tumultuous, idiosyncratic and fascinating life and work through the lens of his daughter, Mara Vishniac Kohn. Director-Producer Laura Bialis had befriended Mara many years ago when they were neighbors in Santa Barbara, California and was given unfettered access to the family's archival materials, photographs and film.

Mara eloquently describes observing and participating inher father's obsessive work in biology and biological photography as she grew up in pre-war Berlin and how he continued this work in New York City. She also describes the difficulties of being the child of such a focused individual and the later burden of dealing with the masses of photographs, films and correspondence of such a prolific individual.

Norm Barker (Johns Hopkins U.) and Howard Radzyner (Radzyner, et al.) served as consultants on the biological photography aspects of the film. Norm has a starring role describing Vishniac's tireless promotion of himself and his practice as an independent photographer as well as discussing some of the beautiful images he created for LIFE magazine.

VISNIAC can be seen at film festivals and in limited theatrical release at theatres in the US in the next several months. To see the trailer, the schedule of showings or for more information, please see the links below.

VISNIAC Trailer:

Theatre Listings:

For more information: