Bates senior's documentary airs on PBS

Bates College senior Frederick B. Brumder of Milwaukee, Wis., has produced “Prisoner of the Past: The Story of A World War II Jewish American P.O.W.,” that will be broadcast at 10 p.m. Thursday, June 7, as part of “Maine Independents,” a Maine Public Broadcasting television series. The weekly program showcases film and video productions created by Maine and out-of-state producers about the state’s people, places and lifestyles. Brumder’s 30-minute documentary focuses on the haunting wartime experiences of Mechanic Falls resident Murray Schwartz, a Jewish-American GI captured by the Germans during the final months of World War II. Schwartz’s postwar inner conflicts, emotional stress and guilt formed the basis of “Manny’s War,” an original play by Martin Andrucki, Bates professor of theater. Directed by Christopher Schario and staged last November, the production was the first cross-town collaboration of The Public Theater, with its Equity actors, and the Bates College theater department. The play has been nominated for The American Theater Critics Association’s New Play Award.

To research the writing of the play, Andrucki accompanied Schwartz on a 1999 Memorial Day trip to the scene of his German imprisonment. Filmmaker Dana Rae Warren and Bates student Tyler Kipp, Bates class of 2001, filmed the journey with the intention of producing a documentary, but concluded upon their return that there was insufficient material. As “Manny’s War” entered production in fall 2000, Warren, Kipp and Brumder decided to finish the film. After Brumder shot 17 additional hours of footage, including interviews with Schwartz, his daughter, Andrucki and Schario, as well as rehearsals and the production’s emotional opening night, the Bates senior completed the documentary.

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