Seven MinutesSeven Minutes

Seven Minutes in the Warsaw Ghetto

Short Film by Johan Oettinger (Danmark)

Director: Johan Oettinger
Screenplay: Richard Raskin
Production company: Basmati Film
Producer: Ellen Riis
Premiere: 2012
Duration: 8 min.

Johan Oettinger, 27 years, is a self-taught Danish director and filmmaker, who have worked on stop motion and live action productions since his 13th year. Many commercial productions (music videos and TV spots) are on his film portfolio list, and in 2001 he di-rected his first short film 'The Killing of Evil'. Since then, he has directed and produced a wide range of short films, many of them together with the creative partner Emil Brahe, composer and filmmaker. Johan Oettinger also works as a set designer and set builder and on i.e. films for Lego.

The story takes place in the Warsaw ghetto back in 1942. Samek, an eight year old boy who is naughty and full of life, peeks through a hole in the ghetto wall and sees a carrot lying on the sidewalk just on the other side. He tries to pull the carrot through the hole with a piece of wire, unaware that two SS officers are posted nearby and are following his every move.

Based on a real incident, “Seven Minutes in the Warsaw Ghetto” violates a major convention of Holocaust cinema by not offering the viewer a feeling of relief at the end. This is not a gratuitous defiance of conventions. Well aware of the risks involved, Johan Oettinger wants the viewer to experience a striking image of the Holocaust that leaves him or her with an undiluted sense of loss. The final moments of this film are deliberately left unbearable. The film does offer beautiful, uplifting moments, evoking the magic and radiance of childhood – but without blurring the harsh realities of the Holocaust.

The film was finished in 2012, and was among other festivals accepted to The Annecy International Animation Film Festival short film competition, where it received the Special Distinction.