The catalog of the Society for Ethnomusicology for its fall 2019 conference introduced me and my artist class in the following way: “Jacky Comforty is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose groundbreaking films have been shot in the United States, Germany, Israel, and Bulgaria. With decades of experience in independent film production focusing on both models of inclusive education and Holocaust Studies, he has developed a multidisciplinary, multicultural, and multilingual approach to collecting oral histories and creating meaningful multi-media projects, placing emphasis on non intrusive, non-scripted methodologies for documentation. His credits include Balkan Jazz (2013), The Optimists (2001), In the Shadow of Memory (1998), and Through a Glass, Lightly (1996). Among numerous other distinctions, Comforty has received the Berlin Festival Peace Prize, the Jerusalem Film Festival’s Jewish Experience Award, a CINE Golden Eagle award, the American Association of Museums MUSE award, and the Chicago International Gold Hugo Award.”
“The Reclaimed Narrative” my new film, documents a personal quest over the last 35 years to uncover and tell the full narrative of the Jewish people and what they experienced during the Holocaust in the Balkans. My mom joined me on this journey to track people, visit places and research untold stories that defied common perceptions and highlighted the struggle of the Jews to resist and survive, and mobilized help from righteous Bulgarians from all walks of life. The film reveals the actions of friends and the power of friendship as well as the harshness of the times and the difficult conditions and dangers that the survivors escaped. As the journey progresses it exposes sweet memories mixed with trauma and raises questions about the past—about the stories we know and those which remain hidden from our site. Join me on this trip as I try to reconstruct the past.