LOS ANGELES – July 28, 2020 – Luke Holland’s documentary feature Final Account will world premiere at this year’s Venice International Film Festival, it was announced today, with Submarine Entertainment joining Participant to jointly represent the film’s domestic sales and Cinephil handling international sales. Holland, who spent the last decade filming and directing the project, also produced the film, alongside John Battsek and Riete Oord. Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann executive produced, with Andrew Ruhemann and Claire Aguilar. The 77th Venice International Film Festival runs September 2-12.
“Being part of helping Luke realize his ten-year vision has been one of the most important and rewarding experiences of my career,” John Battsek said. “It now falls to all of us involved to ensure that the vital messages of his film are seen and heard by as many people as possible.”
Riete Oord said: “Having worked with Luke Holland on Final Account for many years I would, on behalf of ZEF Films and Luke’s family, like to thank the Venice Film Festival for selecting Final Account for its premiere screening, and also Diane Weyermann and John Battsek for their support and belief in Luke and this film. Despite Luke’s long battle with ill health, I am extremely proud that we were able to help him realize his ambition and vision to create a film of powerful and lasting impact.”
Diane Weyermann, Chief Content Officer for Participant, commented on the news, saying: “This film not only is a beautiful, powerful testament to the life and work of Luke Holland, it also serves as timely, essential viewing for filmgoers, especially given what’s going on in the world today. Final Account is the result of Luke’s tireless quest to acknowledge and preserve history, and we are honored to share it with audiences.”
Final Account is an urgent portrait of the last living generation of German participants in Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich – raising vital questions about authority, conformity, complicity, national identity, responsibility and historical reckoning as men and women ranging from former SS members to civilians reckon in very different ways with their memories, perceptions and personal appraisals of their own roles in the greatest human crimes in history.
Holland, who sadly passed away last month, spent more than a decade working on the film, bearing an intimate connection to the documentary’s focus, which stems from the filmmaker’s Viennese maternal grandparents perishing in Nazi concentration camps. His refugee mother later gave birth to Holland in Shropshire, England; but in 1952, his family settled in Paraguay, where Holland grew up in a German-speaking, Christian community, as well as amid indigenous tribes. Amidst these various influences, Holland was never told he was Jewish. The stunning truth precipitated an inquiry into what that identity meant to him. Holland spent over a decade conducting more than 300 interviews to create Final Account, from those driven by deep regrets to the unrepentant still ready to defend Nazism.
Holland was an acclaimed, award-winning documentarian and cultural rights leader, whose other credits included the five-part series A Very English Village; I Was a Slave Laborer, the inside story of the campaign for forced and slave labor compensation, which in 1999, helped secure a $5 billion settlement; and More Than a Life, the story of his brother Peter’s terminal struggle with myeloma. Throughout the 1980s, Holland worked with Survival International on indigenous land and cultural rights. As a documentarian, he gave masterclasses and played key roles at such worldwide film events as the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA) and Docspace.
Tied to the film’s release, Participant is proud to be working with USC Shoah Foundation—a global organization countering antisemitism and other forms of hatred through testimony—for educational resources on this important film.