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George Christy Talks About Prosecuting Evil, Barry Avrich, The Toronto International Film Festival and more!

Barry Avrich
Colton Underwood, Eric Bigger, Kendall Long and Wills Reid partied during the Disney ABC Television Group's 2018 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton
Ali Wong
Stephanie Szostak

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Next week, Prosecuting Evil will be a hot ticket at the 42nd Annual Toronto International Film Festival.

Written, directed and produced by maestro Barry Avrich, the documentarian whose credits are major.

Having initially created a film about Lew Wasserman, the powerful mogul who served under MCA/Universal’s Emperor Jules Stein.

The other documentary successes from Barry include Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story (Bob being the controversial publisher of Penthouse Magazine).

Barry produced Blurred Lines: Inside The Art World, the much-discussed documentary about the yeas and nays about the bewildering contemporary art market.

Also: Show Stopper: The Theatrical Life Of Garth Drabinsky (Garth being the Canadian visionary, whose productions lit up Broadway).

The festival opens September 6th for 10 days, and doubtlessly will draw crowds of diehard cineastes and we just plain film-loving folks.

Prosecuting Evil focuses on Ben Ferencz, now 98, the last Nuremberg prosecutor, who remains with us.  At 27, he convicted 22 Nazi officials of murdering more than a million Jews during the biggest murder trial in history.

Barry’s film about this unspeakable brutality is destined to “have legs,” as we say about classics, and will be screened exclusively at the Holocaust Museums in New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles (October 10).

“I’d never prosecuted anyone nor been in a courtroom in my life,” Ben told 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl.

The Romanian-born Ben immigrated to a tough New York City neighborhood.  He did not speak English and his father gained employment as a janitor.  A fast learner, he was awarded a scholarship to Harvard Law School, enlisted in the Army after the bombing by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.  After landing on the beach at Normandy, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

By the war’s end, he was transferred to General Patton’s Third Army and assigned to review  concentration camps as they were liberated by the U.S. Army in order to investigate war crimes and collect evidence.

This all lead to the international Nuremberg trials.

The festival is premiering promising movies such as A Star Is Born with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

First Man starring Ryan Gosling in the biopic about astronaut Neil Armstrong, already aclaimed during the Venice Film Festival.

Also Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Kindergarten Teacher co-starring Gael Garcia Bernal.

We’ve attended the festival, our favorite of all, for 34 years, hosting our annual Saturday weekend luncheon at the Four Seasons Hotel, inviting the Who and the Who of Canada and the visitors arriving from all continents to market their films.

Discovering early on that those who luck into visiting the festival are irresistibly drawn to vacationing in Canada year after year for 10 days of rabid movie going.  And where the Canadian hospitality  and manners are refreshing.  As are the excellent restaurants and luxury hotels.

An event not to be missed, offering the rewarding pleasure of being among the early birds to talk about the slate of the new season’s movies.

Next for Barry Avrich is a documentary on the Canadian-born composer David Foster.

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