Jewish Journal

Will Disney reconsider Anne Frank film?

by Danielle Berrin

October 7, 2009 | 3:19 pm

Last week, The Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam released the only known film footage of the young diarist who perished in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, igniting a viral response on the Internet.

The 20 second film was reportedly shot on July 22, 1941, to record the wedding of the Franks’ next door neighbors. About nine seconds into the film, Anne Frank is seen leaning from a window in order to glimpse the bride and groom. Her time on screen is brief but powerful: According to the New York Times, the footage has been viewed on a new YouTube channel more than 1.6 million times in only five days.

You might call that a built in audience for an Anne Frank film. But is Hollywood listening?

The internet firestorm comes at an odd time for Hollywood—or rather, the Walt Disney Company, who recently changed their plans regarding a new film version of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

In August 2009, Variety reporter Mike Fleming announced that Disney had acquired the rights to the film and that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet would pen the script. But Mamet, who tends to take on controversial politics in his work, transformed the story into a modern tale of anti-Semitism and the script was deemed “too dark” by the family oriented studio.

Two days after the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana, The Wrap published a report illuminating the problem: “The screenplay is not a retelling of the famous Holocaust drama taken from the diaries of Frank, but about a contemporary Jewish girl who goes to Israel and learns about the traumas of suicide bombing.”

In this light, the project does seem an ill fit for Disney, but after the Internet craze that resulted from Frank’s video debut, they might want to reconsider.

Watch the video below:


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Danielle Berrin writes the award-winning Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile...

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