Anna Paquin: The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler Fort Scott Premiere

April 18, 2009 by  

Anna Paquin‘s performance in the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, The Courageous Heat of Irena Sendler premiered in Fort Scott, Kansas on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at the Liberty Theatre. The Fort Scott Tribune was there for the special event and is presented here in entirety as reported by

isannaLocal VIPs assembled at Liberty Theatre for the world premiere of “The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler.”

More than 400 people were in attendance to view the Hallmark Hall of Fame film. Attendees included Writer-Director John Kent Harrison, Executive Producers Brent Shields and Jeff Most, Hallmark CEO Don Hall with his wife, Adele, and other Hallmark representatives. Also attending were current and past members of the “Life in a Jar” project.

The Hallmark-produced film is based on the life of Irena Sendler, a social worker in the 1940s, who led an effort to smuggle more than 2,500 of Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. The children were given new identities and placed with Polish families and in convents. Sendler kept a hidden record of their birth names and where they were placed buried in jars with the hope that they would someday be reunited with their own families.

“This was a film that had to be made,” Harrison said. Special attendee, Renata Zajdman was one of the 2,500 Jewish children rescued by Sendler. After the film she spoke of her experience with Sender. “Her goodness during a time of evil, effects how I view the world today,” Zajdman said. “She worked in a time when murder was legal and rescue was a crime.”

Sendler’s story also led to the creation of “Life in a Jar” in 1999 by a group of Uniontown High School students which has since become globally known. The project is a stage play designed by the students telling Sendler’s story. The play has been performed in the United States and around the world.

“It’s unbelievable … we love knowing that Irena’s story is being shared with the world,” Jessica Ripper, co-founder of “Life in a Jar“, said. “That was our whole goal from the very beginning.”

Renata Zajdman, left, and daughter Sharon make their way into Liberty Theatre on the red carpet for the world premiere of the Hallmark Hall of Fame film, "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler." Zajdman was one of the more than 2,500 Jewish children saved by Sendler during the Holocaust.

Renata Zajdman, left, and daughter Sharon make their way into Liberty Theatre on the red carpet for the world premiere of the Hallmark Hall of Fame film, "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler." Zajdman was one of the more than 2,500 Jewish children saved by Sendler during the Holocaust.

Norm Conard, Lowell Milken Center Director and co-founder of “Life in a Jar“, received a standing ovation as he was introduced following the film. Conard was the teacher of the students who created “Life in a Jar” as an extracurricular project that did not even receive a grade.

“All teachers aspire to make a difference in the lives of their students and see their students make a difference in the lives of others, but this is unusual, let’s face it,” Conard said. “Its to the credit of the great story of Irena Sendler, its to the credit of these young people.”

Ripper said Hallmark rarely premiers their films where the idea happened. She added the event is the first premier event in which the Halls personally attended.

“To know that (Hallmark) wanted to honor us by having this in Fort Scott is very touching for us,” Ripper said.

The network television premiere of the movie, staring Goran Visnijic, Marcia Gay Harden, and Anna Paquin as Sendler, is scheduled for 8 p.m. Sunday, April 19, on CBS (KOAM, Ch. 7, locally).

For more information on Sendler, visit www.irenasendler.org or contact the Lowel Milken Center at (620) 223-9991.

SOURCE: The Fort Scott Tribune: Fort Scott hosts ‘Sendler’ premiere

(Photo credit: Hallmark Hall of Fame and Michael Pommier/Tribune photo)

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