Synopsis: MY NAME IS SARA tells the true life story of Sara Goralnik, a 13-year-old Polish Jew whose
entire family was killed by Nazis in September 1942. After a grueling escape to the Ukrainian
countryside, Sara steals her Christian best friend’s identity and finds refuge in a small village,
where she is taken in by a farmer and his young wife. She soon discovers the dark secrets of her employers’ marriage, compounding her own greatest secret that she must strive to protect, her true identity.
AVAILABLE FOR 72 HRS STARTING Tuesday June 1st AT 6:00 PM
Suzanne and Robert Rubenstein
MY NAME IS SARA is my feature film debut – a deeply personal story that was first shared with
me in 2014 by the woman who survived it. Her married name was Sara Shapiro and for over fifty
years, she hid this incredible true story from her own family, choosing to only reveal the secrets
of her ordeal much later in life.
Sara Shapiro passed away recently, but not before she was able to convey in detail, the horrors of
what she endured to survive. Her memories were the basis for my film and provided a structure
that the screenwriter and I were able to weave into our narrative. Although some of the minor
characters in our film were invented, most of the principals were not, and most of the actions
that transpire are rooted in true events.
While the film was both developed and financed in the US with an American writer/director, it
was cast, shot, edited and posted entirely in Poland. Aside from myself, the entire crew was
comprised of top artists from the Polish film industry. Our talented cast includes Poles,
Germans, Russians and Ukrainians. The role of a 13-year-old Sara was the most difficult to cast.
Our initial attempts to find a professional actress were unsuccessful, so we held open calls in
Poland, seeking over 650 girls. Among them, we discovered a talented young woman who
despite barely speaking English gave an exceptional performance for a first time actress.
MY NAME IS SARA has been the most rewarding project of my career and I am tremendously
proud of what the team and I were able to achieve. I feel extremely grateful to be able to share
Sara’s story with the world and hope that in doing so, it might shed some light on the darkness
of her past.
Steven’s directing background began in the music video industry where he worked with such
acclaimed recording artists as Foo Fighters, Muse, One Republic, Pete Yorn and Paulina Rubio.
From there, he moved into the documentary world with his feature-length debut “American
Native,” which tells the story of a reclusive tribe of Native Americans living 30 minutes from
New York City in the hills of New Jersey. The film appeared at 13 festivals around the world and
earned best documentary/director awards at 4 of them. Steven’s follow-up documentary,
“Accidental Climber,” made its world premiere at the 2018 Napa Valley Film Festival and is
currently on the festival circuit. The film looks at one man’s attempt to become the oldest
American to climb Mt. Everest – what ensued however was the worst disaster in mountaineering
history, leaving 16 climbers dead in a tragic avalanche.
Steven launched his production company, James Lucy Productions, in 2014. His first producing
project as the documentary short “Kid Yamaka,” an intimate profile of troubled boxer Zachary
Wohlman and his path to redemption through boxing, Judaism and sobriety. The film was
selected to the Academy Award qualifying Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival, as
well as DOC NYC – and was later acquired by Vice’s Fightland Channel. James Lucy is currently
developing an episodic series for AMC Networks about a notorious crime family from El Paso,
Texas whose quest for the American Dream fueled a 1970’s drug empire; as well as finalizing
Steven’s feature debut, MY NAME IS SARA.