The Sarasota Film Festival never disappoints. Always the harbinger and trendsetter of interesting and sometimes award winning stories on film. So, when the press conference call came in for the Opening night of films, we gladly drove through crazy snowbird traffic to the Westin to meet some of the creators of these gems.
Not knowing what to expect, the menu was sensational! That is a very good thing in these days of average fare.
Enter in the creators and storyteller extraordinaire, Randy Schoenberg, his son Joey Schoenberg and writer, Director, Matthew Mishory.
You may have heard of Randy Schoenberg. In his other life, he has quite the interesting backstory.
Randy is an American lawyer and genealogist, based in Los Angeles, California, specializing in legal cases related to the recovery of looted or stolen artworks, particularly those by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust.
Schoenberg is widely known as one of the central figures of the 2015 film Woman in Gold, which depicted the case of Maria Altmann against the government of Austria. Schoenberg is portrayed by Ryan Reynolds
Schoenberg represented Maria Altmann in her suit to obtain five Gustav Klimt paintings from the estate of Ferdinand and Adele Bloch-Bauer as well as the “Palais”, the Viennese house in which the paintings had been housed. Altmann won her case before the Supreme Court of the United States against the government of Austria in Republic of Austria v. Altmann in 2004. Schoenberg operated on a contingent fee basis and reportedly received 40% of the proceeds from the Klimt paintings, amounting to a legal fee of over $120 million. He used a portion of his fee to fund a new building and expansion of the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Schoenberg is featured in the documentary films Stealing Klimt and Adele’s Wish, which deal with the events surrounding Altmann’s case against the government of Austria. He is depicted by Ryan Reynolds in Woman in Gold, a 2015 feature film dramatizing the case.
“The experience of filming Fioretta as well as being able to learn about my family’s history helped me connect with myself on a deeper level. Being able to spend quality time with my Dad is something I always enjoy but the added benefit of him passing on our heritage to me is an indescribable feeling of pleasure. I am honored to be able to come from such a cultured background and I hope to be able to share that connection with my future generations.” said Joey Schoenberg.
The beautiful and compelling documentary, Fioretta is another great love of Randy’s. Since he was a young man, he was Genealogy-obsessed. In those days, obtaining information was much slower, but the joy was in the process. He drags his reluctant teenage son Joey on a journey of discovery through 500 years of family history, all the way back to the founders of the Jewish ghetto in Venice, Italy. Grandson of the famous composer Arnold Schoenberg, Randy is renowned for recovering Nazi-looted art, but his greatest achievement might just be reuniting the fractured and scattered shards of his own family.
Full of interesting and colorful characters that share the same passion for discovery, art, music and love of the human condition, wherever in the world our families might reside.
The sneak preview is a beautiful work of art on a explorative journey of finding something with your son and those that have been lost. And, the reconnection with new beginnings.
Look for Fioretta at upcoming film festivals!