San Francisco Coordinating Committee Hosts Screening of Director Finn Taylor’s, Avenue of the Giants

March 13, 2024 A SFCC Screening Q&A

On March 13, the San Francisco Coordinating Committee meeting included a special screening of Bay Area Director Finn Taylor’s drama, Avenue of the Giants, followed by a Q&A with the Director and his team.

Avenue of the Giants tells the true story of Herbert Heller who kept his miraculous escape from the Auschwitz Birkenau death march a secret for 60 years, even from his family. That is, until he meets Abbey, a young teenager whose own brush with pain and death inspires him to open up as well, leading the two of them to exchange their stories as a meaningful and healing friendship is born.

Following the screening, Taylor discussed the making of the film with Director Frank Zamacona (Elixir of Love) and invited his 1st AD John Morse and his 2nd AD Cindy Taylor onstage to participate as well. They spoke about the challenges that this low budget feature endured, including shooting in both Northern California and the Czech Republic and how the crew was able to effectively reconstruct Auschwitz in Prague.

Taylor also answered questions about casting both main characters – Stephen Lang as Herbert, best known for portraying the villain in James Cameron’s Avatar films, and Elsie Fisher as Abbey, known for her complicated characters on series such as The Summer I Turned Pretty and the DGA Award-winning Barry. The night ended with a story from the set about when they were shooting in a cemetery and a blue heron that wandered into the frame. The bird exhibited no fear of the crew, and meandered closer and closer. The crew ended up shooting footage of the brave heron which made it into the film, and at the end of the shoot day they discovered that they were shooting less than 300 feet from Heller’s final resting place.

Taylor’s other directorial credits include the features Dream with the Fishes, Unleashed and The Darwin Awards. He has been a DGA member since 2004.

About the Committee:

The San Francisco Coordinating Committee was formed in 1978 to coordinate Guild activities in the Bay Area. The Committee hosts a number of educational presentations and networking events during the year.

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