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TIFF Futures: 'No Place On Earth' Director Janet Tobias On Telling "One of the Best Stories I Ever Heard"

By Justin Krajeski | Indiewire September 12, 2012 at 10:17AM

As a woman who began her career as a journalist at 60 Minutes working for Diane Sawyer and Don Hewitt, it's safe to say that Janet Tobias is no stranger to a good story. You can imagine, then, how extra-ordinary a story must be for her to dub it "one of the best stories I had ever heard" - which she says of the plot behind her newest film, "No Place On Earth".
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Janet Tobias
As a woman who began her career as a journalist at 60 Minutes working for Diane Sawyer and Don Hewitt, it's safe to say that Janet Tobias is no stranger to a good story. You can imagine, then, how extra-ordinary a story must be for her to dub it "one of the best stories I had ever heard" - which she says of the plot behind her newest film, "No Place On Earth".
 

Tobias, a genuine lover of stories and history, was determined to bring this - her first feature documentary - to actualization. A true tale that brings to light the strength of the bonds we create between family and the power of what we can accomplish together, "No Place on Earth" reminds us of the obligation we have to pass these stories forward.

What the movie is about: "One of the longest underground survivals. A group of Jewish families flee the Nazis by descending into caves during World War II."

"No Place on Earth"
TIFF "No Place on Earth"

What was the most pressing trial you faced going into this project? "There were a lot of challenges on this project: attempting to bring the survivors back to the cave and finding the funding to do the story on the scale it deserved."

Learning by way of observation: "Although no single film was an inspiration, everyday I learn about filmmaking by watching other directors work: both narrative directors and documentary directors."

Next up: "A documentary on the world memory games, a drama set in the 1920s oil fields of Oklahoma, a drama set in the juvenile justice system, and a 3D IMAX film about the human eco-system: how the human body lives together with bacteria and viruses."

Indiewire invited select newcomers to the Toronto International Film Festival to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faces, and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses throughout TIFF. Go HERE to read other profiles.

This article is related to: Janet Tobias, Toronto International Film Festival, Meet the 2012 TIFF Filmmakers, Futures