For the Life of Me

Pete lives in LA. He is an experienced TV Commercial, Documentary Executive & Filmmaker
This is his very personal documentary about the discovery of both his heritage and his family’s history, “For the Life of Me”

Film Synopsis

Following a heart attack, fifty-year-old Peter Vanlaw is haunted by questions about his family.  He delves into his father’s long-held secret and discovers that his family is Jewish.  Upon the death of his parents, he uncovers hundreds of family photos and reels of 16mm film. This wealth of material leads him to family stories of pathos and danger dating back to the early 1900s.

Ultimately,  all are woven into a  film about the discoveries of his heritage, of close relatives he never knew, of the ravages of his mother’s mental illness, of a grandparent’s suicide, and of the lasting damage caused by the Holocaust. His story takes us from California to pre-war Germany, Europe, Asia and beyond.

Blog: stories researched by Pete when developing his film:

Lesson Plans

In two parts. The first is the lesson plan for grades 3 thru 12, and the second is for upper level students (USA). Contact Eli:

Film – 45 mins


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *