Jewish filmmaker tells story of his Leeds community

Simon Glass and Leeds actor Ben Casper on location in Leeds.
Simon Glass and Leeds actor Ben Casper on location in Leeds.
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A Leeds film producer is to premiere his film at the Leeds International Jewish Performing Arts festival later this month.

Simon Glass, a traditionalist Jew, directed and produced the film The Last Tribe.

The hour-long film shows, the history of the Leeds Jewish community and how they have progressed over the years, from the slums, to the wealthier suburbs.

Mr Glass, commented: “In a way it’s a huge success story about how they built themselves up from the Leylands. Most of the people interviewed in the film were born there or their parents were.”

The film features around 20 people whom are interviewed, each telling a very different and individual story.

Focusing on the second generation, we learn about the ways they dealt with the war and as Glass commented: “A lot of men said they went into the war as boys and came out as men.”

We also see the generation providing faith in education, that would give skills to their offspring, providing the city with lawyers, barristers and business-men.

An addition to the film, is a fictional character, a 19th century Russian immigrant played by a Leeds actor, who has arrived in Leeds in the 21st century.

The film deals with Russian immigrants, as well as the European immigrants whom came to Leeds during the war.

Glass features the topic of anti-Semitism through many different angles in the films: “Some stood up to anti-Semitic attacks and fought back physically; others were more humble and tried the voice of reason.”

The film however, highlights the diminishing Jewish community.

The Last Tribe will be screened at Northern Ballet, Monday June 27 at 9.15pm.

Alex Newman, partner at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds

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