Tyler Gildin’s family didn’t share much about how his grandfather survived the Holocaust, but when details emerged at a funeral, Gilden, an up-and-coming filmmaker from Hewlett, knew he had to turn the lens on his family for a documentary.
In The Starfish, explores the story of the filmmaker’s late grandfather, Herb Gildin, a Jewish man who escaped from Germany during the beginning of the Holocaust in 1938.
“My grandfather was willing to tell the full story, but before the idea of the film he did not talk much about it, just like many other people from that time period,” the filmmaker said ahead of International Holocaust Rememberance Day on Wednesday. “He was more focused on the future and progressing forward with life.”
Tyler said he was inspired to create the film after his grandfather’s sister passed away in February of 2017, when he heard his eulogy on her “gave me details that I never knew on the role his sister had really played.”
The significance of the role she played in Herb’s life opened Tyler’s eyes and sparked an interest in really digging deeper on his family’s history. It was at that point the film began to come to light, and with his grandfather being 88 at the time, Tyler thought what better time than to start now.
The film in its entirety took about a week to film but around two years to be fully edited and produced. He said it “seems like these events in history were so long ago, but they really were not. Those events may have been too soon to speak on for the second generation but it’s special for the third generation to learn about their grandparents’ stories.”
His previous works have earned him four New York Emmy Awards. The Starfish won the Audience Award for Documentary Short at the Syracuse International Film Festival and is currently available on AppleTV, Prime Video, Vimeo on Demand and several other streaming services.