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Sunday, June 16, 2024

The Power of Storytelling

Filmmaker Stan Newman calls Holocaust project ‘the opportunity of a lifetime’

A behind-the-camera presence in Evansville for decades, Stan Newman has a passion for storytelling.

The 1965 graduate of Benjamin Bosse High School briefly worked at Whirlpool after being discharged from the U.S. Air Force. He says he “found out real quick I was not a factory worker,” and decided to follow his older brother into television work.

It was a wise move. Newman studied radio and television at what is now the University of Southern Indiana, and he went on to a 41-year career with WEHT-TV in various production and direction roles before retiring in 2011.

Today, Newman’s company, Direction by Newman, churns out video content for local nonprofit agencies, who say his keen eye and interviewing skills enable them to share their missions with wide audiences.

Newman says his work with organizations such as Santa’s Clothes Club and Easterseals Rehabilitation Center is some of the most rewarding, but he describes his current video production on a Holocaust tie to Evansville as “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Mark Browning, board chairman of the Evansville Wartime Museum, reached out to New- man about a planned display on Evansville’s Rechnic family. Newman says the project, tentatively called “Never Forget, Never Again,” has “many twists and turns” that “will keep you on the edge of your seat.”

Irene Rechnic, who died in July 2022, was born in 1934 to Edward and Regina Rechnic in Poland. Edward and Regina were interned at and later survived Auschwitz. They reunited with Irene and, in 1953, immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Evansville near an aunt.

This year, Newman flew to Southern California to interview Simon Spiegelman, a 94-year-old cousin of Irene Rechnic and a Holocaust survivor. Spiegelman, Newman says, maintains a sharp memory of Auschwitz.

“It’s a story of not only survival but of success,” Newman says.

Newman is producing 10-minute and 30-minute versions of the film, both of which will be available in early 2024 at the Museum. He says the half-hour show will be available for “anybody that wants it,” and WNIN has shown interest in airing it upon completion.

For Newman, the chance to preserve such an important historical chapter is a reminder of why he got so interested in filmmaking all those years ago. He says the support of his wife of 52 years, Sandra Rhodes, has been vital to his career.

“I’m pretty lucky to be able to do what I do,” Newman says.

PRESERVING HISTORY

directionbynewman.com

evansvillewartimemuseum.org

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