Hilary Helstein began her work in the humanitarian field with Spielberg’s USC Shoah Foundation, where she directed/produced over 250 interviews with survivors, liberators and rescuers. Her commitment to teaching history initiated the 10+ year journey in creating the documentary, As Seen Through These Eyes, (narrated by Maya Angelou, co-produced by the Sundance Channel) collecting testimonies from Holocaust artist-survivors, including Simon Wiesenthal, about art used as a form of resistance and mental escape and healing. The film has garnered multiple international awards including Best Film at the prestigious Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in Greece as well as in Warsaw, Argentina, Los Angeles and others. It won the Director’s Choice Gold Medal for Excellence, Award for Best Impact of Music in a Documentary at the Park City Film Music Festival. It was shown at the United Nations for their special Holocaust Remembrance Program and subsequently screened at UN offices throughout the world including the EU Headquarters in Brussels, Vienna’s UNIS, Israel, Myanmar, South Africa, the Philippines and Namibia, as a human rights film.
Hilary’s passion for film led her to the position of Executive Director/CEO/co-founder of the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival LAJFF), now in its sixteenth year.
Beyond film, Hilary has curated art exhibitions including “Samuel Bak: Between Worlds” for the Jewish Federation in Los Angeles, “Memory and Meaning” for the LA Museum of the Holocaust, and the most recent traveling exhibit, “Art Survives: Expressions from the Holocaust,” based on the artwork in As Seen Through These Eyes.