NEW PALTZ — June Beallor, a 1983 graduate of the State University of New York at New Paltz, was among those on stage when the Academy Award for the Best Feature Length Documentary, “The Last Days,” was handed out Sunday evening. She joined director and editor James Moll, who immediately recognized her contribution as producer, and the film’s other Producer, Ken Lipper, in accepting the honor.
“The Last Days” is an account of the final days of the Jews of Hungary, rounded up by the Nazis, in 1944. The story is told by five people, all Americans now, who as young people survived the Holocaust. The film, which was shot on locations in the United States, Europe and Ukraine, follows the five individuals back to their hometowns, as they recount pleasant childhood memories, then deportation to the camps, narrow escapes from execution, liberation, and their journeys to America. Building new lives out of their turbulent childhoods, the documentary depicts the tenacity and courage or these survivors.
Steven Spielberg was the executive producer. “The Last Days” is distributed by October Films.
The current issue of the college’s alumni publication, Observer, features a cover story on Beallor, who earned a bachelor’s degree with dual majors in sociology and journalism. Beallor is quoted saying,” My education in social responsibility began at SUNY New Paltz. I loved that school. On a daily basis, I think about things I learned in those classes.”
Approximately 10 years ago Beallor and Moll, founding executive directors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which maintains an archive and cataloging system of interviews with survivors of the Holocaust, collaborated with Spielberg on a feasibility study on gathering survivor testimonies.
The Foundation’s first documentary, “Survivors of the Holocaust,” produced by Beallor and Moll, won a Peabody, two prime time Emmys, a cable ACE award, and a National Education Association award.
Beallor also produced the documentary, “The Lost Children of Berlin,” which was narrated by Anthony Hopkins.