Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lessons from a Tailor


              A portrait of a holocaust survivor who learned the art of tailoring while imprisoned in a concentration camp. After being liberated and emigrated to America, Martin Greenfield rose from floor boy, to manager, to owner of a garment factory producing custom men's suits in Brooklyn, NY. Along the way he made suits for celebrities, power brokers, and heads of state, including presidents Bill Clinton and Dwight Eisenhower. His sense of style brought him success and allowed him to give back to the city that took him in as a young man. He now provides jobs for hundreds of working class people, most of them immigrants, and produces top quality clothing the old-fashioned way. This film tells his story, and offers a glimpse inside one of the few remaining hand-made suit factories in the world. His infectious passion and hopeful perspective bring his community and his employees more than just jobs.

     More about Lessons from a Tailor from filmmaker Galen Summer.

            “The inspiration for this film came directly from the man himself. When I first met Martin Greenfield at his factory, with the intention of interviewing him for a lifetime achievement award he was receiving for his efforts as an employer and business owner in Bushwick, Brooklyn, it became clear that there was more to his story than mere success in business.
            Here was a man who had pulled himself up from tragedy and hardship, who had survived one of the most horrific events of the 20th century, the Nazi holocaust, and yet still possessed a lightness of spirit. Here was a man who had mastered the art of the perfectly tailored, hand-made suit, and now that art was slowly being forgotten by the rest of the world. Here was a man who at 80 years of age still seemed to be at the height of his powers, who possessed the confidence to dictate the style and fashions of the power elite, just as he had been doing for the past half a century.
            It struck me as a unique opportunity to create a portrait of a person who had overcome great challenges in life, who had accumulated wisdom about clothes and about people, and who had become a humanitarian in the process”.

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