Welcome
What People are Saying
About "Secret Courage"

Film Festivals
International Exposure
Film Newsletters

Walter Suskind
Story Synopsis
How the Story Found Us

Film Outline
Why This Film?

The Interviewees
The Production Team
Cast & Crew

Ries Vanderpol's Story,
In His Own Words

How the Film has
Connected People

How the Film was Made
Production Timeline

NYC Screening
American Premiere Party
Dutch Premiere Party
Screening Calendar
Arrange a Screening
Distribution

Funding Request
Funding Summary
Make a Donation

Order the DVD
Order the Soundtrack
Contact the Producers

In 1998, Tim Morse made a 15-minute video about Walter Suskind for the Wang Center for the Performing Arts in Boston, a project which left him convinced that the complete story someday needed to be told.

In 2002, Tim Morse decided that the time had come to create this film. With the support of his wife Karen, he informed Ries and Netty Vanderpol that it was “now or never”. Tim assembled a small production team, convinced them to work on a deferred payment basis, and prepared for a trip to the Netherlands.

Through connections made by Ries Vanderpol and Piet Meerburg, interviews were arranged with historians and journalists, with members of the Dutch Resistance who had worked with Suskind, and with three of the saved children (now adults). Although initially the team had only a few contacts among this group, each person involved was enthusiastic about the project and determined to help us with the film. Each contact led to another, and soon there were seventeen people waiting for the production team to arrive in the Netherlands.

In February 2003, Tim traveled to Amsterdam with Dana Bille, Federico Muchnik and Ries Vanderpol. They traveled to different parts of Holland, recording seventeen interviews in fourteen days. They made contact with representatives of The Jewish Historical Museum (Joodes Historich Museum, “JHM”), the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam (Versetzmuseum), and the Dutch War Documentation Archives (NIOD). They spent days shooting film and photos at locations in Holland where the story took place. They came home with volumes of film and photos, and a new wealth of knowledge about Walter Suskind and his story.

During the course of 2003, the interviews were transcribed and catalogued, the script was outlined and story boards created. Additional research and fact-checking was done and drafts of the script were created. Interviews were conducted in the U.S. with Hilde Goldberg and Bernie Suskind. Tim also actively pursued funding options for the film, all while keeping his full-time photography business running.

Because of various other commitments among members of the production team, film production lay dormant for most of 2004.

In early 2005, Tim renewed the effort to complete the film. Karen came on board to run a fund raising campaign and assist in the editing. In March, Tim, Karen and Dana returned to the Netherlands to research historical photos and film footage in Dutch archives. They found still photos at JHM and NIOD and spent a long day selecting film footage at the Netherlands Light and Sound archives (Beeld en Geluid) in Hilversum. Through a series of wonderful connections, they were also able to record interviews with four additional people, including two more saved children.

April 2005 found Karen & Tim editing and scripting on a daily basis. A private Premiere Party was scheduled for September and the team worked hard to meet the deadline. Ries and Netty recorded additional historical commentary and Wendie Skakeeny, a professional voice talent, provided the voice of the narrator.

Christopher Hossfeld immersed himself in the Suskind story to compose a unique and moving musical score. Dana Bille worked digital magic to restore archival photos and ready them for the film.

After six months of 16-hour workdays, the film was in its final form. On September 26, the Premiere party was held at the Sorenson Theater at Babson College in Wellesley MA. Eight of the interviewees attended, bringing family and friends, and joining an audience of over 400 people.

In October 2005, Tim and Chris Temper of Video Transfer in Boston collaborated to improve “Secret Courage” with some technical enhancements and master the film for duplication. In November 2005, 1000 DVD copies of the film were delivered in a new “flipper disc” format: Side A in the American NTSC format and Side B in the European PAL format. Also in November, Chris Temper’s team mastered and duplicated the film soundtrack on CD.

related links
Walter Suskind
  • To learn more about how Tim Morse and the Production
    Team originally became involved with this film,
    go to How the Story Found Us
  • How the film has connected people - The film has brought people together in some very unexpected ways.
    Read the newest entries in our journal.
  • To learn more about the American and Dutch premiere
    parties and to view the photo galleries,
    go to Premiere Parties.
Walter Suskind
related links
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