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Document the Story of A Loved One

by Rhonda Spivak, December 12, 2010

Yolanda Papini-Pollock and Shirit Pais have decided to open a new business which documents a person’s life by making a life legacy film that preserves that person’s story for future generations. They also create photo books.
Papini –Pollock, who has a Masters in Education specializing in technology and has taught at the Gray Academy of Jewish Education and the Margaret Park bilingual program, says she has always been interested in film–making:
“Over the years I made many movies for family members and as part of my work with my students. I lost my father at a young age and since his siblings and parents are deceased as well, I felt that their family story was lost with their death. The idea is that everyone has a story to tell and everyone has a family that will cherish their stories for generations to come”
Papini-Pollock, who is married to Dr. Bradley Pollock and has three children,grew up in Pardes Chana, a small village near Haifa, interviewed her mother to get her story:
“. When my mother got older I interviewed her as well because I wanted to ensure that her story is told. I feel that there is no better way to document someone's life story than on film, using his/her voice. I was very appreciative that I interviewed my mother because I lost her recently -she died last year- but her story will remain with the family for future generations.
Shirit Pais is a new immigrant to Winnipeg, also from Israel, who came here with her  family about a year ago and has had a similar business in Israel.
“ My dream was to start a business here as a videographer and film producer.  I had been teaching videography and film production to young students [including apecial needs students] for about 20 years in   Israel, and also had my own business filming and producing life cycle events on film, producing short documentaries and life memories on film. 
Like Papini-Pollock, Pais, who has taken an  Applied Engineering course specializing in video and film production in Israel, believes “ that families have special stories to tell that need to be passed on from generation to generation.”
“ I also just lost my dad who passed away suddenly at a young age and although I have some short clips of him with my children, I don't have his story on film.  I believe it is a mitzvah to film and record these precious stories so that the memory of our loved ones will live forever,” she says.  

Papini-Pollock says what she likes most about this endeavour is “that we can help people bring their story to life. We feel that the story is more meaningful when we edit it using photographs and documents. We also like to see the appreciation of the people when we present them with the final results. It is very touching and fulfilling.”
She adds, “We have done a few autobiographies already. These movies are a wonderful present for birthdays and other events.”
Papini-Pollock, who also paints in her spare time, says that “In order to make an interesting movie, it is important to be creative..I also teach art and my artistic nature inspires me to make more interesting movies.
The biographies for the film are not written.
“They are told by the person directly to the camera. Yolanda interviews people with questions in order to get as much information as possible,” says Pais, who videographs the interview. Together the women editing  the film. 
Papini-Pollock adds, “We also use photographs that are provided by the family. These photographs are scanned in order to include them in the movie. We also use these photos to make photo books that can be used and enjoyed by all family members. 
We feel that it is a privilege to preserve people's memories.”
Papini-Pollock and Pais first met through Pais’s mother Ruti Maman.

“Ruti and I used to work together at the Gray Academy. When Shirit moved here we met and became close friends,” says Papini-pollock.
For more information aobut Shirland Productions, call 294-4032 or visit




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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.