The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

March 19, 2014

Spielberg's Shoah Foundation expands, turns 20

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Steven Spielberg isn't planning on making any more Holocaust movies. The Oscar-winning director is leaving that to the Shoah Foundation.

After "Schindler's List," Spielberg turned his lens on real survivors of the World War II Jewish genocide through his foundation, which has since filmed nearly 52,000 testimonies from Holocaust survivors around the world. As the organization turns 20, it has expanded its mission to include interviews with survivors of other genocides, including those in Armenia, Cambodia and Rwanda.

Spielberg was inspired to create the foundation after meeting so many Holocaust survivors while making "Schindler's List," which tells the story of a German businessman who used his Nazi ties to rescue 1,100 Jews from the Holocaust. The film's greatest legacy isn't its seven Oscars, $300 million in worldwide box office or even its message of humanity, says the 67-year-old, but the ongoing work of the Shoah Foundation.

"It literally popped into my head on the drive back to my house in Krakow after a day of shooting the film that if 'Schindler's List' had any success at all, the success would not be a monetary, commercial one, but the success would be that this film would open a door for me to start taking as many testimonies as humanly possible," Spielberg said in a telephone interview Monday on behalf of the organization, now known as USC Shoah Foundation — The Institute for Visual History and Education. He also wrote the introduction for a book commemorating its 20th anniversary, "Testimony: The Legacy of Schindler's List and the USC Shoah Foundation," which will be released next week.

Spielberg, who riled the film industry last year when he predicted "an implosion" of the Hollywood studio system spawned by mega-budget flops, declined to address those comments. But would a studio invest in a film like "Schindler's List" today?

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