Miriam Saul Krant "Mimi" was the
co-founder of The National
Center for Jewish Film and
served as its Associate
Director for over 30 years.
She worked with unstinting
dedication to preserve the
visual record of the Jewish
people. In the mid-1970s,
Mimi and Sharon Pucker Rivo
undertook the project of
rescuing a languishing
collection of Yiddish-language
feature films produced in the
1930s and 1940s. The Center they founded houses over 10,000 cans of film -the largest collection of Jewish film outside Israel- and is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of film preservation and Jewish culture.
Washington Jewish Film Festival Director Josh Ford issued the following statement at the 2006 festival:
"This Friday’s screening of The Living Orphan is in memory of Miriam Saul Krant. We don’t explain who Mimi was in the brochure, so allow me to elaborate a little bit here.
"Mimi was quite simply one of the most remarkable people I ever had the privilege of knowing. For many years she was the co-founder and Associate Director for the National Center for Jewish Film at Brandeis University where she contributed to the restoration of dozens of important Yiddish films. She also worked hand-in-hand with Director Sharon Pucker Rivo to build the NCJF’s film catalog and they now represent literally hundreds of Jewish films that would not otherwise find a distributor in the marketplace. More than that, Mimi was an astute critic with an acerbic wit and an unflinching honesty that held nothing back. Those who were her colleagues respected her. Those who were her friends loved her.
"As a man working in a field that is populated mostly by women (important Jewish film festivals in Boston, NY, Berlin, San Francisco and Palm Beach are all run by women), I have had many surrogate mothers and honorary sisters. Among all of them, Mimi held a special place. She was the first to send you salt and bread when you moved into a new home. She mooned over pictures of my children as if they were her own. I wish I could remember the last conversation I had with her – it probably had something to do with a screening of The Dybbuk we were doing last winter. She was just always there and then suddenly, too quickly she wasn’t – we lost her too early to a respiratory illness that had hindered her for years, but which never dimmed her personality at all – so much so that I was shocked that in the end it proved the greater adversary that took her from us. She passed away on February 26, 2006. I miss her every day and I miss our talks that began with film, wandered into politics detoured into gossip and circled round to personal thoughts and confidences. I miss her so much I wish we had captured her on film – just to be in her radiant presence again.
"When my children were born – it was around the time of the 2004 election – Mimi said to me in great exasperation just after the election, 'Apologize to your children. We were supposed to hand them a better world and we just screwed it up more.' But Mimi, if you can hear me – and she would probably say I was talking nonsense to suggest that she can – but if you can hear me, please know that YOU made this world a better place. You made it better through your honest and noble work, your sincere love and your unwavering friendship which so touched me and many many others. I miss you today and always."
Miriam Saul Krant