Out and About
“On My Way Out: The Secret Life of Nani and Popi” – World Film Premiere at TIFF
The World Premiere of ON MY WAY OUT: THE SECRET LIFE OF NANI AND POPI at TIFF 2017 is a Special Event screening happening on Friday, September 8, 2017 at 3 PM at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Roman (Popi) and Ruth (Nani) Blank, Holocaust survivors, aged 95 years old, are the personification of an enduring and loving relationship. The life of any party, their charm and love of life and for each other endears them to family and a wide circle of friends. After the trauma of losing family in the Holocaust and being banished from their small Polish village to the Siberian work camps, Ruth and Roman find each other after the war, get married and settle in the U.S. where they raise their two daughters and build a business.
As they prepare to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary, Popi reveals an explosive secret that shocks the family and shatters the carefully constructed charade the couple hid behind for decades. Popi is gay. Coming out as a gay man at age 95 yr. has complications. The truth rips open a painful wound and sends Ruth into physical decline. Roman is finally free to seek the male intimacy and companionship he craves. But is it too late? And, daughters Lili and Susie scramble not only to understand their parents’ in a new light, but to accommodate Nani and Popi’s new situation, needs and desires as best they can.
First time directors Brandon Gross, and Skyler Gross, are not only brothers but Nani and Popi’s grandsons. Both have burgeoning careers in film and television and they decided to make On My Way Out to “memorialize our grandparents and the unthinkable sacrifices they made for their family”. Brandon and Skyler also hope “the film encourages others to live their truth”.
Popi and Nani’s truth has also had an impact on others outside the family. Once the word got out about the story family friend Howie Mandel was so moved he decided to encourage and support the brothers to get the film made. Mandel said, “When I heard this story, I realized it represented the epitome of stigma and lies and the pain they cause. Watching one family’s release of the truth makes us aware of how proud we should be to be a human with humility.”
And then when Howie Mandel pitched the story to director Barry Avrich at the 2016 CSA Awards, Barry offered to produce the film through to completion. Avrich said, “On My Way Out is an anthem in today’s world to be proud of who you are and find the love you deserve. I am delighted to be a part of some extraordinary story telling in this film”
Life altering family histories like Capturing The Friedmans and The Stories We Tell are fertile ground for documentary filmmakers and with ON MY WAY OUT: THE SECRET LIFE OF NANI AND POPI Brandon Gross and Skyler Gross tell a powerful story of two people in search of love on their own terms and the transformative power of a secret on those that love unconditionally.
Friday, September 8, 2017 3:00PM TIFF Bell Lightbox
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.