1928- R.M.S Majestic to New York

OLIVER-RMS MAJESTIC_1928_1Wednesday, June 13th, 1928- The White Star Line’s R.M.S. Majestic, then the largest passenger vessel in the world sets sail for New York.


On board are film producer David Oliver and his wife, Edith Oliver.


Avid bridge players, they would always make it a point to scan the ship’s list for any suitable fellow passengers willing to “make up a rubber”.

On this particular journey they would be joined by some illustrious fellow passengers.

If you examine the list above perhaps you will find their names…

The Story of Ibérica Films

Founded in 1933, “Ibérica Films S.A.” was a Barcelona film company famous for their 1934 production “Doña Francisquita”.
For the Jewish exiles expelled from the nazi-controlled German film world, Ibérica was both film production company and underground railroad, providing employment to those who had nowhere left to run. The story of their tenacity and courage is almost impossible to believe.

Trailer- “Mr. Oliver- The Story of a Film Family”

The long-awaited documentary on the life of silent film producer David Oliver has a new name and a new trailer!

Composed of rare “Oliver” film clips drawn from the archives of over half a dozen national archives, the new trailer features the voice of Mr. Oliver’s English-born daughter-in-law, Jeanne Oliver. Bravo, Jeanne!!

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“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” Live at the Cinematheque – Saturday, Nov.12th


For ninety-seven years, the jagged shadows of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari have swept across the imagination.
For myself, as the Vancouver-born grandson of David Oliver, one of the film’s original producers, Caligari is much more than a screen classic; it is a family heirloom that carries with it a strange curse. On Saturday, Nov. 12th, the Pacific Cinematheque will host a very special screening of this 1920 Expressionist masterpiece accompanied by a live musical performance by the Oliver-Film Ensemble. Please join us for an evening of extraordinary music, beauty and mystery in what can only be described as a “cinematic séance”.Where: Vancouver Cinematheque 1131 Howe st. Vancouver, Canada
When: Saturday, Nov. 12th @7 p.m.
For tickets and information click hereBackground Info
Founder of Germany’s legendary UFA Studios, David Oliver was a man for whom the term “movie mogul” might’ve been created.
The producer of over 200 silent films, he once controlled a cinema empire that stretched from Budapest to Amsterdam.
In 1934, after a Berlin bomb attack by Nazi assassins, he vanished without trace.
In 2011, his papers were re-discovered in a Vancouver basement.David Oliver literally belongs to the founding generation of German film producers…
Jan-Christopher Horak
-Director of UCLA Film & Television Archive

What did a producer in the early days of cinema do? He invented what a producer was…

David Oliver’s story is exemplary
Dr. Martin Koerber
-Curator and Director of the Museum of German Film & Television, Berlin



UFA MAN-A Journey into the Past

Vancouver January 2011:
The canvas upon which we create the story of our identity is never blank. We grow up assuming we have the power to define ourselves, when in reality the past is clouded with secrets and nothing- including our very selves is what it seems.

Gran, Alexandra,Me-Aug_1970.jpg
August, 1970- My Grandmother, Edith and I with my baby sister Alexandra.

What if the picture behind you shifted and, all of a sudden, you were no longer the person you thought you were? What if you were to discover that everything you knew about your family’s origins was a fabrication?

Five years ago this happened to me when a suitcase was discovered in the basement of our Vancouver home. We opened it to find papers belonging to our grandfather identifying him as film producer of Expressionist masterpiece The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and placing him at the center of a vast sphere of influence as founding director of Germany’s UFA Studios.

How could we explain the papers describing his survival from a 1934 Nazi assassination plot? Far from merely revealing the last testament of a movie mogul, the Pandora’s box contained a secret, one which our own father had kept from us: We were a family of Jewish exiles who’d erased their identities in a bid for survival.

Continue reading “UFA MAN-A Journey into the Past”