The Great Celebration of Life
Story: MyCity reporter, Alon Gaver Photography: Pacho
The Tel Aviv Cinematheque was the venue of a very touching encounter on Sunday, 28 January 2007, at the premiere screening of the new documentary by Tzvika Vloch, noting 15 years to the establishment of the Heart Transplant Unit of the Sheba Medical Center.
Approximately 400 people arrived at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, including 130 heart transplant patients who celebrated life. But this was undoubtedly a double celebration. The director of the film, Tzvika Vloch, who documented footage for the “Moments in Life” series over a period of eight years, contracted cancer two years ago, underwent bone marrow transplantation and overcame the disease.
“Although I sometimes run into the transplant patients at the follow up clinics at the medical center, I feel happy all over again whenever I see them going on with their lives” says Dr. Jay (Jacb) Lavee, Head of the Heart Transplant Unit at “Sheba”, starring in Vloch’s film. When Lavee was asked whether he is excited by the upcoming screening, he responded: “Yes, very much so, although I am not an actor. But my true excitement is experienced in the operating room.”
Vloch, in his film “A Race Against Time” documented an intense race conducted between two countries, Israel and Cyprus, in order to save the life of a Cypriot patient who urgently needed a heart transplant to save his life. The film accompanies the entire process in real time, an opportunity made possible through the consent of the Cypriot family donating the organs of their daughter, Marina Lacmodo, after she was killed in a car accident. Their donation saved the lives of four human beings.
“We, at Sheba, will continue the transplantation race” said Sheba General Manager, Professor Zeev Rothstein, who was touched at the sight of the many successful transplant patients who attended the screening, and thanked the families of the donors for their donation.
Another star of Vloch’s film flew in from Cyprus especially to attend the Celebration of Life at the Cinematheque; it was Andreas Miltiadou, the transplant patient, accompanied by his family and grandchildren. When asked how he is feeling today, Miltiadou answered: “Young”. When the family met Dr. Lavee, Chariklia Miltiadou, Andreas’ wife, burst into tears. Lavee hugged her warmly and said: “This is a happy day, you should be happy”, wiping here tears. “These are tears of excitement and happiness”, she smiled back at Lavee.
Zehava Shilon, Vloch’s sister and mother of the film editor, Yaron Shilon, was especially excited since Vloch dedicated the film to their father, who had passed away. “It’s a pity that our father could not attend the screening. He would have definitely been happy. Although my brother, Tzvika, did not carry on in dad’s footsteps, I am glad to see Tzvika and the kids finding each other in shared projects”.
“Cypriots returning to Cyprus after receiving treatment in Israel, become the best ambassadors that Israel could hope for”, sad Cypriot ambassador to Israel, George Zodiates, “here, in Israel, they received the greatest gift of all – the gift of life”.
“It is an excellent film” says the proud father and brother in law,Producer Director, Igal Shilon. “There was not a dull moment throughout the entire film. I think that everyone should donate organs after death. Perhaps that’s because I also saw Tzvika’s previous film, “Dafi”, documenting a lung transplant.”
Shilon Jr., Yaron, tried to conceal his enthusiasm. For Shilon and Tzvika, his uncle, this is the third film produced together. They are now editing the “True Moments” television series and “A Race Against Time” is a part of it. “I’m 29 years old and I remember Tzvika since I was 3. I documented him while he was ill and I got to know new sides to his character”. When Junior was asked how he felt after reading in the paper: “The only thing I said to my nephew Yaron was, you know where the tapes are and I trust you to finish the job”, he answered: “I need Tzvika to complete the job and I am happy that we’re doing it together”.
“Two years ago, I wasn’t sure I’d be standing here at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque and talking to you. I myself got cancer” Vloch shared with the audience after the screening, and added, “as a documentary film producer, I strive to make the world a better place for us, as human beings. If this film motivates one family to donate organs, I will feel that I have fulfilled my duty as an artist”.
“A Race Against Time” was accepted to the international film festival in Cyprus, which will take place in Nicosia in April 2007. In addition, the film was sold to the Cypriot channel, CyBC.
Andreas Miltiaous and Producer Director Tzvika Vloch
Vloch With Dr. Jay Lavee and film editor and Vloch nephew Yaron Shilon
Vloch with Singer Igal and Mika Bashan
Cyprus ambassador to Israel, George Zodiates, Sheba General Manager, Professor Zeev Rothstein with Vloch
Dr. Lavee wiping Chairiklia tears
Vloch with Mom Rachel
Vloch Sister, on the right.