Florida Premiere

DIRECTED BY Rene Balcer, Nicola Zavaglia

Country: Canada
Language: English

Running Time: 92min
Film Year: 2017
Category: Knight Documentary Achievement Award

The story of a terrifyingly arduous journey that is only too resonant today, Above the Drowning Sea, narrated by Juliana Margulies, chronicles the dramatic escape of Jews from Europe on the eve of the Second World War.

As Nazism spread, Jewish refugees sought safe harbor from the coming Holocaust. No place would accept them—except the distant city of Shanghai. Still, to flee Europe required an elusive Chinese visa. Enter Ho Feng Shan, the Chinese Consul in Vienna who braved both the Gestapo and his own government so as to play a pivotal role in bringing the refugees to safety.

Above the Drowning Sea is a documentary with the sweep and stakes of a historical epic. It is at once heroic and harrowing—and a cautionary tale for our troubled times.

This film is also featured in the 2018 Film Festival’s Cinema & China Film Category.



Sunday March 11th @ 1:00pm O CINEMA MIAMI BEACH Add to Schedule

Saturday March 17th @ 1:00pm REGAL 17 Add to Schedule


Director: Rene Balcer, Nicola Zavaglia
Producer: Nicola Zavaglia, Carolyn Hsu-Balcer, Elisabeth Ann Gimber
Screenwriter: Rene Balcer, Nicola Zavaglia
Executive Producer: René Balcer, Cheng Davis
Production Company: Time & Rhythm Cinema

Music: Judith Gruber-Stitzer
Cinematographer: Carlos Ferrand, Olivier Léger, Nicola Zavaglia, René Balcer
Editor: Nicola Zavaglia, Jeremiah Hayes, René Balcer

Subjects: Julianna Margulies, Nick Mancuso, Tony Goldwyn

Rene Balcer, Nicola Zavaglia

Rene Balcer was born in Montreal. He is a multi award-winning journalist, writer and filmmaker. He was the co-creator and show-runner for Law & Order: Criminal Intent (01–11). Above the Drowning Sea (17), co-directed with Nicola Zavaglia, is his feature directorial debut.

Nicola Zavaglia was born in Calabria, Italy, and grew up in Montreal, where he studied film at Loyola College. His directorial credits include Harry Gulkin: Red Dawn on Main Street (04) and Journey to Ithaca (16). Above the Drowning Sea (17), co-directed with Rene Balcer, is his latest film.