Crossing the River

  • Director

    Allan Novak

  • Country, Year, Length

    Canada, 2023, 30:00

  • Category

    Documentary, Short

  • Format


  • Festival Year


Film Screening & Ticket Information

When & Where to See this Film!

SURVIVAL: 6 films about digging deep and getting through it.

April 25, 2024 @ 7:00PM • Kaufman Astoria Studios – Zukor Theatre


If there is such a thing as a heartwarming Holocaust film, this is it. Crossing the River is the story of the world’s oldest living Holocaust survivor siblings and captures more than 100 years of one family’s history in approximately 30 minutes. Along the way, we learn about their unlikely savior, Joseph Stalin, and a lesser known World War II narrative. Now 101, 100, 98 and 96, inseparable, informed and unfailingly optimistic, the Fink siblings have outlived spouses, offspring, hundreds of friends and relatives and arguably the most horrific genocide in human history. What is the secret to their longevity? How have they defied all odds?

With unparalleled access to the subjects and their archives, filmmaker Allan Novak has been filming his family for the past 40 years and uses the occasion of their newfound celebrity as an opportunity to look back and fill in the missing pieces of their past. Along the way, the film reveals how this seemingly ordinary family is actually quite extraordinary.


Allan Novak, Director
Allan Novak, Producer
Debi Wisch, Producer, The Price of Everything; The Art of Making It; Love, Cecil
Katharina Otto-Bernstein, Producer, Absolute Wilson; Beautopia; Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures,
Allan Novak, Editor
Sally Singer, Key Cast, “Sally Singer”
Anne Novak, Key Cast, “Anne Novak”
Ruth Zimmer, Key Cast, “Ruth Zimmer”
Sol Fink, Key Cast, “Sol Fink”

Director Statement

CROSSING THE RIVER, is an intensely personal short documentary film about my family, that I have been working on for two years. It’s a labor of love, about a subject that could not be more important or relevant today…the resilience of the Jewish people. It also speaks to a lesser- known historical element of the Holocaust story, the idea that Stalin himself may have inadvertently saved thousands of Jews, in a perverse twist of fate, by shipping them off to forced labor camps in Siberia. This is my family’s story.

I have endeavored to use cutting edge technologies in concert with the creative input of my survivor-family, to recreate, through artificial intelligence, elements where not cameras were present. As such, I believe the film has many merits including outstanding technical and creative achievements, as well as a one-of-a-kind group of characters…that happens to be my family.

I have been a media maker for many many years…but this work remains my most cherished one as it lays out so many poignant and resonant concepts, both historical and human in a way that is designed to touch audiences of all types. Enjoy!

Director Biography

Allan is a respected independent media creator, consultant and entrepreneur with over 40 years experience. He is an award-winning creator, writer, director, editor, producer (showrunner) and executive producer of numerous documentary, reality factual and comedy series for broadcasters including HBO, Disney, Comedy Central, PBS, CBC, Comedy Network, Super Channel, Shaw Media, W Network, TVOntario, VisionTV and others.