Q&A: Mark Norfolk – Film-maker

In the run up to One Lost Stone, launching Sunday 5th July online, we will be posting Q&As with the team behind Discovering and Documenting England’s Lost Jews sharing their highlights, discoveries, personal journeys and more. Here we interviewed Mark Norfolk, filmmaker on the project.

What is your role in The Lost Jews?
My role within this project is as a member of the filmmaking team where we are tasked with documenting and capturing the events and activities to eventually produce a filmed account.

What excites you about this project?
What excites and fascinates me is the history, not just the history and stories of migrating peoples and culture but the documenting of those times, the recognition of how social political discourse affects people’s lives and how they adapt to forced change. I recall reading an original letter in Bevis Marks Synagogue where the Rabbi writes to England’s Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell seeking permission to buy land, which was hitherto denied to them as Jews.

What has surprised you in this project?
I’m not sure it’s surprised me, but it has merely confirmed how little humans change across hundreds of years. We like to believe that we have become more civilised, more amenable, but seeing some of the research shows me that even with our mass education programmes, the change is miniscule.

What has been your highlight so far?
The highlights for me so far have just been watching the interesting development debates around the creative scope of the project balanced against the historical and archival aspect. For example, how do we in the 21st century truthfully represent the lives of people in the 18th century who are fleeing persecution?

What are you looking forward to the most in One Lost Stone?
Obviously, current events have altered the programme somewhat. I was looking forward to the technical challenge of recording the event in its many facets at different locations on the Queen Mary / Novo Cemetery site and at the same time exploring how we live stream it. However, the unprecedented (in our lifetime) interjection of a global phenomenon means new plans are under discussion and, of course, we will adapt to the situation.

See more about The Lost Jews team here.

See Mark’s website here

Find out more about One Lost Stone here, launching on Sunday 5th July online.