The Songs They Sang documentary and music soundtrack

Media campaign: The Songs They Sang

It was a great privilege to be part of bringing this extraordinary documentary film and music to Australian audiences. I was involved with publicising a series of screenings held at The Backlot Studios, Southbank, in June 2014.

Producers: Anna Monea and Armadeo Marquez-Perez.

The Songs They Sang: A musical narrative of the Vilna Ghetto

An Australian documentary that commemorates music and stories from the Vilna Ghetto in Lithuania during the Holocaust.
Directed by Rohan Spong, The Songs They Sang tells the true story of musical performances held inside the Jewish Ghetto at Vilna (now Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania) from 1941-1943. It explores the resilience of the people who created and performed the music in the face of systematic persecution and extermination by the Nazis.
The film centres around the stories of Shmerke Kaczerginski and Avrom Sutzkever, who steadfastly continued to compose poems and songs about their experiences of persecution, loss and grief, and organise public performances, despite their horrific circumstances. Their refusal to relinquish their culture brought hope to a people under siege, and offered them brief respite from fear and despair.
Filmed in Israel, France, Lithuania, America and Australia, the documentary features interviews with survivors of the Vilna Ghetto—including Melbourne-based Deborah Zuben—re-enactments of the musical performances by soprano Deborah Kayser and Vilna songs arranged by Joseph Giovinazzo.
It includes harrowing footage of a visit by survivor, Frania Bracorskajc, to Ponar forest, outside Vilna, where her family and friends used to holiday before the war. During the Holocaust, the forest became the site of the massacre of more than 20,000 men, women and children from the Vilna Ghetto.

Holocaust memorial at Ponar forest, Lithuania

Holocaust memorial at Ponar forest, Lithuania

Media coverage for the Southbank screenings was achieved on prime-time national, Victorian, Melbourne metropolitan and local community radio—including Radio National Drive with Rebecca Huntley (The Sound of Lithuania’s Vilna Ghetto) and ABC 774 Melbourne with Richard Stubbs—as well as in key publications that spoke directly to the intended audience, including Australian Jewish News, the Port Phillip and Caulfield Leader, and Bayside Weekly Review.
In addition, copies of the DVD were sent on request to ABC radio, Bayside Weekly Review, Radio Southern FM, Radio SYN, Australian Arts Review, FilmInk magazine, and Arts Hub.
The DVD garnered a three-and-a-half star review from Arts Hub Film Critic, Sarah Ward, as well as glowing reviews from Australian Arts Review and FilmInk, one of the Australian film industry’s most popular publications.
Media information:
Wolfe Words writing, publicity and media strategy

Article: Sharing Media Clips—Are You Infringing Copyright?

Recently, the Copyright Agency has started fining PR agencies for posting media clippings on their websites and / or sharing clips with clients, without paying a copyright licence fee. Be aware—and be prepared!

by Diana Wolfe

An edited version of this how-to article was published in No Fussing About e-news on 1 February 2014.


Recently, the Copyright Agency has started fining PR agencies for posting media clippings on their websites and / or sharing clips with clients, without paying a copyright licence fee. Unbeknown to many, the copyright fee we pay to media monitoring services such as Slice does not entitle us to reproduce and distribute the clips, even to the clients who paid for the campaign. So whenever we happily report on our media campaigns (with clippings attached) to clients, we’re breaking copyright law.
While it may look like a money-raking exercise by the publishers and media, and PRs might be tempted to ignore the warnings, this is brewing as a big issue that won’t go away. No matter how large or small your agency, if you’re found to be in breach of copyright, ignorance is no excuse. Some agencies have already been fined thousands of dollars for past transgressions, without being aware they were breaking the law.
If you want to continue sending clips to clients (and how else do we prove the success of a campaign, apart from forwarding URL links to the stories online, which is legal?), you’ll need to buy a Business Copyright Licence through the Copyright Agency. You can purchase a pay-for-use licence or an annual licence, the fee for which varies according to how many employees you have, the number of clients you have, and the estimated number of clips you’ll forward to them each month. And you have to report annually on the clips you’ve forwarded and / or posted online.
You can opt to purchase a retrospective licence, backdated for the past six years, which is the statute of limitations for a publisher to take legal action under the Copyright Act 1968.
The Public Relations Institute of Australia is keeping its members abreast of the situation with webinars, podcasts, Q&As etc., and it’s also worth checking out the Australian Copyright Council website.

© 2014 Diana Wolfe. This article may be reproduced and shared in part or fully across any platform or media, provided the author’s name and business name (Diana Wolfe, Wolfe Words) is acknowledged.