Case StudySurviving Skokie
Eli Adler—a California-based professional cinematographer – started a quest to create his own movie and uncover details of his father, Jack Adler’s, painful past during the Holocaust. Inspired by a Chicago Tribune article and the 2009 opening of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, the award-winning documentary is a ten-year labor of love.
Jack and Eli’s transformational story was the heart of Surviving Skokie, yet funding, marketing and a distribution strategy were needed to ensure success. Graybird partnered in these three critical areas to reach the ultimate goal of making this inspirational and educational story available to the largest possible audience.
— Eli Adler, Co-Director, Co-Producer Surviving Skokie
Marketing & Communications Strategy
Everyone has a story to share—Graybird Foundation is privileged to be part of the telling of Surviving Skokie. Our strategy was to make a name for the documentary during the film festival season. Filling executive producer and marketing roles, the Graybird team conducted speaker training and served as spokespersons to provide context for the film’s mission. We also became trusted advisors for Blair Gershkow and Eli by helping them navigate the process of securing a distribution contract, and managing media relations that procured coverage including KQED, the Chicago Tribune, ABC Windy City Live and the Times of Israel.
The Graybird team created a variety of marketing assets to extend the Surviving Skokie brand. We managed an online competition that received entries from designers in Asia, South America, the U.K. and the United States, with the winning design originating from Kenneth Joel of The Philippines. The movie title graphic, created by Robbin Atherly at Six Foot Two Productions in Marin County, was included in the winning design that inspired postcards, social media, name badges, and VIP appreciation gifts distributed to press and thousands of audience members.
Graybird Foundation teamed with StoverPix to refresh the Surviving Skokie website. The basic, original structure was retained and several new modern elements were added, including:
- Jack Adler page with extensive information about the star of the film
- Praise section to post comments about the film
- News/Events section where website visitors can view the calendar and coverage
- Image gallery from Surviving Skokie festival screenings and events
- Redesigned DONATE button and contributions page to easily seek contributions
Surviving Skokie was accepted in the March 2016 Chicago Jewish Film Festival, where it screened to sold-out audiences who felt a deep connection to the story. Graybird identified a pivotal opportunity to celebrate and thank the local people interviewed in the documentary who still lived in the Skokie area. We organized and hosted a VIP reception that was held in conjunction with the Surviving Skokie homecoming screening at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center.
— Amanda Cahan, Program Marketing Manager, Chicago Jewish Community Center
— Susan Abrams, CEO of the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center