In 1942, 38 men, women and children slide down a cold, muddy hole in the ground, seeking refuge from the war above in a pitch-black underground world where no human had gone before. These five Ukrainian Jewish families created their own society where young men bravely ventured into the harrowing night to collect food, supplies and chop firewood. The girls and women never left; surviving underground longer than anyone in recorded history. Held together by an iron-willed matriarch, after 511 days, the cave dwellers, ages 2 to 76, emerged at war’s end in tattered clothes, blinded by a sun some children forgot existed. Despite all odds, they had survived.
The remarkable true story of NO PLACE ON EARTH starts out as a mystery. While exploring some of the longest caves in the world in southwestern Ukraine in the 1990s, American caver Chris Nicola stumbled onto unusual objects…an antique ladies shoe and comb, old buttons, an old world key. Was the vague rumor true, that some Jews had hid in this cave during WWII and if so, had any survived to tell their tale?
67 years later, Chris leads four of the survivors back to Ukraine to say thank you to “the cave.”
About the filmmakers:
JANET TOBIAS – Director / Producer
Janet Tobias started her film and television career at CBS’ 60 Minutes as Diane Sawyer’s associate producer. She then worked as a producer at ABC News’ Prime Time Live, as the editorial producer for ABC’s legal and criminal justice coverage, a national producer at Dateline NBC, and an executive producer at VNI (which became New York Times Television). After working at the networks, she moved to PBS where she produced/directed a four hour joint Frontline/Nightline project on the juvenile justice system in California, and executive produced the Emmy award winning PBS Life 360. In 2001, she co-founded Sierra/Tango Productions, which has produced over 20 films on subjects ranging from 13-year-old girls to US veterans returning from war. No Place On Earth, marks her debut as a theatrical director.
Janet has a parallel career in medicine and technology. She is the CEO of Ikana Health which focuses on health information on the mobile web/social media, and how it can be used to measurably improve family health and patient outcomes.
Besides the Emmy, her awards include two American Bar Association silver gavel awards, a George Foster Peabody Award, 2 Cine Golden Eagles, 2 Casey medals for meritorious journalism, a National Headliner Award, a Sigma Delta Chi Award, and honorable mention Robert F. Kennedy Journalism and Overseas Press awards. She is a member of the Forum on Drug, Discovery, Development and Translation of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, and an adjunct assistant professor at Mount Sinai’s School of Medicine.
Rafael Marmor is a producer of documentary, feature film and television. His feature documentary Blue Blood, dubbed by Variety as “one of the best sports films of all time”, was nominated by both the Evening Standard and London Critic’s Circle for Best British Film of 2007. The narrative remake is currently in development with Ed Pressman and BBC Films. After a short digression producing the comedy TV series Svetlana for Marc Cuban’s HDnet, he returned to the feature documentary world as a producer on Alma Harel’s Bombay Beach, which won the Tribeca grand jury prize in 2011. His most recent film The Short Game, about the best 7 year old golfers in the world, premiered at SXSW 2013 where it won the audience award.