Second Chances


Producer, Director, Animator: Farzin Farzaneh
Executive Producer & Editor: Shahin Farzaneh
Music: Sandra Chechik
Feature documentary, 81 minutes, Canada, 2022

© Farzin Farzaneh & Lackadaisy Films 2022

Amalia Sandberg and Izydor Mesner were born in Poland in the 1920s. They managed to survive war and genocide thanks to sheer luck and coincidence, and also to the remarkable selflessness of people who risked everything to help them.

This is a documentary about Mila and Izydor's reflections on the human condition and the effects of politics and discrimination on the personal lives, hopes and dreams of so many people. It is also a story about love, solidarity and the preciousness of life.

Given some of the worrying trends in the world today, it would appear that many of the lessons of the past need to be recalled. It is all the more frightening that stories of suffering or discrimination are often sensationalised and used for the purpose of perpetuating even greater persecution upon one or other group of people. The effects of such experiences are frequently passed down to future generations, creating a never ending cycle of stigma and suspicion. For Mila and Izydor, the feeling of being seen as outsiders never dissipated entirely. Nevertheless, they were determined to embrace life as fully as possible, supported by their love for each other and an undying belief that compassion and understanding can be a vehicle for change in the world.

In 2005, Mila published a book about her experiences. It is called Light from the Shadows.

Style & Technique

Second Chances combines hand drawn animation with live action footage to create a singular visual experience. The style of the animation is evocative of the fleeting and ever shifting nature of memories, weaving in and out of the frame like a restless ghost.

The film is directed by Farzin Farzaneh in collaboration with Shahin Farzaneh who is the executive producer, researcher and co-editor. The music is by Sandra Chechik, an accomplished and prolific Montreal based composer.


  • Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma, Montreal, 23 February 2023
  • Queens World Film Festival, New York, 20 April 2024
    WINNER: Best Documentary Feature

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