December 3, 2013

La Sierra U. Professor Gains International Emmy for "Miracle" Film

An adjunct film and television professor at Seventh-day Adventist Church-owned La Sierra University received an International Emmy award for a TV movie that told the story of a real-life miracle.

Christoph Silber, a noted screenwriter and adjunct film and television professor at La Sierra was among television’s top talent to receive the coveted honor at a ceremony in New York City, the school reported in a news release. Silber's film was selected from a field of only four nominees worldwide in the “TV Movie/MiniSeries” category.Filmmaker and La Sierra adjunct professor Christoph Silber. (Photo: La Sierra Univ.)

The 10 awards
for programs and performances included an Emmy for “A Day for a Miracle,” an
Austrian-German television movie that aired in Austria and Germany earlier this
year to a record audience. Drawn from real-life events first portrayed in “The New
Yorker” magazine, the story relays the trauma experienced by a Christian farm
couple who discover their four-year-old daughter floating in an icy pond.
Although deemed clinically dead by medical personnel, a young, inexperienced doctor
decides in the face of strong opposition and terrible odds to try to save her.

Nearly 75
percent of the movie takes place in the hospital operating room, capturing in
detail the heroic efforts of the physician as he pulls out all the stops under
extreme stress to revive the child during a short window of time in which such
recovery might be possible.

“It’s a story of
this doctor who makes that call and says, ‘I’m not going to give up on this
girl.’ He hangs in there,” Silber said.

The story attracted
Silber because it addresses “this huge moral question, about how far can we
interfere with life, do miracles exist, or can we, through our own resilience
for hope, make something miraculous happen by not letting go,” he said. “We’re
leaving it up to the viewer to decide.”

film was produced by Rowboat Film-und Fernsehproduktion in co-production with
Graf Filmproduktion, ZDF and ORF in association with BetaFilms GmbH in Munich,

the release of the movie, numerous physicians and nurses wrote letters thanking
the show’s creators for making a movie that accurately depicts the world in
which they work. “I’ve been blessed with a good career, but I’ve never had
responses like this to a film,” Silber said.

Silber, raised bilingually in Berlin and London, has written,
co-written and/or co-produced over 25 films and dozens of television episodes
in Germany, Austria, England and the United States, his adoptive
home. Dubbed “one of Europe’s hottest new screenwriters” by Screen International,
his films have gathered laurels such as BAFTA and European Film Award wins,
Golden Globe and Emmy nominations and numerous honors at international film

He is particularly known for period films such as the 2003
international hit “Good Bye Lenin” and the critically acclaimed 2008 mountain
drama, “North Face.”

In 2011
the Vilcek Foundation honored Silber as “an immigrant filmmaker...whose
creative spirit enlivens and inspires American cinema." His most
recent projects include the multiple award-winning New York love story, “My
Last Day Without You” and the period caper “Banklady.”

is currently working with a production company in London on a television
mini-series titled “Nuremberg.” The project is based on the famous Nuremberg
trials that took place between in 1945 and 1949 in Nuremberg, Germany to hold
Nazi war leaders accountable for crimes against humanity.

between television projects, Silber teaches two television screenwriting and
writing classes each quarter at La Sierra University, his first experience with
regular classroom instruction. He arrived in 2012 at the behest of the
program’s director and professor Rodney Vance. The two met last year at the SonScreen
Film Festival in Simi Valley where Silber conducted a question-and-answer
session with students.

Vance’s invitation to teach, Silber visited La Sierra. “I fell in love with the
campus, with the atmosphere here,” he said. “I’m really enjoying it. The first
class I taught I saw freshmen who were insecure. I saw them express themselves
and grow [in many] ways. I’m really looking forward to the future. We have big

-- with reporting from Larry R. Becker, La Sierra University