On Wednesday evening, Disney+ hosted the UK premiere and Q&A for the highly anticipated National Geographic Limited series “A Small Light”. Attending the event were stars from the new series, including Bel Powley (Miep Gies), Liev Schreiber (Otto Frank), along with the showrunners Joan Rater and Tony Phelan, and director Susanna Fogel, who all joined the Q&A on stage, which Natasha Kaplinsky hosted.  Guests at the event watched a preview of the first two episodes of the new Disney+ series.

Additional cast at the event included Billie Boullet (Anne Frank), Amira Casar (Edith Frank), Ashley Brooke (Margot Frank), and Rudi Goodman (Peter van Pels). Other notable attendees included actors Douglas Booth (The Dirt, Mary Shelley), Sharon Horgan (Bad Sisters, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie), Damien Molony (The Split, Brassic), presenters Ray Mears and Antoni Porowski, influencers Lily Pebbles, Amber Doig Thorne, Laura Pradelska, Ramzan Miah and India Harl, and historian Alice Loxton.

The series was discussed in depth by Natasha Kaplinsky, who received an OBE for her services to the Holocaust Commission. Opening the Q&A, Natasha said:

“It is going to reach an audience who may not know what happened within touching distance of our lives.”

Reflecting on her character, Miep, Bel Powley said:

“I had to keep reminding myself that she really didn’t want to be put on a pedestal. That helped with the pressure and responsibility involved in playing a real person.” If she met her, Bel said that she’d ask, “how did I do? How did you do that? How were you so brave?” adding that she “would have loved to have met her.”

When asked why he chose to play Otto Frank, Liev Schreiber explained:

“we’ve got to find a way to tell these stories to our kids. To find a way to remove some of that veneer, that gravitas, without being disrespectful to our grandparents. I went to school here (in the UK), and they say that we Americans wear our hearts on our sleeves. I really appreciate that idea, that suggestion that we’re all hardwired to do the right thing.”

On how she developed a story like this for the screen, director Susanna Fogel said:

“we didn’t want to feel like we were making an oil painting out of every shot. These characters didn’t know the ending, they’re just putting one foot in front of the other, arguing with their friends, on either side of the bookcase.”

Joan Rater, executive producer and co-showrunner, noted that the team:

“wanted to show [Miep] as a human being. [We] wanted to see the moments of fear, and ‘oh god what have I done’. She said yes, and continued to say yes, even when she was scared, or tired, or didn’t want to.”

Based on an inspiring true story, Miep Gies was young, carefree and opinionated — at a time when opinions got you killed ― when Otto Frank asked her to help hide his family from the Nazis during WWII. Told with a modern sensibility, A Small Light shakes the cobwebs off history and makes Miep’s story more relevant than ever, forcing audiences to ask themselves what they would have done in Miep’s shoes; and in modern times, asking if they would have the courage to stand up to hatred. Some stood by, Miep stood up.

“A Small Light” is produced by ABC Signature and Keshet Studios for National Geographic. Executive producers and writers Joan Rater and Tony Phelan (ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, CBS’ Fire Country) serve as showrunners, DGA Award-winner and Emmy-nominated executive producer Susanna Fogel (The Flight Attendant, Cat Person) directs multiple episodes, including the pilot, and William Harper executive-produces. For Keshet Studios executive producers are Peter Traugott and Lisa Roos, Alon Shtruzman for Keshet International, and Avi Nir for Keshet Media Group.

“A Small Light” launches exclusively on Disney+ in the UK and Ireland on 2nd May 2023, with two episodes released weekly.

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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