No Place on Earth

April 5th 2013
  • Documentary/Drama,
  • PG-13,
  • 83 min,
  • Magnolia Pictures
  • Cast: Chris Nicola, Saul Stermer, Sam Stermer, Sonia Dodyk, Sima Dodyk, Katalin Lábán, Péter Balázs Kiss, Dániel Hegedüs, Balázs Barna Hídvégi, Fruzsina Pelikán, András Orosz, Mira Bonelli, Norbert Gogan, Réka Gavaldi, Zucker Emanuell, László Tamás, Szabolcs Fábián, Viktória Szilágyi, Bernadett Sára Borlai, Nóra Kovács, Péter Zsömbelyi, Borsika Kincsö Illés, Sara Shaltout, Gusztáv Nemes, Attiláné Varga, Panna Júlia Moldován, Dániel Koller, Annamária Nagy, Anna Luca Agócs, Gergely Andó, Erzsébet Baczakó, Balázs Barna, Tamás Bohus, Róbert Bross
  • Director: Janet Tobias
  • Writers: Paul Laikin, Janet Tobias
  • Producers: Susan Barnett, Zita Kisgergely, Paul Laikin, Rafael Marmor, Nadav Schirman, Janet Tobias
  • Associate Producer: Abigail Spindel
  • Executive Producers: J. Flint Davis, Jeff Field, David McKillop, Timm Oberwelland, Molly Thompson, Susan Werbe, Katja Zink
  • Casting: Mária Boros
  • Costume Design: Andrea Flesch
  • D.O.P.s: César Charlone, Eduard Grau, Sean Kirby, Peter Simonite
  • Editors: Alexander Berner, Deirdre Slevin, Claus Wehlisch
  • Makeup: Ágoston Zsombor
  • Music: John Piscitello
  • Production Design: Imola Láng


While mapping out the largest cave system in Ukraine, explorer and investigator Chris Nicola discovers evidence that five Jewish families spent nearly a year and a half in the pitch-black caves to escape the Nazis. This is the story of the longest uninterrupted underground survival in recorded human history, a harrowing story of life in near total darkness in two cold, damp caves.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Filming Locations: Hungary; Slovakia
  • MPAA Warning: Thematic elements including brief violent images
  • Production Companies: A List Films, PPM Film Productions, Sierra Tango Productions
  • Production Schedule: 2007-2011

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2013 Guide Analysis: "An intriguing sounding documentary which scored rave reviews at Toronto, this explores the discovery and revelation of how an extended Ukrainian Jewish family took refuge underground in the 77-mile long Priest’s Grotto Cave for eighteen months to evade Nazi capture during the Second World War. The 38 people-strong Stermer family lived in almost complete darkness for 511 days, making it the longest-recorded uninterrupted period of underground survival.

Former "60 Minutes" and "Dateline NBC" producer Janet Tobias makes her directorial debut on the film. It was a project that she originally wasn't drawn to because she felt there had already been enough epic stories about Holocaust survivors, and further films would not be able to bring anything new to the table. Ultimately she changed her mind and, with the help of caving enthusiast Chris Nicola and surviving members of the Stermers, spent six years financing, shooting and assembling this documentary.

The film employs actors and filmmaking talent, such as "Buried" cinematographer Eduard Grau, to recreate the Stermers’ experiences underground. It was harrowing, not helped by traitorous former neighbors and the ruthless hunting of the Nazis which meant every time someone had to head outside their gypsum labyrinth for supplies, they ran a huge risk. 95% of Jews in the region perished in the Holocaust which gives you an idea of how incredible it was that these people survived. Magnolia Pictures snapped up the distribution rights last year and will likely debut it in a limited theatrical run along with a high-profile VOD release."

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Worldwide Release Dates

  • 25 April 2013: Germany