Esther Hoffenberg

Esther Hoffenberg began her career in 1980 as a director and producer in Belgium. She co-directed As If It Were Yesterday with Myriam Abramowicz, which was the first film about how Jewish children were saved during World War II by Belgians and Resistance networks. It was distributed theatrically in the United States and France, and with the support of the Royal Belgian Cinematheque, was recently restored.

In 1984, Esther initiated IMAJ (Institut de la mémoire audiovisuelle juive), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving films on Jewish themes.

After five years of distributing films with the Parisian team of the National Film Board of Canada, she created her own company, LAPSUS. Lapsus' first film, Charlotte? Life or Theater? was co-produced in 1992 by The Pompidou Center and led to the first exhibition of Charlotte Salomon’s work in France. Over the years, LAPSUS has produced over 60 documentaries that screened at major international film festivals.

In 2005, Esther directed The Two Lives of Eva, a personal documentary about her mother’s moving, tragic life. Since then, she has become increasingly involved in filmmaking with a focus on women including Denise Glaser, Violette Leduc, and Bernadette Lafont. In 2009, she directed a short film, My Father, about her father, Sam Hoffenberg, who survived the Warsaw Ghetto.

In 2022, a special program dedicated to her films on women was organized by France’s National Library. Esther is currently working on a film project that will be a sequel to The Two Lives of Eva.

Icarus Films distributes five films by Esther Hoffenberg. Discover more of our featured filmmakers.


Belgians recount how they saved Jewish children during WWII.

Myriam Abramovicz and Esther Hoffenberg | 1980 | 84 minutes | French | English subtitles

French actress Bernadette Lafont was a multi-faceted performer, who refused to be boxed into one role.

Esther Hoffenberg | 2024 | 66 minutes | Color | French | English subtitles

A fragmented meditation on surviving the Warsaw Ghetto, in an intimate conversation between father and daughter.

Esther Hoffenberg | 2009 | 15 minutes | French | English subtitles

The complicated, traumatic story of a young woman, the filmmaker's mother, a well-off, Polish Lutheran before WWII, who afterwards married a Jewish Warsaw ghetto survivor.

Esther Hoffenberg | 2006 | 85 minutes | Color | French | English subtitles

Meet the Violette Leduc, who defied taboos by turning her loneliness and "impossible" passions into a great literary career.

Esther Hoffenberg | 2013 | 57 minutes | Color | French | English subtitles

In France, what does it mean to live with nuclear power?

Esther Hoffenberg | 2009 | 74 minutes | Color | French | English subtitles