SULC Alum Mort Laitner’s film “The Stairs” doing well on the film festival circuit

Mort Laitner Film web release art

The movie, “The Stairs,” by Mort Laitner, ’75, is the winner of the Near Nazareth Film Festival, Israel and Top Indie Film Awards—Best Documentary Short, Canada; and is reported to being doing well on the film festival circuit.

The world premiere of the film took place in Cinema Paradiso, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on June 25, 2016. It was a semi-finalist in the New York State International Film Festival.

“The Stairs,” like Laitner’s first memoir, A Hebraic Obsession, follows his journey from childhood to retirement as he obsesses about his father, Wolf Laitner; the Holocaust; Judaism; and life.  Laitner learns about his father’s nightmarish travels during World War II from his father’s Holocaust tapes, from books describing how he worked as a doctor in slave labor camps, from a doctoral thesis on Holocaust studies, and from a transcript of his father’s testimony at a U.S. tribunal, which led to a Nazi commandant’s death sentence.

The film, produced by Blake and Mort Latiner, was directed by Hakym Reagan, a citizen of Burundi. The cast members are Dennis Fitzpatrick, David Poland, Anne Voxx, Daniel Timothy Treacy, Peter Glazer, Drew Thacher, Elizabeth Zimmerman, and Max Albright.

Viewers and readers alike “hitch a ride across America, Europe, Asia and Africa, from the 1950s through the new millennium as Laitner shares his family’s stories about survival, prejudice, luck, love, and miracles.”

Laitner reports that “The Stairs” has been accepted in eight other festivals, including the Miami Independent Film Festival, New York State Sun Fest, Ekurhuleni International Film Festival-South Africa; and Indiana Short Film Festival.

“The skills I learned at Southern University Law School allowed me to write all of the contracts needed to make the movie, i.e. actors, cast, and crew; to handle all legal issues pertaining to insurance; and to have the confidence to take on a project that I had never handled before,” Laitner said.

Author of 13 books, Laitner is on the board of directors of the South Florida Writers Association. During his career, he has received coverage on CBS Nightly News and in Life Magazine, Money Magazine, and the New York Times.

He presently teaches a course in “Law and Ethics” at the master’s level at Barry University and Florida International University. He has taught at the University of Miami School of Medicine, St. Thomas University, and Miami-Dade College. He has lectured throughout Florida and Georgia.

Laitner practiced public health law with the Miami-Dade County Health Department for 35 years until his retirement. In the beginning of his career, he practiced family law with the Baton Rouge Legal Aid Society and Legal Services of Greater Miami.

View a 39-second film trailer at