Life Coach Tony Robbins and Grandson of Viktor Frankl Developing ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ Film About Holocaust Experiences, Survival Methods
by Shiryn Ghermezian
Author and life coach Tony Robbins is part of team working on the feature film “Man’s Search For Meaning,” based on a 1946 memoir of the same name by the late psychiatrist Viktor Frankl about his life in Nazi concentration camps and methods of survival.
The film is being produced by Straight Up’s recently launched media company Straight Up Impact, the firm announced on Tuesday. Robbins is partnering on the project with Frankl’s grandson, Alexander Vesely, and screenwriter Angela Workman (“The Zookeeper’s Wife”). Pam Roy, who is a co-founder of Straight Up Impact, will serve as executive producer of the film, which is in development and slated for release in 2023.
“We are honored that Viktor Frankl’s family has entrusted us to tell his incredible life story,” said Straight Up Impact co-founder Kate Cohen. “Our mission is to share his teachings with the world in the hopes that more people find meaning in their lives.”
Born in Vienna in 1905, Frankl was a trained psychiatrist and neurologist, and began counseling suicidal patients in the 1920s. He spent three years in concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and his parents, brother and wife died in the camps. After World War II, he continued his work in Vienna.
Frankl’s memoir, which has sold more than 16 million copies, recounts his experiences in the death camps and explains the psychotherapeutic approach he founded, known as logotherapy — founded on the belief that people are motivated by the search for purpose and meaning in their lives, rather than the pursuit of things that bring pleasure or happiness. In “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl explained that prisoners in Nazi concentration camps who were able to find some form of meaning in life — even if only to help someone else live through the day — were more likely to survive.
“When suffering is inevitable, the attitude we choose matters most,” said Vesely, a licensed logotherapist and co-founder of the Viktor Frankl Institute of America. “Despite experiencing unspeakable horrors and loss, my grandfather continued to help others to find meaning in life, even when great adversity and tragedy are a part of it. I hope this film inspires anyone dealing with their own struggles.”
Robbins said, “The ability to find meaning in the most difficult times, even in times of injustice or extreme stress is perhaps the most important skill we can develop in life. Viktor Frankl’s book, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning,’ provides the most compelling and triumphant account I have ever read of humanity’s ability to persevere through the unimaginable. I’ve long recommended to those in a rough place in life to read Frankl’s book. This film will allow the important life lessons contained in this timeless and significant work to reach and impact even more people.”