Tomasz Magierski’s “Blinky and Me”: The Story of Animator Yoram Gross
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ –This week’s trivia question: What unusual elements did Yoram Gross use to create the characters in his first Israeli-made animated films?
Yoram Gross was born in Krakow, Poland in 1926 and after surviving World War II emigrated to Israel in 1950, where he began making animated films, some of which won prizes in several countries. In 1968 he relocated to Australia with his family, where he established his own film studio and continued to make experimental films and win awards. His first animated feature film, Dot and the Kangaroo, was based on a best-selling children’s book, and used a special aerial image technique of drawings over live action backgrounds. After its success, Gross continued to make animated films for children, and came to be known as the “Australian Disney”. His best-known creation is the Blinky Bill series for television. The character, a koala bear, is based on the Australian children’s classic by Dorothy Wall, but his adventures follow closely Gross’s own experiences in Poland during World War II.
Tomasz Magierski is a Polish filmmaker who became fascinated by Gross’s life story and work, and decided to make a film about it. Blinky and Me follows the artist and his family through his childhood in Nazi occupied Poland, in Israel, and then in Australia and the creation of the Blinky Bill series. The award-winning documentary features the participation of Gross and his teenage grandchildren, both in Australia and on a journey of discovery to Poland. Live action is combined with animation in a unique imaginative way, depicting the Holocaust without the horror, which makes the film an excellent vehicle for use in the classroom. Since its release in 2012 it has won numerous awards, been screened in over 20 countries and shown as part of the United Nations’ Holocaust Outreach Programme.
The Spanish-Polish Cultural Association FORUM, the Polish Cultural Institute and Centro Sefarad-Israel showed Blinky and Me as one of this year’s activities in commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Tomasz Magierski attended the event and later spoke with us about his film and the man who inspired it.
For more about Tomasz Magierski and his films, go here.
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