Project Description

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FRIDAY AUGUST 15, 2020 @ 6PM

HOME Helena Giersz • USA • 2019 • Animation • 5 minutes

A woman living in New York City receives a telephone call from Eastern Europe. Her grandmother has died and the woman quickly returns to her homeland.
Entering her grandmother’s apartment, she finds a music box. She winds it up and as the music box opens she is transported back in time to the magical world of her childhood: fairytales, dreams and her first love.
At the funeral, she notices a man who reminds her of her first boyfriend, he recognizers her too and avoids contact.
Back at the airport for her returning flight, she discovers that the man she thought she recognized at funeral is now a customs control officer.
As he reaches out to her, for a moment she thinks that he has recognized her, but instead he confiscates a gift left to her by her grandmother.
The realization that they are now complete strangers is devastating. Not only has she lost her grandmother and the final link to her homeland, but she’s also grieving the loss of a magical time in her life where she felt safe and loved.
But as she reflects on all of the beautiful memories she still has, that made her who she is today, she finds comfort from the fact that although she has grown away from her past, her past still lives on in her memories, as colorful and magical as always.

Helena Giersz-Uszac is an animation director and character designer. Studied graphic design, majoring in animation at the Academy of Fine Arts (ASP) in Warsaw. In 1979, she began her animation career at Studio Miniatur Filmowych.

In 1991, she moved to the United States and began working for Sesame Street and Nickelodeon, creating short multimedia animations.

In 1997, Helena founded Funline Animation Studio where she began collaboration with Nick Jr. on a new show called Nina’s Pop-up Puzzle. After the first six characters (Dora, Boots, Benito, Tico, Swiper, and Isa) got approved, she was commissioned to create a pilot for the series which later became known as Dora the Explorer. The series took off, transforming Funline Animation into a Dora-focused production studio. Over the next fifteen years she created over a thousand characters for the series and over twenty online games for Nick Jr online.

In 2004 she produced animation on two computer games starring Clifford, the Big Red Dog for Scholastic. In 2004, she made a film titled, Do Other Things, which received the Best of the Fest award at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. During that same year, Helena started working on character designs for the Nick Jr. series Go Diego Go!

In 2011 she created a documentary about Polish composer, singer and guitarist Krzysztof Klenczon. She also produced a photo album book about The Red Guitars, the most famous Polish rock band of the 1960’s.

2016 she began working on her independent movie based on her experiences of growing up in Eastern Europe and moving to the US.