Press Release for J & E Publicity

Australia’s animation pioneer Yoram Gross, in his newly released autobiography My Animated Life tells his story of a life filled with adventure, of how he outwitted the forces ranged against him before going on to delight generations of children with his films.

In his memoir, the creator of the classics Blinky Bill and Dot and the Kangaroo moves beyond his screen characters to reveal his own battle for survival. Echoes of Gross’s life are portrayed in his unique characters, especially the lively koala, Blinky Bill. Blinky’s home was destroyed, he lost his father and he embarked on a search for his mother, just as Gross did in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.

Sandra Gross, Yoram’s wife, business partner and creative collaborator, says that there isn’t a film he has made that doesn’t contain elements of his life. “Blinky Bill is very cheeky, brave and ready for adventures – certainly Yoram’s character is as well.

My Animated Life is a story of survival, of the hardships suffered in war-torn Poland by a young Jewish boy forced to hide in over seventy locations and take on many disguises to mask his Jewish identity, from a church organ player to a séance host. This is a story of adventures that will make you marvel at the artist’s mischievous, triumphant spirit. “Sometimes I behaved foolishly, and sometimes like a complete idiot. Sometimes I behaved like Tarzan. Other occasions were more suited to a James Bond story,” Gross writes in My Animated Life.

Gross’ memoir spans three continents: Poland during World War II; his award-winning film-making career in Israel; and becoming Australia’s iconic filmmaker.

He arrived in Australia with his young family to become this country’s pioneer of animation and live action film-making. He has created over a dozen feature films and internationally-screened children’s television series, some with environmental and anti-war messages, including The Little Convict, Joseph the Dreamer, Old Tom and Sarah and The Seventh Match about his childhood friend he lost in the Holocaust, which starred Mia Farrow.

Schindler's Ark author Thomas Keneally describes Yoram’s vivid book as having its own force. “It combines all the brio of youth with the unjust and knife-edge perils of being a Jewish man hiding out and on the run. Gross’ later life, prefigured in his World War II experience, is another testimony to the wealth of talent that the Third Reich obliterated, the talent which in most cases was stolen out of the world, but which in his case, managed to survive.

“Despite the surrounding horrors, the book is surprisingly cheerful,” says Keneally.

My Animated Life, published by Brandl & Schlesinger, will be released on April 14 and launched at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. The book will be presented by CEO Sandra Levy, and launched by the Honourable Jim Spigelman, Chief Justice of New South Wales.