Press release from Yoram Gross Film Studios

Australia’s animation pioneer Yoram Gross is to be honoured in Poland – the country he was forced to flee from over 50 years ago.

The filmmaker brought the Australian characters Blinky Bill and Dot and the Kangaroo to life on the screen, which delighted generations of children. He returns to the country of his birth to showcase his animated life.

'Blinky and Me' – a documentary based on Gross' book 'My Animated Life' by New York filmmaker Tomasz Magierski will premiere on October 18 in Warsaw. A screening will follow at the 16th century Pod Baranami palace in Krakow on October 20.

The film explores Gross’ young life on the run with special appearances made by Blinky. Mr Gross revisits with his family the Polish streets he hid in during the war to evade the Nazis, as a Jewish boy. He undertook many disguises from a dutiful catholic playing the organ in church to a séance host.

Blinky Bill – the dinky di iconic Australian character shares the same mischievous sprit as his Polish- born screen creator.

“Blinky Bill is very cheeky, brave and ready for adventures – certainly Yoram’s character is as well,” said Sandra Gross, Yoram’s wife.

The filmmaker produced over twelve animated features and television series before digital animation. 'Dot and the Kangaroo' voiced by Spike Milligan was made with 12000 hand-painted drawings combined with live action backgrounds. His latest work is captured entirely with an iPhone 4.

Close-up

The 85-year-old artist transforms junk into beauty for his solo photography exhibition presented by the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow – its finale show for 2011.'The Close-up' or in Polish ‘Zblizenie’ collection is a fusion of still photography and canvas, on display for two months from October 21.

“What I can’t say in words, because my English is so poor I can say in pictures,” he says.

The filmmaker directs his audience to ‘look closer’. He captures images which ‘most people don’t take the time to look at and truly see’.

Rusted chain links, colourful water patterns, portraits through rain soaked glass and disused cog and wheel machinery are among Gross’ subjects. He zooms in on the subject matter to reveal their resemblance to impressionist painting, the sun, moon and Milky Way.

All profits from the Close-up exhibition will be donated to the Sydney Children’s Hospital.

ABOUT YORAM GROSS:

Mr Gross made Australia his home after fleeing two continents to escape war and religious persecution. He left Israel after the 1967 six-day war. He didn’t want his children to grow up in war as he had to.

The director chose to settle in Australia after reading The Age’s film critic's article: "the nation needs filmmakers like Yoram Gross". The reviewer was impressed with Gross’ short film 'We Shall Never Die' which screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

'The Little Convict' starring Rolf Harris and 'Sarah' featuring Mia Farrow are some of the internationally exported children’s series and feature films he made.

He was awarded the Order of Australia in 1995 for his contribution to the Australian film industry. The storyteller was presented with the Murray Forrest Award for Achievement in Film Craft at the Australian International Movie Convention on August 22.

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