The series is based on interviews with World War 2 Holocaust Survivors, and will form a resource on the BBC Learning Zone for 13 and 14 year school children learning about the Holocaust as part of their studies in History, Citizenship and Religious Education.
The series has already been broadcast and has had further broadcast dates planned – the latest will be on the 15th October at 4am on BBC2. It is being screened as part of the BBC’s teachers TV service in the morning and will be on BBC I Player all week.
The trailer does a great job of showing how animation can be used to discuss a serious and possibly scary subject for a young audience. We will feature a more in depth review of the series in the future on this blog.
For now though you can see the trailer for the series here:
Nyosha is the story of a young Jewish girl who becomes fixated on a pair of shoes as the source of her salvation while her life is ripped apart by the Holocaust. Based on the diary and video recordings of Nomi Kapel, one of the young filmmaker’s grandmother, director Liran Kapel and Yael Dekel have employed both stop-motion and traditional 2D animation to render this harrowing tale.
A certain uncanny charm keeps the viewer afloat in the rippling currents of such a dejected context. Despite the truly terrible nature of the historic narrative, naïve optimism is provided by the child’s perspective. The medium also engages us with a toy like simulacra; for better or for worse this buffer dampens the emotional response to the distressing subject matter.
This towering project is impressive but by no means is it flawless. At times the stop-motion is a tad jerky, the models still have their flash lines and the illusion of scale is not fully realised. That said these are the imperfections that come hand in hand with such a challenging medium: an Aardman production, for example, would be missing a great deal if all thumbprints were removed. Set design on Nyosha is impressive and at times the lighting is too. Particular attention has been paid to attempting tricky post-production effects, like the beams of light that cut through the forest. Despite not always being entirely convincing, the over all atmosphere these create is invaluable.
Best Animation, Melbourne International Film Festival, Australia 1999
Grand Prix, Odense Film Festival, Denmark 1999
Gold Hugo Animated Short, Chicago International Film Festival, USA 1998
Best Short Film, Oslo Animation Festival, Norway 1998
Fist Prize: Shorts, Cinanima International Animation Festival, Portugal 1998
Find out more about this work-in-progress – based on the experiences of one of the last living Auschwitz Holocaust survivors – at the project blog here (mostly in Dutch but now being updated in English)