‘Where is My home?’ by Cecelia de Jesus was the official winner of the USC Shoah Foundation’s Student voices film competition in 2013. The film tells the story of Vera Gissing and her escape from Czechoslovakia during the start of the Holocaust. The USC Shoah Foundation is home to one of the largest collections of digital archive footage of Holocaust survivors and witnesses, currently housing over 55,000 video testimonies.
De Jesus used archive footage, along with sand animation, to bring Vera Gissing’s story to life. When watching the film, you can’t help but be entranced by the macro sequences where we see individual grains of sand and translucency. The abstract imagery De Jesus creates with the sand spotlights Gissing’s testimony, the moving images accompanying her voice rather than pulling attention away from it. The film tells a harrowing real-life story, emphasising Vera Gissing’s voice.