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HAND-DRAWN HISTORIES: The Films of Lee Whitmore

Year: 2011

Classification: Exempt - Ronin Recommends: G

Runtime: 61 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: Lee Whitmore

Produced By: Lee Whitmore

Language: English

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While Lee Whitmore has contributed animation sequences to many feature films, shorts and documentaries, it is her body of four short personal works that are her most unique and original work. The four films are linked through the intimate moments of family life that they depict, the memories they record, and the nostalgic mood of yearning they evoke.

The first, NED WETHERED (1984) records the filmmaker’s memory of her childhood and a visitor who often called on the family. The minutiae of suburban lives is poignantly detailed. ON A FULL MOON (1997) and ADA (2002) are further sensitive explorations through memory of childhood and family. Lee’s most ambitious work, THE SAFE HOUSE (2006) touches tangentially on a major Australian headline news story in 1954, the defection of Vladimir Petrov and his wife Evdokia – but again sees these events through the gaze of children who cannot comprehend the significance of what they are seeing.

These four films use a variety of technical styles, but all are united in a free-flowing, loosely drawn style that is Lee Whitmore’s signature. Traces of Jacques Tati and Yasujiro Ozu can be readily identified in her work, but her whimsical humour, and quiet attention to detail and small gestures are distinctly her own.

All of the films have been honoured at festivals nationally and internationally, have variously been released in cinemas and broadcast on television. This is the first time they have been released together as a single body of work on DVD.

The DVD also includes an in-depth interview with Lee Whitmore about her work.

NED WETHERED (11 mins)
ON A FULL MOON (17 mins)
ADA (7 mins)
THE SAFE HOUSE (26 mins)
Interview (23 mins)
The Making of ... (42 mins)
Plus slideshow of storyboards

DVD is accompanied by a 28-page DVD booklet - Hand-drawn Histories THE FILMS OF LEE WHITMORE: the animator talks about her process
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“Lee Whitmore’s four animated films are masterpieces in miniature, exploring and archiving private memories of families and childhood. They are rich in nostalgia and gentle humour, imbued with a strong humanist respect for the characters, and executed with an extraordinary vitality of colour, line and movement. They are so intensely personal and honest that no other animator can come close to their depiction of a private world.” - Andrew Pike, film historian.
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Email from Caroline Leaf, to Lee Whitmore, 13 November 2011:

Dear Lee,

You remembered to send me your dvd! Thank you so much.

How beautifully produced it is, the films looking great, the on-camera interviews where you are articulate and specific,
and the booklet, all in a hard case with a book-end edge, so that it can be found on the shelf. You are well archived.

... I dove for Ned Wethered, which is always miraculous to me because it brings to life, by the skill of your storytelling,
a solitary modest person who would be forgotten otherwise, I imagine. Now I know it is your first film!
I admire the timing of your story telling and how the voice and images play together with so much confidence.
How do you know to have confidence in silences and modest events? I like very much how you talk about your filmmaking,
the important things being particularities which become universal, the extended moments,
how drawing the peas being shelled makes that action emphatic and noteworthy.

I'm glad you're on my shelf only an arm's reach away. Thanks.
~ Caroline
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Follow this link to view the trailer: www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN9CWv3Y37Q

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