Minute 1

Rabbi Kara Tav

Hospital Chaplain, NYC

Animated by Stu Hershey Sufrin

 

Animator's Statement:

My work attempts to define and comprehend the essence of the subject. The role of the artist isn’t simply to record the shape of the subject, but the essence of the subject. If you’re a rabbi-lookin-dude like me, you might call it the soul.

I believe that video and motion media is the best way to capture and share that spirit. By studying the way people move, we can better understand the way they exist as divine souls, and experience something human from the inside out.

Minute 2

Yeshi Haile, RN, PHN

Public Health Nurse, San Francisco

Animated by Michael Talbot

Animator's Statement:

I believe all art is inter-connected in one way or another, informing, complimenting and/or enhancing each other. I tend to draw from not just one, but three main areas of study: Illustration, Design and Animation. However, my passion and interest for storytelling is paramount in the conceptualization, approach and execution of the art I make. In today’s world, I do believe that art plays a major role and is indeed important, even more so than ever before. I acknowledge the importance of providing a voice for those who can’t find theirs, as well as providing information and representation where there is little to none. However, when people look at my art, I’d want them to not be reminded of the darkness, injustices, and hardships that are so currently blatant in the world. Instead, I seek to inspire and be the light that helps individuals to look forward and look beyond, to the joys and the happiness that can, and will be; to hang in the balance of reality and wonder.

Minute 3

Rachel Gemara, RN

Hospital Nurse, Jerusalem

Animated by Josh Philip Saunders

Animator’s Statement:

Josh Saunders is an award-winning London based animation director. His debut short film, “The Grey Hound,” won the Royal Television Society Award (2017) and was screened at a variety of international film festivals. He holds an MA in Animation from the Royal College of Art and a BA in Illustration from Central Saint Martins. His stories often give a physical form to the unseen desires and anxieties of his characters whilst exploring innovative and experimental techniques of drawing through animation. Each film is in some way a celebration of drawing as he defines his subject matter and constructs the narrative.

Minute 4

Calvin D. Sun, MD

Emergency Room Doctor, New York City

@monsoondiaries

Animated by Denise Chan

Artist’s Statement:

My name is Denise Chan and I’m a story artist/animator from the Bay Area. I am a huge believer in storytelling being a powerful tool for change, and so I jumped at the chance to work on this short film. Dr. Sun’s testimony highlights the bravery and tenacity of the doctors and nurses who are on the front lines of this pandemic, as well as the impact that COVID-19 has had on society.  The world is changing before our eyes, and now more than ever, I feel it is important for people to reach out and try to understand each other. As an artist, I am grateful to be able to use my skills to visually convey Dr. Sun’s story, and contribute my voice in some small way to the conversation.

StillFrame.jpg

ABOUT

We paired four first responders from across the globe with visual artists with unique and distinct styles. Together with director Sarah Lefton in California; composer Matan Berkowitz in Jaffa; sound designer and editor Sinan Refik Zafar in New York City, and executive producer Flo Low in Washington, DC, this global team shares intimate first-hand accounts from the frontlines of COVID-19. Told in the subject’s own voice, each story gives a brief but intense glimpse into their daily struggles combatting the pandemic in April 2020.

 

Of necessity, and with an eye on a timely release, this project was designed with an extremely compressed timeline that informed and impacted all of our production choices, from animation styles to musical scoring. We embraced the sprint this approach requires: subjects and animators were selected while we were still working on funding; subjects worked remotely with our sound designer to self-record as best as possible. Animation began on June 15 and the films were completed before August 1.

How did the team find the stories?

Director Sarah Lefton and executive producer Flo Low connected around the challenge of remotely producing work that would speak to a global pandemic that isolates yet connects us. We wanted to work like journalists, telling impactful stories in real time, working with urgency. We sourced subjects and animators through personal introductions, social media and direct outreach, connecting with dozens of potential sources. Ultimately, we made choices to highlight voices who are less “like us” - professionals from diverse corners of health and nursing, with a variety of backgrounds, identities and lived experiences, to expose a variety of personal struggles of universal consequence.

 

What do the filmmakers hope viewers will discuss after watching the films? 

The coronavirus conversation in the media feels either medical, or political, lacking impactful storytelling about those doing the work. We’d like to prompt viewers to talk about access to care, healthcare as a human right, and the need to take care of our caregivers. We hope to nurture an empathy for the lived experience of these health-care workers, beyond news and statistics. Hearing first responders in their own voices will be a powerful opportunity for Times readers, and animation adds a provocative facet. These stories are about feeling and passion and exhaustion, and require more than words to tell.

QUESTIONS? Email lowalekhaproductions@gmail.com.

DIRECTOR

Sarah Lefton makes high impact digital media for education, art and social change. She is best known as the social entrepreneur behind BimBam, the non profit animation studio behind hundreds of educational shorts, such as the preschool Shaboom! series. Sarah is currently working with UC Berkeley Law on animated explainers, and the Lawrence Hall of Science on a hip hop cartoon series introducing cybersecurity principles to grade school students.


EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Flo Low is a creative producer who firmly believes in the power of arts, and specifically storytelling, to move hearts and change minds. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama (MFA) and Barnard College (BA), she currently serves as Associate Director, Academic and Arts Programs at the Israel Institute, and produces independent arts initiatives with social impact.

 

Director Sarah Lefton

Executive Producer Flo Low

An animated glimpse into the struggles of four first-responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis: an ER doctor in a New York City hospital, a chaplain in a NYC hospital, a nurse in Jerusalem, and a public health nurse combatting homelessness in California.

Minute 1

Rabbi Kara Tav

Hospital Chaplain, NYC

Animated by Stu Hershey Sufrin

 

Animator's Statement:

My work attempts to define and comprehend the essence of the subject. The role of the artist isn’t simply to record the shape of the subject, but the essence of the subject. If you’re a rabbi-lookin-dude like me, you might call it the soul.

I believe that video and motion media is the best way to capture and share that spirit. By studying the way people move, we can better understand the way they exist as divine souls, and experience something human from the inside out.

Minute 2

Yeshi Haile, RN, PHN

Public Health Nurse, San Francisco

Animated by Michael Talbot

Animator's Statement:

I believe all art is inter-connected in one way or another, informing, complimenting and/or enhancing each other. I tend to draw from not just one, but three main areas of study: Illustration, Design and Animation. However, my passion and interest for storytelling is paramount in the conceptualization, approach and execution of the art I make. In today’s world, I do believe that art plays a major role and is indeed important, even more so than ever before. I acknowledge the importance of providing a voice for those who can’t find theirs, as well as providing information and representation where there is little to none. However, when people look at my art, I’d want them to not be reminded of the darkness, injustices, and hardships that are so currently blatant in the world. Instead, I seek to inspire and be the light that helps individuals to look forward and look beyond, to the joys and the happiness that can, and will be; to hang in the balance of reality and wonder.

Minute 3

Rachel Gemara, RN

Hospital Nurse, Jerusalem

Animated by Josh Philip Saunders

Animator’s Statement:

Josh Saunders is an award-winning London based animation director. His debut short film, “The Grey Hound,” won the Royal Television Society Award (2017) and was screened at a variety of international film festivals. He holds an MA in Animation from the Royal College of Art and a BA in Illustration from Central Saint Martins. His stories often give a physical form to the unseen desires and anxieties of his characters whilst exploring innovative and experimental techniques of drawing through animation. Each film is in some way a celebration of drawing as he defines his subject matter and constructs the narrative.

Minute 4

Calvin D. Sun, MD

Emergency Room Doctor, New York City

@monsoondiaries

Animated by Denise Chan

Animator’s Statement:

My name is Denise Chan and I’m a story artist/animator from the Bay Area. I am a huge believer in storytelling being a powerful tool for change, and so I jumped at the chance to work on this short film. Dr. Sun’s testimony highlights the bravery and tenacity of the doctors and nurses who are on the front lines of this pandemic, as well as the impact that COVID-19 has had on society.  The world is changing before our eyes, and now more than ever, I feel it is important for people to reach out and try to understand each other. As an artist, I am grateful to be able to use my skills to visually convey Dr. Sun’s story, and contribute my voice in some small way to the conversation.

Music by Matan Berkowitz

 

Sound design and editing by Sinan Refik Zafar

 

Hospital ambiance recorded by Mohammad Reza Mozaffari

Web design Emily Reeder

These films were made possible through ROI Community’s Coronavirus Response Micro Grant Program.

StillFrame_Calvin_4.jpg
 

© 2023 by Urban Artist. Proudly created with Wix.com