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Animation Vividly Portrays Holocaust History in HBO Short

Debuting Jan. 27, The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm’ is produced by the cable giant and the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

Jeff Scher animated historical sequences for the documentary short ‘The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm.’

The short film The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm, which combines haunting historical footage and hand-painted animation to tell a story of Jewish life in Eastern Europe before and during the Holocaust, will premiere Jan. 27 on HBO.

Directed and produced by Emmy winner Amy Schatz, the short film is presented by HBO with the Museum of Jewish Heritage -- A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

The film begins with 10-year-old Elliott asking his 90-year-old great-grandfather, Jack, about the number tattooed on his arm. That sparks an intimate conversation about Jack’s life that spans happy memories of childhood in Poland, the loss of his family, surviving Auschwitz and finding a new life in America.

Jack’s story is brought to life through documentary and archival footage and stills, as well as the dynamic rotoscope animation of acclaimed artist Jeff Scher. Scher’s work is found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Academy Film Archive, Hirshhorn Museum and the Pompidou Centre.

Schatz’s notable HBO projects include the recent Saving My Tomorrow series, plus An Apology to Elephants, the Classical Baby series, A Child’s Garden of Poetry, ’Twas the Night, Goodnight Moon and Other Sleepytime Tales and Through a Child’s Eyes: September 11, 2001. Her work has won five DGA Awards, seven Emmy Awards and three Peabody Awards.

The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm was directed and produced by Amy Schatz; executive producer, Sheila Nevins; producer, Lynn Sadofsky; edited by Tom Patterson; animation by Jeff Scher; director of photography, Alex Rappoport; music composed by Keith Kenniff; production executive, Susan Benaroya; supervising producer, Lisa Heller.

The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm will be included in a signature initiative that is part of a robust education program offered by the Museum of Jewish Heritage -- A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. This effort is designed to use the film with a companion special installation and curriculum to connect stories of the Holocaust across generations. Additionally, companion segments featuring young people in conversation with survivors will be made available on HBO digital platforms.

The film will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and affiliate portals.

Source: HBO

Thomas J. McLean's picture

Tom McLean has been writing for years about animation from a secret base in Los Angeles.