Thursday, June 2, 2011

Florestine Screening This Saturday!

 I have been helping to organize this screening which is taking place this Saturday!  Please help us spread the word about this special event by forwarding or posting about it.
Hope to see you there!
Slain New Orleans Filmmaker's Voice and Vision Resound in Animated Documentary
“The Florestine Collection,” by Helen Hill, completed by Paul Gailiunas
Hollywood Theatre
4122 Northeast Sandy Boulevard
Portland, OR 97212
June 4, 2011
Award-winning animator Helen Hill found more than 100 handmade dresses in a trash pile one Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans. She set out to make a film about the dressmaker, an elderly seamstress.
Before Hill could finish the film, Hurricane Katrina flooded her house, the dresses and the part of the film she had completed.  Tragedy then struck again.  In 2007, Hill, then 36, was murdered and her husband, Dr. Paul Gailiunas, shot while protecting their child.
Gailiunas survived and vowed that Hill's final film would not go unfinished.  Now, four years later, Gailiunas has completed “The Florestine Collection.”  The film begins with Hill's story of the amazing treasure trove of dresses and weaves into it the heartbreaking and, finally, transcendent story of Hill and Gailiunas' life before and after Hurricane Katrina and their unique artistic partnership.
At the center of “The Florestine Collection” is the magical, do-it-yourself animation style characteristic of Hill's work.  Her extensive body of work has earned her wide renown in the animation and experimental film world.  In 2004, Hill was awarded a Media Arts Fellowship Grant by the Rockefeller Foundation for her achievements in film.  Her work has been featured in several film festivals of note, including the Ann Arbor Film Festival.  In 2007, Hill's alma mater, Harvard, established The Helen Hill Collection, features 16 millimeter prints of ten of her films.  In 2009, the Library of Congress selected her film “Scratch and Crow” for the National Film Registry. 
Gailiunas has been intimately involved in Hill's filmmaking.  A musician in calypso bands including Piggy and The Troublemakers, he has contributed music to a number of Hill's films, including “The Florestine Collection.”  Hill and Gailiunas have also co-produced short films and co-written songs.
“The Florestine Collection” captivates viewers by capturing Hill's and Gailiunas' determination to overcome an almost unfathomable adversity.
The screening will also include two other films by Hill, “Tunnel of Love” and “Bohemian Town,” plus a few other shorts by Hill's friends and local Portland filmmakers, including Lori D. and Benjamen Popp.  Along with the films, a vegan bake sale will also take place before and after to raise money for the theatre rental as well as to help support Wee Pigs sanctuary in Columbia, SC, where Paul and Helen's pot bellied pig, Rosie, now resides.
For more information on "The Florestine Collection" and Hill, see