|The Florestine Collection|
Optical Printing: Alfonso Alvarez
Experimental Animator Helen Hill found more than 100 handmade dresses in a trash pile on one Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans. She set out to make a film about the dressmaker, an elderly seamstress who had recently passed away. The dresses and much of the film footage were later flood-damaged by Hurricane Katrina while Helen was still working on the film. Helen was murdered in a home invasion in New Orleans in 2007. Her husband Paul Gailiunas has completed the film, which includes Helen''s original silhouette, cut-out, and puppet animation, as well as flood-damaged and restored home movies.
Helen Hill (1970-2007) was a filmmaker and activist raised in Columbia, South Carolina and settled in New Orleans, Louisiana. She studied Experimental Animation at Harvard and California Institute of the Arts. She taught film workshops wherever she went, and compiled Recipes For Disaster: A Film Cookbooklet. Helen championed low-budget and do-it-yourself approaches to filmmaking, including super 8, handprocessing, and drawing-on-film, and insisted that “you don't need to keep up with the latest technology to make a good film, you just need a good idea.”
Paul Gailiunas is a family doctor who works in Pasadena, California. He spent three and a half years following Helen's death completing The Florestine Collection.
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