This animated short brings to life a Yiddish poem, “A Valts” (“The Waltz”) by A. Lutzky. Written in the interwar period, the poem was also sung to children in the Lodz ghetto. Watch as couples dance to a dirge that foretells life’s impermanence.
Director, animator, and illustrator.
D. Zisl Slepovitch
Composer, music director
Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble:
Joshua Camp, accordion
Dmitry Ishenko, contrabass
Craig Judelman, violin
Sasha Lurje, vocals
D. Zisl Slepovitch, basset horn
Sound recorded in January 2020 at Mighty Toad Recording Studios, Brooklyn, New York
Sound engineer: Craig Dreyer.
About the Film
“The Waltz” is based on the poem by A. Lutzky, pen name of the Yiddish poet Aaron Zucker (1894-1957), set to music by D. Zisl Slepovitch and performed by Sasha Lurje and the Zisl Slepovitch Ensemble as part of the Songs from Testimonies project. Lutzky was born in Ukraine and immigrated to New York in the 1910s. In the poem, Lutzky raises themes of lost youth, lost hopes, lost lives, nostalgia for his homeland, and the fragility of life. Employing metaphorical language, the poet expresses themes of death and sorrow.
The poem was sung in the Lodz Ghetto during the Second World War and was recounted in a testimony at the Fortunoff Video Archive.
As an Eastern European, an artist of Jewish descent, and an immigrant in New York, this poem resonated strongly with me. The limited color palette, naive motifs of Eastern European and Jewish everyday life are united by the waltzing rhythm in this poetic film. I decided against the linear narration in favor of a mix of dark phantasmagory and nostalgia.
Yulia Ruditskaya is a Brooklyn-based award-winning director, animator, and illustrator. As a multidisciplinary artist, Yulia’s twenty years of working in animation, design, and film include credits in shorts, feature films and documentaries, and television series. Yulia also directed and animated numerous commercials, music videos, and broadcast design pieces. Originally from Minsk, Belarus, Yulia moved to New York, continuing as a visual storyteller and filmmaker. Yulia has directed several award-winning animated short films. One of her previous films And The Moon Stands Still, screened at over 400 film festivals worldwide and won over a dozen awards. Yulia fulfills her creative passion working with various styles and genres, ranging from tv shows for kids to visualizing complex subject matter, using digital, mixed-media, and hand-crafted techniques. She is a member of Belarusian Designers Union and Women in Animation.
Screening: Filmfest Weiterstadt
"The Waltz" has been selected for the 47th Filmfest Weiterstadt. The screening will take place Thursday, August 10th, open air at 21:45: https://www.filmfest-weiterstadt.de/
Screening: The Americas Film Festival of New York
"The Waltz" has been selected for the Americas Film Festival of New York in the Animation Shorts category. A screening will be held on June 19, 2023 in New York City. For more information on the festival, please visit https://www.taffny.com/animation-2023/
Screening: The Animattikon Project
"The Waltz" has been selected for the Animattikon Project, being held on October 28-November 6, 2022 in Paphos, Cyprus. For more information on the festival, please visit https://www.animattikon.com/
Screening: Canlandıranlar Animation Film Festival 2022
"The Waltz" has been selected for the Canlandıranlar Animation Film Festival 2022, being held October 17-23, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. For more information on the festival, please visit https://canlandiranlar.com/en/
Screening: 18th Santa Cruz Film Festival 2022
"The Waltz" has been selected for the 2022 Santa Cruz Film Festival, held on October 6-9, 2022 in Santa Cruz, California. For more information about the festival, please visit https://www.santacruzfilmfestival.org/
Screening: 6th Chaniartoon 2022 - International Comic & Animation Festival
"The Waltz has been selected for the 6th Chaniartoon 2022 - International Comic & Animation Festival from September 5-18, 2022 in Chania, Crete, Greece. The film will be screened during the Short Films with Music Theme block on September 13th at 21:00 EET. To learn more about the festival, please visit https://www.chaniartoonfest.gr/index.php/en/
Screening: World Festival of Animated Film (September 7-11, 2022)
“The Waltz” has been selected for the 18th World Festival of Animated Film in Varna, Bulgaria. The festival will take place September 7-11, 2022. Learn more about the festival at https://varnafest.org/ and check for updates on their Instagram account, wfafvarna (https://www.instagram.com/wfafvarna/)
Screening: Annual Animation Block Party at BAM Film (August 12-13, 2022)
"The Waltz" has been selected for the 19th Annual Animation Block Party at BAM Film in Brooklyn, New York. The festival takes place August 12-13, 2022. The film will be screened on August 13th, within the Animation Block Summer Mix – Volume Two program starting at 6:00 PM EDT. Learn more about the festival and buy tickets at https://www.animationblock.com/summerfest2022
Screening: Insomnia Animation Festival (July 14-18, 2022)
“The Waltz” was selected by the Insomnia Animation Festival as part of their Music of the Night – International Competition program. The festival takes place July 14-18, 2022 in Kaluga, Russia. The Insomnia Animation Festival is completely independent and has no affiliation with the Russian Federation government. To learn more about the festival, visit their website here: https://www.insomniafest.ru/en.html. You can read the festival's statement on staging the event here: https://www.insomniafest.ru/en-lightatnight.html
Screening: San Francisco Jewish Film Festival (July 21-August 7, 2022)
"The Waltz" will be screened on July 26, 2022 at 1:00 PM at the 42nd San Francisco Jewish Film Festival in the United States. "The Waltz" is a part of the festival's Jews in Shorts: Narrative Program 1. More information about the festival is available here: https://jfi.org/film-festival
Award: ASIFA-East Annual Animation Awards
The Fortunoff Archive is pleased to announce that "The Waltz" placed third in the Independent Films category at ASIFA-East's 52nd Annual Animation Awards Ceremony. ASIFA is French for the Association Internationale du Film d'Animation. ASIFA-East is the New York chapter, promoting all things animation. Debuting in 1969, the ASIFA-East Animated Film Festival is one of the longest running festivals of its kind. Each year, entries are submitted and judged during special jury screenings.
Screening: Toronto Jewish Film Festival (June 16-June 26, 2022)
Screening: The Near Nazareth Festival (June 6-8, 2022)
"The Waltz" will be screened at the The Near Nazareth Festival in Israel. More information about the festival is located here: https://nnfest21.wixsite.com/nnfestival-12