National Endowment for the Arts to Fund Guy Mendilow Ensemble's Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom Animation Expansion
Acton, MA —National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant to Arts Are Essential, Inc for commissioning an animation expansion for the Guy Mendilow Ensemble’s Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom, whose riveting story and music inspire fascination with overlooked WWII history in the Mediterranean.
The Art Works category focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.
“The arts are for all of us, and by supporting commissions for artists like the Guy Mendilow Ensemble, the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer.”
"NEA Arts Works support is a tremendous honour," says Guy Mendilow, the Ensemble's Director of Music and Education. "It affirms the Ensemble's premise and what this show strives to accomplish."
"An international tour de force” (Bethlehem Morning Call) from Israel, Palestine, Argentina and the USA, the Guy Mendilow Ensemble operates on the notion that incredible stories and emotionally sweeping experiences can do far more than just entertain. They can move audiences to empathize with, and care about, people and situations beyond their day-to-day.
The Ensemble's internationally-touring performance, “Tales from the Forgotten Kingdom” combines world-class musicianship with cinematic storytelling in a new wartime tale of adventure, courage and loss. The show conjures voices lost to war and upheaval, whisking audiences to distant times and picturesque places and sparking fascination for Sephardic communities that were decimated in WWII. The NEA Art Works grant helps enable the commissioning of Ukrainian sand animation artist Kseniya Simonova and German digital shadow puppet animation team Jan Koester and Sonja Rohleder to deepen the production’s impact and broaden its audience reach by animating select segments and adding animated digital set-pieces behind the narration and music.
"These stories are too good to be ignored," says Mendilow, "and the communities from which they come too important in terms of what they represent—from models of integration and interfaith cooperation to their own rich heritage—to be dismissed."