From his days in Communist Czechoslovakia through times in the United States, Paul Fierlinger has navigated through life with dogs as his co-pilots.
Ffive individuals from diverse backgrounds describe their bouts with loneliness, its challenges and benefits.
Born in Japan in 1936 to Czechoslovak diplomat parents, Paul Fierlinger spent World War II in the United States before living in Communist Czechoslovakia for 20 years. While at Czech boarding school, 12-year-old Fierlinger created his first animated film by shooting drawings from his flipbook with a… 16mm Bolex camera. In 1958, he established himself as Czechoslovakia’s first independent producer of animated films for Prague TV, a division of Kratky Film. He produced close to 200 short and very short theatrical and TV films in Prague before he escaped to Western Europe in 1967. After animating films in Holland, France, and Germany, he arrived in the United States one year later. In the U.S., Fierlinger began by first animating political commercials for Hubert Humphrey and many other political candidates. In 1971, he established his own studio, AR&T Associates, Inc. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In his more than 40-year career Fierlinger has created over 800 animated films which have garnered more than 200 major international awards. In addition to a Pew Charitable Arts grant for his body of work, Fierlinger’s accolades include an Academy Award nomination for It’s So Nice to Have a Wolf Around the House, many awards for educational films, TV commercials, and children’s films. He is the creator of Sesame Street‘s “Teeny Little Super Guy,” and “The Adventures of Letterman” in Arabic, Nickelodeon’s Amby & Dexter, the acclaimed American Playhouse television feature “Drawn From Memory,” and an award-winning animated mini-documentary series for cable TV’s Oxygen network, Drawn From Life.
His PBS animated specials, Still Life with Animated Dogs and A Room Nearby, have each won the prestigious Peabody Award for excellence. Several of Fielinger’s films have become part of the permanent film collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Can loneliness make you happy? Blending intimate interviews with distinctive animation, A Room Nearby gives voice to five culturally dissimilar people as they reflect on the process and unexpected revelations of loneliness.