Posted by: Kath Usitalo | October 18, 2011

About The Film I Made With Academy Award Winner Sue Marx

Detroit Institute of Arts

Fall cleaning time is here and I’m starting with my computer.

The poor ol’ Mac is loaded with material and I’m crossing my fingers that I clear it out and back things up before, well, use your imagination.

In my email box I came across a request for use of a photo I’d taken of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

The image would appear in a short video about artist Helen Ciesla Covensky, who was born in Poland in 1925 to a cultured Jewish family. She and her brother survived the Holocaust; unfortunately her parents and a young sister perished at Auschwitz.

Helen married and she and her husband landed in Detroit in 1949 where she studied art and history at Wayne State University.

She became a noted abstract painter and had a one-woman show at the DIA in the early 1980s, and enjoyed success at other museums and galleries including the Kreeger Museum in Washington, DC.

At the time of Helen’s death in November 2007 the director of the Kreeger stated that the artist “Painted freely, with vibrant colors and assertive gestures, the canvas conveys hope and a strong sense of Covensky’s affirmation of life.”

Anyway, I liked Helen’s art and the project and approved the request but had forgotten about it until now. I just tracked down the short film, produced by the Ciesla Foundation. The organization “makes films that make a difference” and was founded by Helen’s daughter, filmmaker Aviva Kempner.

Take 9 minutes and check out the video about this fascinating artist.

Watch for my DIA photo and stay put for the credits to see my name, Kath Usitalo, in lights, right after that of Sue Marx, noted Detroit filmmaker and Academy Award winner.

Okay, so the claim in the title of this post may be a bit of an exaggeration. I haven’t actually made a film with Academy Award winner Sue Marx. Yet. I’ll blame the delusion on the cleaning fumes.

But the film about Helen Covensky is still worth watching.

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