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The Global Search for Education: The Dhust Director Bianca Pietersz on Small Voices with a Big Impact

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This month audiences can screen The Dhust on the Planet Classroom Network.  The film was curated by KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. 

In this short film, Director Bianca Pietersz combines real world imagery with 2D animation to bring us an original story on the behind the scenes talent who really make our world spin.  Written by Matt Fernandez, the film stars Avalon Penrose, Eric Howell Sharp and Bianca Pietersz.  You will be captivated by this imaginative story that introduces us to the world of Dhust, a race of tiny, super-advanced people who have been lending humans a hand since the dawn of time. As an example, perhaps they were the talent that enabled Albert Einstein to solve his most complex equation?  

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Director Bianca Pietersz.

Bianca, we know it took you over 9 months to produce this unique animated short. What inspired you to make this film and what lessons did you learn during the creation of your first animated pilot?

This was a huge learning experience for me. I am an artist by trade, but I had never animated before this. It was fully frame by frame animation so I started just drawing out every single scene coming up with the concepts, and I was able to source a really amazing team from Facebook. I used to do some acting so I have a good roster of creatives, voice actors, actors, screenwriters, friends, and colleagues from the industry. My inspiration comes from quantum physics. I really love the Horton hears a who idea and the fact that we are a macrocosm of a microcosm. There is life on every scale as if one of our atoms is an entire solar system on its own. It’s this idea that there is life in the fabric of our reality and we could possibly be in the fabric of a larger reality. 

The Dhust is about microscopic people accomplishing larger than life feats. How did the original concept for The Dhust evolve and how do you see it morphing into a series?

It evolved with an idea and this idea turned into a collaboration between 4 to 5 people.  I would really really like to create this idea of not only going smaller and smaller but also going larger and larger.  If you could somehow transition into smaller and larger realities, we realize that we are all woven into the fabric of a larger and smaller reality. It’s like the concept of being a little speck of dust in something much larger.

The production for the film took place over the course of the pandemic. Describe your creative process in terms of collaborating with your team on this project? Did the pandemic prevent you from achieving your complete vision for this film?

I actually found that the pandemic gave us a lot of focus time. I had just had my first child and she was four months old when I started this project. I realized that I had a lot of quality time with my couch, so to pass the time I started drawing these concepts and animations. I think the pandemic helped us come up with new solutions which in turn made it simpler. All the actors worked remotely and it really helped us find new and innovative ways of working. We worked through Zoom and it was very simple. Everybody was required to have their own microphone so that they could record themselves, and we did a few sessions over Zoom to get it all down. Once the recordings were sent, it was up to me to edit it all together and animate the whole process. 

What do you hope audiences take away from The Dhust?

This is a really good question. I hope my audience takes with them a full imagination and the knowledge that even the smallest voices can make the greatest impact.

C.M. Rubin and Bianca Pietersz

Don’t Miss The Dhust, now screening on the Planet Classroom Network.  The film was curated for by KIDS FIRST! Film Festival. 

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