The Emmy-nominated Dutch-American documentary filmmaking team Jongsma + O’Neill (PBS’s web series Empire, Oculus/Hulu’s VR film The Ark) are back with a new groundbreaking storytelling experience: His Name Is My Name.
Available exclusively via the Instagram page @hisnamemyname, the expertly-crafted project employs ten 2-to-3-minute-long animated episodes and an AR experience to create a seamless, shareable portrait of generational trauma and hope.
His Name Is My Name is an animated documentary series that explores how the crimes of WWII-era perpetrators still reverberate through today’s society, shaking the foundations of our homes and our families. Part detective thriller and part personal visual essay, His Name Is My Name tracks Jongsma’s investigation into her family’s history, and shines a light into a still-dark corner of Europe’s past.
The documentary series launches on Instagram on the 8th of July as one of three artworks for the project Houses of Darkness and will also have a place in the exhibition The Memory of Camp Westerbork, in the museum of Camp Westerbork Memorial Centre.
Hidden ancestor Gekke Gerrit
At the heart of His Name Is My Name is the personal journey of one of its makers, Eline Jongsma. Jongsma grew up unaware that her great-grandfather was a Nazi-aligned mayor famous for his penchant for violence. Known as Gekke Gerrit, which means “Crazy Gerry” in Dutch, this hidden ancestor was wiped from the family history after the war. But secrets can’t stay hidden forever, and once Jongsma discovers Gerrit’s existence, she becomes obsessed with reconstructing his story—even if it means finding out that he may not be the only perpetrator hiding in her family tree.
His Name Is My Name uses contemporary methods - AR, short-form animation, and social media storytelling - to bring the stories of WWII-era perpetrators to young audiences. At once vulnerable and unflinching, the project illuminates a personal story of family shame and, in doing so, invites viewers to reflect on the dark spots hiding in their own histories. This is cutting-edge filmmaking, broadcast directly into users’ phones, and positioned for global impact.
His Name Is My Name’s visuals are created by the acclaimed Slovenian illustrator Jure Brglez, and straddle the line between cutting-edge motion graphics and visual design. The project’s arresting Instagram presence is designed by the Brazilian-American team Imagination of Things, who are also responsible for the project’s Augmented Reality experience that places users directly inside the His Name Is My Name storyworld.
Perpetrator history in Houses of Darkness
What place do perpetrators occupy in our collective European memory of the Second World War? Jongsma + O’Neill are one of three international teams of artists, that have explored the topic of perpetration and perpetrator history in Houses of Darkness, a joint project with Gedenkstätte Bergen-Belsen (Germany), Falstadseneret (Norway) and Paradox.