Still Life With Animated Dogs


The Filmmakers

Paul and Sandra, photo and animated

Paul Fierlinger
Writer/Director, Animator

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 "Best of Festival" awards and numerous "Firsts" in 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, MOMA, in New York.

Fierlinger is currently working on the animated feature film, My Dog Tulip, based on the book by J.R. Ackerley, slated for theatrical and home video release in 2008, featuring the voiceovers of Christopher Plummer, Lynne Redgrave, Isabella Rossellini and others.

Sandra Fierlinger
Painter, Assistant Animator, Production Manager

Sandra and Paul Fierlinger have collaborated on animation projects for the past seven years. Sandra graduated in 1978 from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts with the highest awards. She has worked with her husband on several dozen films for Sesame Street, Nickelodeon, American Playhouse and industrial and TV commercial clients.

John Avarese
John Avarese
Music Composer, Sound Engineer

John Avarese began studying classical piano at the age of five and by age seven was performing recitals with established music ensembles. His classical training culminated with a degree in music theory from Temple University. As his career progressed, Avarese continued to play piano for many musical groups, successfully adhering to their dissimilar, even contrasting styles. In the 1980s, he became a session player for a prominent recording studio in Philadelphia where he learned recording industry technology and began musical scoring for corporate videos. Soon after, he established JAV, a music production studio.

A professional composer since 1986, Avarese has created scores for planetariums, museums, short films, documentaries and corporations, as well as television spots for PBS, CBS, Discovery Channel, Nickelodeon and Oxygen networks.

He has recently worked on the special Surviving Katrina for the Discovery Channel, the feature film The 4th Dimension, CBS’s NFL Today and the PBS animated special A Room Nearby.

Avarese is currently composing music for My Dog Tulip, based on the book by J.R. Ackerley; slated for theatrical and home video release in 2008, directed and animated by Paul Fierlinger.

Page updated 9/18/06

Paul's prose Resources Speak! Dog Tales Postcards from the Hedge Fido Facts Wag the Dog Animation The Story