Visiting Ben Shemen

Miriam Harris

Congratulations to Associate Professor Miriam Harris on the success of her animated documentary ‘Visiting Ben Shemen’ which has been selected for the NZ Documentary Edge Festival: 

It will be screened as part of the ‘NZ Shorts’ compilation – there will be an in-person screening at the Capitol Cinema on Friday, 26th May, at 4 pm. If you’re interested in attending, tickets are available here: 

The Doc Edge films will also be available to be viewed online from 19th June – 9th July. 

‘Visiting Ben Shemen’ has been screened at 25 international film and animation festivals, and to date, has won ‘Best Documentary’ at the New Media Film Festival in Los Angeles, and the NCCP Film and Animation Festival in Niagara, New York. 

For the making of the film, Miriam worked closely with internationally regarded composer and musician Juliet Palmer, a New Zealander who is now based in Toronto, and three AUT Digital Design Major graduates: Monique Hyobin Park, Doyeon Kim, and Lily Martin-Babin who assisted with the film’s animation. 

‘Visiting Ben Shemen’ is 16 minutes long, contains both animation and mixed media, and is experimental in its approach to media, sound, and narrative. It features interviews with three women in their late eighties – one of whom is Miriam’s mother – who survived or escaped the Holocaust as children, and met in 1946 at Ben Shemen, a special boarding school in Palestine. The school was particularly innovative and privileged creativity, socialism, working the land, and humanist ethics. It offered a healing transition for these three women, who became good friends.  

Centre for Design Research
Te Kura Toi a Hoahoa
School of Art and Design

Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau,
Auckland University of Technology


Susan Hedges
Mandy Smith

Authors are responsible for obtaining permission to publish images or illustrations with their papers in CDR; neither editors nor publishers of CDR accept responsibility for any author’s/authors’ failure to do so.

© Centre for Design Research, AUT University 2021