Up is Down by Millie Goldsholl

It’s exciting when you’re introduced to the work of a filmmaker that you’ve never heard about, such as last weekend when I stumbled upon Millie Goldsholl’s powerful and beautiful 1969 short Up is Down. Now the question I find myself asking is why hadn’t I heard of her before.

She wrote, designed and directed the film by herself. Millie, with her husband Morton, ran Goldsholl Associates, a commercial/graphic design and animation studio in Chicago. Her husband’s name is actually quite familiar to me as he was a well-known mid-century graphic designer, but I had no idea that both he and his wife were also filmmakers.

The only information I could dig up online about their animation practice was in a couple of blog posts that Michael Sporn had on his blog recently–a 1975 article from Millimeter Magazine and a few more details from a 1976 article from the same magazine.

Morton and Millie made numerous short films during the Sixties. One of Mort’s live-action efforts, about the history of paper, is also available for viewing online. From the info on this website, we can deduce that Morton and Millie most likely attended the School of Design in Chicago, which was run by Hungarian-born Bauhaus instructor László Moholy-Nagy. Together, the Goldsholls were making film experiments as early as 1942. They appear to have been a fascinating couple and I hope to learn more about them in the future.


  • http://www.stephenneary.blogspot.com pizzaforeveryone

    really enjoying the reconditioning montage.

  • tracker

    GOLDSHOLL, MORTON b.Dec 21, 1911 d.Feb 27, 1995
    Last residence: 60035 (Highland Park, Lake, IL)
    Obituary in the Chicago Tribune, but the online records don’t go back that far. If you have a subscription to Ancestry.com or live near Chicago, you could go and look up more about him. Or you might could call and talk to a reference librarian at the main branch of the public library in Chicago, they can tell you what records they have for him.

    His wife may still be alive, I couldn’t find a record of her in the S.S. death index, nor in the obituary search. Unless she went by a name other than her real name, in which case that could be difficult to search without knowing.

    Interesting film, I had never heard of them, despite having read a lot about the history of animation and having had a class in it.

  • Jim K

    Am I the only one seeing sexual imagery in that screen freeze above?
    In that bunch of ‘camel’ toe heads?

  • joecab

    Wow I haven’t seen this since I was a kid! It definitely aired on TV in NYC (PBS? on the International Animation Film Festival program hosted by Jean Marsh, perhaps?) in the 1970′s.

  • Alfons Moline

    WOW! This is one of my very favorite American independent shorts of all times!!! I discovered it way back in 1990 on British T.V., while I was living in London for a short time.
    It aired on Channel 4, which at the time offered lots of independent animation from all over the world in its programming (it seems that ‘Up is Down’ came in a film package from distributor Churchill Films, which also included many shorts from Bosustow Productions). I still must have this on an old Beta tape.
    It´s delightful and simple piece of animation, yet also powerful -as you said, Amid- in its message. And however I have found virtually no trace of this short nor from its creator in any animation-related book -not even in ‘Cartoons’, Gianalberto Bendazzi´s mammoth history of world animation. I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who still remembers this little big gem!

  • http://www.daganm.blogspot.com Dagan

    Thank you for sharing this!

    Great message, and I really dig the narration as well.

    The dedication at the end is my favorite part! :)

  • http://www.justinsimonich.com Justsim

    That was a great film. Great find. It is a wonderfull take on how we look at the world around us. Thanks…

  • anonymous

    Thank you for posting this. I am related to Millie, and I can assure you she is still alive. She just celebrated her 89th bithday. If you can find it, “Rebellion Of The Flowers” is another great short done by Millie and Mort.

    As far as Mort’s other design projects, there is a wonderful book that shows his talents entitled “Inside Design: A Review (40 years of work)”. It was published in 1987, and he shares the book with another designer, Y. Sekiguchi.