Cool on Kickstarter: Henrietta Bulkowski

Henrietta Plane final

Through our imagination each of us is blessed with the gift of flight. In our mind’s eye we can see far past the limitations our physical surroundings, even our bodies to look forward into a bright future full of exciting adventures. In a new short film, Henrietta Bulkowski by Lift Animation, the boundaries of fantasy are stretched beyond measure as a young woman with a severely curved spine dares to spread her wings in a home-built airplane. Although she can not lift her head to even see the road before her Henrietta aims to journey toward the unknown places she has envisioned only in her fondest dreams.

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Written and directed by stop-motion animator Rachel Johnson the short is a tale derived from her own experience. Born with one leg shorter than the other Rachel knows first hand what it’s like to live with a disability.

“I spent a lot of time with severely disabled kids. At first I didn’t feel connected to them at all. But as the surgeries progressed and I lost the ability to walk I felt like one of them,” she told the Joy Trip Project in an interview. “Eventually I didn’t want to leave the hospital ward and I just wanted to be with them, because I felt normal and accepted with them. A lot of those kids never left, but I did leave and I did heal. Now you can’t tell that there’s anything wrong with me, but for me, my 13-year-old self there was just this desperate need to beautify what you can’t change, to beautify what people think is ugly.”final trashhill

With a deep desire to change the perspective of her audience by offering an alternative point of view, Rachel’s work in filmmaking is centered upon transformation. Through the art of stop-motion animation she can create an entire universe of possibilities to explore. And as we travel along with courageous characters like Henrietta Bulkowski we can learn that by simply changing our attitude or the angle of our approach we can turn the course of our lives toward a completely different direction.

Working with a dedicated staff of talented artists Rachel insists that in her latest project now underway she’s part of team.
“Yes I wrote it, yes I directed it but it’s ours,” she said. “To make a film as ambitious as this short it requires more than one person.”

Expected to complete production in 2014 the film is meant to showcase the abilities this small company to produce world-class animation. With a strong social consciousness for the creation of a meaningful body of work Lift Animation aspires to even bigger projects in movies and television.

The Joy Trip Project is proud to back Henrietta Bulkowski on Kickstarter. Your contribution in any amount can make Rachel’s vision a reality. Donate today!

Cool on Kickstarter is a  feature that profiles innovative and exciting projects in progress. If you know about an inspiring fundraising initiative, expedition, film or invention that aims to make the world a better place, improves the lives of others or is simply cool please share it. Drop me a note at

The Joy Trip Project is made possible thanks to the generous support of MAKO Surgical Corp. Ask your doctor if you’re a candidate for MAKOPlasty.MAKO_logo_TM

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I’m a freelance journalist that specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living.