Studio AKA was behind four animation sequences, as well as the main titles, for Hugo Blick’s BBC2/Netflix drama Black Earth Rising starring Michaela Cole.

Black Earth Rising follows the prosecution of international war crimes and the West’s relationship with contemporary Africa. The animation sequences depict events around the Rwandan genocide and its aftermath, interpreting violent and tragic events – events where, as one character puts it, ‘words would fail’. 

Studio AKA director Steven Small designed beautifully rendered hand-drawn sequences to be inserted into four episodes in the 8-part series. Along with a team of animators, Small drew reference from a wide array of source materials, using a combination of 3D, rotoscoping and simple line artwork to create these impactful images portraying graphic events.

“The opportunity to make imagery for writing as incisive as Hugo’s is rare. So for me, it was clear. The sequences needed to resemble broken memories, be spare in its look and only say what it needed to say; removing everything else. It felt right to pool sources of reference and inspiration together, generating a fragmented quality that gathers the drawing and painted art together within its restless and unsettling style,” said Small.

AKA director Kristian Andrews created the show’s Main Titles. Hugo Blick had a specific concept for the visual introduction to the show, and Kristian sought to hit that mark by crafting a restrained and unblinking sequence using blended AFX and CG elements to pull us into place, backed by Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker.

Credit list:
Client: The Forgiving Earth Limited Executive Producer: Greg Brenman Producer, Writer & Director: Hugo Blick Producer: Abi Bach
Animation Production Company: Studio AKA Animated Sequence Inserts Director: Steven Small Main Titles Direction: Kristian Andrews

Jon Creamer

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