Black Earth Rising.

Nine minutes of Animated Sequence Inserts.

  "My mother always sang. I know she sang me to sleep. Every night. Always."


For the series BLACK EARTH RISING, STUDIO AKA was invited to create four animation sequences, as well as the main titles.

Produced, written and directed by BAFTA award winner Hugo Blick and produced by Abi Bach (The Honourable Woman) for BBC Two and Netflix, 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, imaginatively interpreting violent and tragic events – events where, as one character puts it,‘words would fail’.

"My father always said that should we ever journey south we could never get lost because all life returns to the bend in our river. And the dead too."

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 project is a true collaboration between AKA and the BER team to align and achieve Blick’s and Small's visions. The resulting imagery is captivating and powerfully wrought.

Small says of the project:

‘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."

"Words Would Fail."

In addition to this, AKA director Kristian Andrews created the show’s Main Titles, crafting a restrained and unblinking sequence using blended AFX and CG elements to pull us into place. Backed by Leonard Cohen’s enthralling 'You Want It Darker', The resulting sequence is as hypnotic as it is compelling.  

BLACK EARTH RISING will air on BBC Two in the UK and on Netflix worldwide in 2018
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


PLAY Sequence One.

PLAY Sequence Two

PLAY Sequence Three