Riveting, true story of U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks and his racially integrated infantry battalion’s 500-day fight from Italy to Dachau is the first produced using Trioscope enhanced hybrid animation technology; watch the teaser trailer.
Premiering this coming Veteran’s Day, November 11, on Netflix, The Liberator is a new, four-part animated miniseries based on the true story of World War II infantry commander Felix “Shotgun” Sparks, who led the 157th Infantry Battalion of the 45th Division, an integrated, Oklahoma National Guard unit of white cowboys, Mexican Americans and Native soldiers (over 52 tribes) drawn from across the west.
Written by Jeb Stuart (Die Hard, The Fugitive), directed by Greg Jonkajtys (Sin City, Pan's Labyrinth, The Revenant) and produced by A&E Studios, Unique Features and Trioscope for Netflix, the project is the first ever produced in Trioscope Enhanced Hybrid Animation, a new patent-pending technology combining state-of-the-art CGI with live-action performance, designed to bring an unprecedented level of emotion and fidelity to the animated drama experience. Jonkajtys developed the Trioscope technology together with partners L.C. Crowley and Brandon Barr. The project marks Trioscope’s first large project with Netflix and serves as their intro to the medium for large scale dramatic stories. Crowley, along with Barr, serve as producers.
"We decided early on Trioscope was perfect for this project because it centers everything on actors’ performances, which give the emotional fidelity a story like The Liberator deserves,” Jonkajtys explains. “Trioscope has made some significant advances in pixel flow and tracking so we don't have to rely on hand-drawn or rotoscoped shapes anymore.”
The Liberator, based on the book “The Liberator: One World War II Soldier’s 500-Day Odyssey” by Alex Kershaw, tells the riveting true story of the bloodiest and most dramatic march to victory of the Second World War: the battlefield odyssey of maverick U.S. Army officer Felix Sparks and his infantry unit as they fought for over 500 days to liberate Europe. On every level, Sparks and his battalion of “Thunderbirds” were classic citizen soldiers, and for over 500 days, they fought from Italy to France to the liberation of Dachau, through some of the most grueling battles of the war. This motley group of men not only coalesced into a fighting force to be reckoned with, but became one of the most decorated American combat units of World War II.
Sparks, who died in 2007, spent 10 years in the army before retiring as a colonel right after the end of World War II. After training stateside, he was shipped out to Algeria, from where he took part in the invasion of Italy, eventually fighting up through France, taking part in the Battle of the Bulge and the eventual German defeat. As detailed in Kershaw’s book, uncovering the horrors of Dachau led to some of Sparks’ men summarily executing captured German soldiers, which he was eventually able to stop. Returning to civilian life, he became a lawyer, a Colorado district attorney, later serving on the Colorado Supreme Court and as commander of the Colorado National Guard, retiring as a Brigadier General.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.