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Six Point Harness Animates the Horrors of Dictators in ‘How to Become a Tyrant’

Studio’s animated sequences, used in place of archival footage and re-creations, provide compelling depictions of brutality that might otherwise be unwatchable, in Netflix’s powerful new documentary series.  

Netflix’s recently launched documentary series, How to Become a Tyrant, sheds critical light on the atrocities perpetrated by some of the world’s most notorious and dangerous political despots. Rather the relying solely on much-seen archival footage or re-creations to depict the brutality, executive producers Peter Dinklage and Citizen Jones’ Jonah Bekhor and Jonas Bell turned to animation studio Six Point Harness to help them develop visually striking and compelling animated sequences used to great effect.

The 2D animated sequences, integrated into all six episodes, allow the series’ producers to show the actions and consequences of these dictators, and to illuminate how they rose to and maintained power over millions.

The series offers insight into six tyrants - Adolf Hitler; Saddam Hussein; Joseph Stalin; Idi Amin; Muammar Gaddafi; and Kim Il Sung - by exploring their surprisingly similar formulas for achieving and holding onto power.

“The world knows these men and what they have done, and to examine their steps to terrifying power we knew we had to find a unique approach and tone,” commented Citizen Jones’ co-founder and executive producer Bell Pasht. “Animation was critical to that.”

“Animation allows us to depict actions and consequences that might otherwise seem unwatchable, and to illuminate history in a compelling way,” added Bekhor, Citizen Jones’ co-founder and executive producer.

Six Point Harness’s work on How to Become a Tyrant showcases a stark and haunting style, with animation directed by Ron Myrick, that allows the studio to showcase its diverse creative capabilities. Take a look at the trailer:

“Working with Citizen Jones on this expansive, complicated project allowed us tremendous creative exploration, resulting in an evocative, expressionist style that captures the terror of these regimes and the people who suffered through them,” shared Six Point Harness supervising producer Vera Hourani. “This was a challenging exercise to present their stories in a way that is artful, tasteful and exciting to watch.”

“This was one of the most unique projects of my career,” noted Myrick. “It was a great challenge to portray history the essence of what these terrible people did while not getting too graphic but enhancing the narrative.” 

How to Become a Tyrant continues a diverse slate of award-winning projects for Six Point Harness. The studio’s vibrant work has recently been seen in projects as varied as the Oscar-winning animated short Hair Love; Netflix’s children’s series Waffles + Mochi; the Emmy-winning Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and its sequel, Cosmos: Possible Worlds; Adult Swim’s Lazor Wulf; Amazon’s Guava Island; and animated sequences in such series as HBO’s Backstories, AMC’s Dietland and ABC’s Black-ish. Some of the studio’s most expansive work will be seen this summer when HBO presents the first-ever fully animated stand-up comedy special, starring Tig Notaro.

In addition to Pasht and Bekhor, executive producers of How to Become a Tyrant are Dinklage and David Ginsberg of Estuary Films, and Jake Laufer. Co-executive producers are Brad Saunders, Kellen Hertz, and Steve Rio.

Source: Six Point Harness

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