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Netflix announces WW II drama, which is also an experimental animated/live-action hybrid project

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images (Getty Images)

Netflix took another stab at expanding its considerable slate of animated offerings today, albeit in one of the weirder ways we’ve seen in recent years: Per THR, the company has picked up the four-episode miniseries The Liberator, which combines a story of World War II atrocities with a new and ambitious animation style that’s a hybrid of live-action and CGI.

The Liberator is an outside pick-up, rather than a production from the streaming service’s rapidly expanding homebrew animation department. It was developed by Die Hard screenwriter Jeb Stuart, working with a process devised by animators Grzegorz Jonkajtys and L.C. Crowley, the latter of media collective School Of Humans. The series tells the story of the 157th Infantry Regiment of Oklahoma, one of the American WWII companies that was there when the Dachau concentration camp was liberated in April of 1945.  


The series is notable not just for its subject matter, though, but for its animation, which is apparently the product of a new proprietary process that’s been dubbed “Trioscope.” (You can see concept images of the process over on THR’s report.)

Of course, it’s difficult to judge any kind of animation from static shots, but the initial impression we’re getting from these proof of concept pictures is that the company is using something like rotoscoping—in which live actors are filmed, and then animated figures drawn over them—but with a lot more CGI. (Producing something more like Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly than Ralph Bakshi’s Lord Of The Rings.) There’s no word yet on when the series (originally developed for The History Channel) will arrive on Netflix’s servers.

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