Creating the animations for Black Earth Rising

A survivor’s memories of the Rwandan genocide are recounted through hand-drawn animations in BBC and Netflix’s new series, Black Earth Rising

*This article is free of spoilers*

BBC and Netflix’s new series Black Earth Rising follows the story of Kate Ashby – a young woman who was rescued as a child during the Rwandan genocide and raised in London by a criminal prosecution lawyer. As the show unfolds, Kate is drawn into a legal case involving an African militia leader and forced to relive harrowing events from her past.

The eight-part series was written, produced and directed by Hugo Blick, who also directed The Shadow Line and The Honorable Woman. Chewing Gum creator Michaela Cole stars alongside John Goodman and Noma Dumezweni, who played Hermione in Harry Potter & The Cursed Child.

While TV dramas typically use live action flashbacks to explain past events, Black Earth Rising uses hand-drawn animations to recount Kate’s memories of the genocide – a horrific event that saw around 800,000 people killed in just 100 days in 1994.

The brutality of the Rwandan genocide has been explored in several live-action films, from Somewhere in April to Shooting Dogs and the Oscar-winning Hotel Rwanda. Speaking to Creative Review, Blick says he wanted to tell Kate’s story in a way that viewers wouldn’t expect by using a less familiar medium.


Milton Keynes