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DADA! Animation provides SEPPIA with the latest AI technology to tell the story of 56 million European migrants with awe-inspiring visuals.

[Paris, France]: SEPPIA has appointed DADA! Animation to bring to life, through animated sequences, the hybrid documentary series, There Were Millions of Them (lls étaient des Millions). The trailer, unfolding the world map of the greatest migration phenomenon in Western history, will be showcased at the Sunny Side of the Doc in La Rochelle from 19 – 22 June 2023.

Co-produced with Arte France, Arte GEIE, Arte Germany/Saarländischer Rundfunk and Indi Film (Germany), the 3 x 52’ docu-series details the massive human migration which took place in waves throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. While migration flows took off in the 18th century, they accelerated during the next hundred years and saw 56 million Europeans pack their bags and seek a new life abroad. This movement shaped the industrialised world and forged the driving force of capitalism.

In partnership with the German Studio SERU Animation, DADA! Animation developed various animated assets based on AI-generated style transfer to complete the conversion of artistic masterpieces and painted landscape scenery into animated sequences to help drive the powerful narrative of these families, who left everything, to rebuild everything, thousands of miles away.

SEPPIA’s producer and co-owner, Cédric Bonin, says that visually and narratively depicting the profound migratory movement that spans two centuries and three continents in a documentary approach presented a huge challenge that the creative team was excited to tackle. “How could we bring to life the stories of these migrants, whose journeys and experiences we have discovered? From the very beginning, our team of authors dismissed the idea of using fiction. It would have been too costly and logistically challenging, considering the vast number of territories and periods involved,” he says. “Instead, we turned to animation as a means to portray this expansive human tapestry and represent the historical figures, many of whom were humble individuals for whom visual documentation was often non-existent. We decided that an aesthetic inspired by graphic novels would allow us to give them faces and create a connection between the audience and these migrants from the past.”

DADA! Animation developed the artistic direction of There Were Millions of Them, helping SEPPIA get to grips with the animation production process, from writing and animatics to delivery. DADA! Animation co-founder, Jérôme Mouscadet, says that the company constantly strives to master real-time technologies and innovate within its digital lab, breaking down the barriers of animated images and collaborating with sectors and genres other than traditional youth programming.

On Wednesday, 21 June, Quentin Auger, co-founder and head of innovation at DADA! Animation will participate in a Sunny Side of the Doc panel discussion where he will share his expertise on archival material and innovative uses in documentary filmmaking and how DADA! Animation developed the animated aesthetic for There Were Millions of Them that will resonate with history enthusiasts, animation lovers, and families alike.

There Were Millions of Them will be broadcast on Arte and made available on Arte’s Free VOD platform in six languages all over Europe. The series will also benefit from a multi-broadcast on national and regional television and non-linear services across Germany. CLPB Rights will manage the international distribution.