Canadians Get Spirited Away DVD

Canadians Get Spirited Away DVD
The series might be gritty, eerie, and mysterious, but there's nothing flawed about Broken Saints. The 24-chapter epic has beguiled millions of international viewers since its 2001 launch on the internet, scooping a coveted Audience Award at last year's Sundance Online Film Festival. This November, Broken Saints vaulted from a web-exclusive (www.brokensaints.com) to jam-packed four-DVD set — an impressive feat for a small, independent coven of Canadian innovators living on ramen noodles and fan donations.

The unique blend of animated and graphic novel aesthetics is the brainchild of B.C. native Brooke Burgess, whose writing and direction skills wouldn't be fully realised without core team members Ian Kirby (design, tech direction, Flash wizardry), Andrew West (art direction, character design), and Burgess's cousin Tobias Tinker (series composer). Producing the first three years of Broken Saints episodes was a full time job for the team, but the DVDs required reproducing that work effort in nine month span. "It really was a birthing cycle," reflects Burgess with only the tiniest hint of humour. "It was staggeringly difficult near the end. It was insane. I thought I was going to die." Bringing the series to DVD demanded that nearly all of the audio, half the artwork and two-thirds of the effects be redone. "You'll notice not only a dramatic difference in art but in how a scene is conveyed," Burgess says. "Now it's much closer to how it was in my head when we originally started."

Already buzzed about in the international media, Broken Saints is set to impact the video game and television industries. Major game publishers including Microsoft and Nintendo are reviewing a Broken Saints game demo, while an animated series and mini-series are being considered by Hollywood's top talent pool. "You can make something that touches people, and you don't need a massive production system to do it," says Burgess. "We proved that we could do something independently in a basement that could have a global impact."