Born Free – The Bitter Bond


The Born Free Foundation has released a new animated story set in South Africa about a lion keeper and her cub. The Bitter Bond aims to raise awareness of the issue of canned hunting and to drive people to sign a petition to keep South Africa’s lions in the wild. The film was written and created by James Hodson and Jason Keet at Engine and animated by Zombie Studio through Blink Ink.

 Speaking about the project James and Jason said: “It’s rare you get the opportunity to work on something you really care about. We wanted this film to be as powerful as possible to raise awareness of a little known problem. We particularly love the hand-crafted feel of the film. The sets are all built for real and the animated lion feels fuzzy, like a child’s toy. This acts to disarm the audience so you feel like you’re watching a sweet story about a lion and his best friend, which makes the tragedy even more compelling.”

Click to watch film above


Client: Matt Smithers, Head of marketing and fundraising, Born Free

Agency: ENGINE

Executive Creative Director: Paul Jordan

Creative Directors: Steve Hawthorne & Katy Hopkins

Creatives: James Hodson & Jason Keet

Agency Producer: Stefanie Forbes

Account Handling: Eve Bui, Tom Butler, Katie Gould

Planning: Laura Sammarco

Social: Gemma Glover & Jack Cartwright

Production: Blinkink and Zombie Studio

Animation and Visual Effects by: Zombie Studio

Directed by: Daniel Salles and Paulo Garcia

Executive Producers: Bart Yates, Natália Gouvea

Cinematography by: Lucas Barreto

Sound Design: Ben Leeves at Jungle

Musical Intro: Alex Wilson-Thame

Song: ‘Born Free’ performed by Matt Monro licenced by Soho Music

Animation producers: Marcio Lovato, Antonela Castro, Leticia Harumi

CGI Lead: Yohann da Geb

Storyboard and Animatic by: Saulo Brito

Lead Modeller: Mauricio Sampaio

Animation Director: Bruno Monteiro

Animators: Bruna Berford, Bruno Santos, Christian Weckl, Conrado Testa, Francisco Catão, Hannry Pschera, Jonathan Edward, Leonardo Felix, Leonidas Maciel, Marcos Elias, Michel Denis Da Silva, Rodrigo Dutra

Colourist: Marcio Pasqualino

Sherry Collins