Extinction Rebellion animation brings together Miritte Ben Yitzchak, Brian Eno and Naomie Harris

The film breaks down the complex issues of the ecological crisis via animated infographics and scenes, making the facts impactful and accessible.

13 August 2020
Reading Time
2 minute read


Extinction Rebellion’s latest campaign film is ultimately a frightening summation of the ecological crisis, but made more digestible and empowering by the creative approach. Animated by Miritte Ben Yitzchak with a score by Brian Eno and narration by Naomie Harris, Extinction Emergency and Why We Must Act Now explains the issues simply via animated infographics and scenes, and delivers what could be a barrage of facts in a way that is both lucid and impactful.

The animator co-wrote the film together with script writer Mark Ellis, producer Serena Schellenberg and scientist and writer Matthew Shribman. “It is complex,” she explains to It’s Nice That, “because so many people’s livelihoods rely on the current economic structure causing this crisis, but we wanted to emphasise that this is not about blaming and shaming anyone for how they live, behave or consume within this structure.

“As the films’ purpose is to educate and empower, the style I developed for them aims to be inclusive and accessible to a wider audience, to reach people beyond the usual environmental circles and Extinction Rebellion.” Ben Yitzchak also created XR’s previous animation Climate Change and Why We Should Panic voiced by Keira Knightley, and the animator says the two films work in tandem as a two-part explainer series, “sharing the same look and feel and highlighting these two interlocking issues”.

As such, the film is a mix of digital illustrations with added layers of brush strokes and textures, with hand-painted brush strokes on paper scanned in and applied via Illustrator and After Effects. “I wanted the design to feel tactile and almost hand-made so that it would create an emotional connection with the viewer, and move away from the usual corporate-looking, flat-design video explainer aesthetics,” she says. In her practice, she tends towards mixed media, cutout images and video combined with digital illustration, patterns and textures. “I feel it adds an element of depth and absurdity,” she adds.

One of the key challenges of this particular project was the sheer amount of facts coming at you constantly throughout the film: 1 million species are at risk of disappearing forever; One in four animals, birds and insects are on the brink of extinction; there has been an average of 60 per cent decline in wildlife populations in 50 years… a lot of important information in a short space of time. “I didn’t want the film to become too bogged down with data, to the point that the viewer stops engaging with it,” says Ben Yitzchak. “My approach was to highlight some figures within a wider context, while taking the viewer on a journey illustrating how these facts have direct links and impact on every facet of the way we live, eat and shop. Hopefully this direct relation to people’s lives will resonate with them.”

GalleryMiritte Ben Yitzchak: Extinction Emergency and Why We Must Act Now

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent the last ten years working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on jb@itsnicethat.com.

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