Slaves: An Animated Documentary

Hanna Heilborn, David Aronowitsch

Slaves is an animated documentary short in which conversations with two freed children from southern Sudan, who were kidnapped by a government-supported militia and forced into slavery, were recorded on sound in a documentary way.

The conversations took place in 2003, when the 20-year-long civil war in southern Sudan was drawing to a close. The family names of the two children, aged 9 and 15, have been bleeped out to protect their privacy. In this manner, the three-dimensional, stylistically simplified computer animation, with realistic depth of field and lighting is a safeguard for their identity. Furthermore, the choice for animation offers the possibility to represent the horrific experiences the children describe. In these scenes, we hear them in voiceover as the almost black-and-white images turn into bright colours: flaming red when the village is set ablaze and the children, confronted with the murder and molestation of their families, are taken off by the militia. And a shadowy and almost abstract series of images full of colours as one of them tells of a dream about his parents.


Hanna Heilborn, David Aronowitsch
Country of production
Norway, Denmark, Sweden
Animation, Documentary, Short
15 minutes
Spoken language
Dinka, English