Adapted from Joseph Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness will bring Marlow’s quest for the enigmatic Kurtz to a new audience in the first sand animation feature to capture the brooding atmosphere inherent in this classic story.

Marlow, an idealistic seaman, captains a leaky steamboat up the River Congo in search of a mysterious figure named Kurtz who has carved out a brutal kingdom in which he has power of life and death over his native subjects. Kurtz appears to have lost his mind and reverted back to a primitive state. Marlow and his crew brave hostile tribes, disease and death in their dangerous quest to rescue Kurtz and escape back home with their lives.

Format: 90 minutes
Technique: Sand animation2D digital drawn /
Directed by: Gerald Conn
Produced by: Heart of Darkness Ltd
Written by: Mark Jenkins / Mary Kate O Flanagan
Designer: Derek Mawudoku


Heart of Darkness is an all-action adventure story of a perilous journey into the untamed jungle of the Congo. It has many of the appeal of a tale with a mystery and a quest at its heart. A story that has layers of meaning that makes it ideal for a sand animation treatment. This will be the first sand animated feature that involves manipulating sand under the camera to design scenes frame-by-frame.

Heart of Darkness will remain faithful to the original settings of the book and use animation to appeal to a new audience. The themes in the book concerning the colonialism that Conrad had experienced at first hand in Africa still have a relevance today. The story has taken on a universal character that explains its continued popularity with filmmakers who have transposed the story to other periods and places as in the case with Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Orson Welles, who also wanted to make a film adaptation of the book, wrote:

“There’s never been a Conrad movie, for the simple reason that nobody’s done it as written and I think that, the minute anybody does that they’re going to have a smash on their hands.”

Animation is now breaking new boundaries and the unique design of this production along with one of the most impressive British casts ever assembled for an animated film will mark it out as a original piece of cinema at a time when animated films have shown that they can successfully tackle adult themes and moral dilemmas.

“I am very impressed by the original sand technique and overall look, feel and style. Given that the book is so well known, I think this project has great potential for the grown up animation market.”

Michael Rose, Producer
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