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|Directed by||Brooke Burgess|
|Produced by||Brooke Burgess|
|Written by||Brooke Burgess|
|Music by||Tobias Tinker
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Broken Saints is an award-winning, partially Flash-animated film series by Brooke Burgess, Ian Kirby, and Andrew West. First published in 2001, it is one of the earliest examples of a motion comic. Like a comic, characters on the most part remain in static poses and dialogue is indicated by speech balloons. However, rather than exclusively using sequential panels, animated sequences are used to switch scenes and help advance the story, while music (composed by Tobias Tinker and Quentin Grey, as well as classical pieces by Mozart and others) and sound effects are included, lending a more cinematic experience than one would ordinarily achieve with a comic strip alone.
Broken Saints is some 12 hours long, split into 24 chapters published online between 2001 and 2003. The chapters become progressively longer, many with two or three acts. The culmination of the series, chapter 24, is five acts long - plus prologue and epilogue - and runs for 1 hour and 23 minutes.
Centered on philosophical, religious, political and spiritual themes, it tells the story of four strangers from "the quiet corners of the globe" connected by a vision they all receive of a coming evil. Their search for the truth behind the vision leads them to each other and to far larger and more disturbing truths than they could have expected.
The details of their respective visions vary, but each one contains a giant red cat's eye (accompanied by a terrific electronic screech), the ubiquitous symbol of the series. After seeing it, the four main characters fall into a temporary coma.
Several haikus (somewhat of a trademark of Brooke's) are presented as each episode loads, as well as quotes at the beginning and end from various sources, both tying in with themes and events of the episode. Several chapters contain animated scenes which introduce and close the chapter, and allude to various pop culture media such as The Matrix, Donnie Darko, Fight Club and The Wizard of Oz. Samples of songs from Montreal based band Godspeed You! Black Emperor were looped extensively in the soundtrack, and much of the dialogue, particularly in Chapter 14, is taken from the spoken word portions of their songs (some directly, and some slightly altered). The group is listed in the credits at the end of chapter 14 under "Loop Worship."
Each of the chapters was written and directed by Burgess, with Kirby doing the technical direction and West providing the artwork. The series was co-produced in the first year (first six episodes) by Vancouver-based Switch Interactive with Budget Monk Productions. Illustrator Andrew West and Flash designer/programmer Ian Kirby were employees of Switch, and brought the treatment to the studio's attention in 1999.
Two DVD versions have been released. The first was released in 2005, and featured improved or wholly redrawn art for the first twelve chapters, numerous featurettes, commentary on select chapters, and a voice track for practically all dialogue. The voice actors included William B. Davis, David Kaye, Kirby Morrow, and Emmy-award winner Janyse Jaud. Burgess himself provided a character voice. This version is now out of print. The latest DVD version, released in 2006, is being distributed internationally by 20th Century Fox. It is the same as the previous version, with a few slight differences, including a reworking of Chapter 13's artwork and commentary for every chapter.
"In the quiet corners of the globe, four strangers receive a message..."
Commonly Shandala, she is an 18-year-old altruist living an idyllic life. She came to the uncharted Fijian island of Lomalagi (or "Heaven") as an infant floating on the waves and was adopted by the island's wise tribal chief Tui Nisinu. The mysterious circumstances around her birth will return to haunt all who come to know her—and affect the whole world. In the DVD version, Shandala's voice is provided by Emmy-award winner Janyse Jaud.
Raimi is a 24-year-old Canadian non-practicing Catholic who lives in the fictional Coast City, United States. He works developing software and security (and then finding ways around it) for a global telecommunications and pharmaceutical company called Biocom, which has just irked him with a sudden unexplained termination from an important project. The electronic information he cracks from his company leads him on a personal mission that ultimately brings the four strangers together. Raimi is voiced by Kirby Morrow.
Oran is a 29-year-old devout Muslim from Baghdad, Iraq. At the outset of the story he is involved in an armed resistance against Western domination, left to guard a small bunker in solitude. With nothing to do but read the Qur'an, Oran begins to doubt his mission and himself. Oran is voiced by Michael Dobson.
Also known as "Kami", he is an elderly Shinto mystic and former Buddhist from rural Japan. He was estranged from his former Buddhist order over an incident concerning relics given him that he swore to protect. Goku, a former student, had demanded the box, in order to sell its contents. However, Kamimura had given his word and his word was his bond. Kamimura's voice actor is Colin Foo.
Captain of the yacht "Revelation," Gabriel traveled to Lomalagi to find Shandala. Shandala agrees to go with him, to find the truth of her past. But what secrets does this mysterious man have to share? He is voiced by Brooke Burgess.
Chief Tui Nisinu
Chief Tui is the adopted father of Shandala, and the tribal leader on Lomalagi. He has kept the island secluded, and is wary of outsiders. He is also the father of Tui Jr. He is voiced by Greg Anderson.
Son of one of BIOCOM's founders, he is the current CEO. He has steered corporate affairs away from biological/medical research and towards more profitable communications technologies. He personally promoted Raimi to work on the LEAR/SPEC/SILO project. This shadow man is voiced by William B. Davis, known for his role as the Cigarette Smoking Man in the X-Files.
One of the Founding Fathers of BIOCOM, he has long held the reins posthumously, after faking his own death years ago. Benjamin Palmer, while planning his own usage of the satellite network combined with the implants, is in the dark of Lear's true intentions. Lear is voiced by David Kaye.
She is one of Raimi's coworkers, and a close friend. She is Benjamin Palmer's personal secretary, and has access to computer files and records that are key in the early stages of Raimi's investigation. Sandra is voiced by PJ Brookson.
Hassan is a 25-year-old freedom fighter/terrorist. He is Oran's childhood friend and weapons supplier. Having grown up together and gone to the same school, mosque and Republican Guard training, they have strong bonds with one another. It is in a bunker when things go to pieces for the pair. His fate inspires Oran's rejuvenated faith. His voice actor is Paul Skrudland.
Goku is a former student of Kamimura. He turned against his mentor in order to attain a "treasure" Kami protected for many years. His soul is jarred, and he spends the majority of the series in a coma. However, he isn't without his powers to infiltrate his captor's mind... Goku is voiced by James Wolfe.
Tui is the only blood heir to the Chiefdom held by his father. He leaves the island when Shandala decides to go with Gabriel Dunn, and hopes to help keep her promise to return home. He is voiced by Revard Dufresne.
Shandala's pet, a stray who washed up on the shores of Lomalagi. Bula was in a bag of dead kittens who were presumably set adrift in the sea due to a shortage of fish on local islands. A side note: Bula means hello.
Lt. Charles and Lt. Bravado
A pair of military men, they are suspicious of Oran from the start. They found him in the desert after he slit his wrist and set of the emergency flare. They continue to be a thorn in the saints' side throughout the series. Charles is voiced by Kevin O'Grady, and Bravado is voiced by Ryan Crocker. They are the subordinates of...
A man who has served queen and country though more than a few sordid affairs, Briggs is in command of the UN base "Sol" where Oran is brought. He finds his job rather tiresome, and dislikes the locals. His voice is provided by Michael Robinson.
Commander of the Valhalla base, he supervises Oran's implant. Later in the series, he is shown to be in direct communication with Benjamin Palmer concerning the upcoming broadcast. He is voiced by Jan Mos.
A simple egg farmer from rural Japan who gives Kamimura a lift, and a few words of wisdom. Perhaps, beneath all the talk of eggs, there is something more to him. Some truth that will become more clear as the memory of him fades. His voice is supplied by Nathan Schwartz.
A newsstand vendor, we first meet Gregory when Raimi is pursuing the Vagrant. Raimi buys a stroke mag and a pack of Morley cigarettes from him. Gregory speaks as the voice of the common man, and Trace Ventura speaks as the voice of Gregory.
Cielle is the owner of a shop carrying a variety of items relating to spiritualism and the occult. She gives Raimi a tarot reading which leaves him with a better understanding of what has happened, and what is to come. She is voiced by Patricia Drake.
Owner of the Mars gentleman's club. He has connections with BIOCOM through Benjamin Palmer. He also holds Shandala captive, until Raimi, Oran, and Kamimura discover her there. His voice is supplied by Scott McNeil.
Deimos and Phobos
Named after two of Mars' moons, this pair are the well built bouncers of the Mars club. Deimos is voiced by Adam Fulton, while Phobos is voiced by Herbert Duncanson.
Toshi and Yuki
Yuki is a single mother who is travelling to Coast City on the same flight as Kamimura. With her is her curious son, Toshi. The pair play a small role as some comic relief, and make an appearance also in the prologue of chapter 24. Yuki is voiced by Melissa Bradcato, and Toshi is voiced by Daniel Borowiecki.
Osama Bajir, Oran's father, is heard whenever Oran is reading the Koran. Osama was killed by an American bomb, and the incident is what resulted in the blindness of Oran's left eye. Osama is voiced by Scott McNeil, who also voices Mars.
Colonel Brahmaz is a Saudi Arabian member of the team stationed at SOL. He plays good cop when Oran is interrogated. He seems to support Oran, while still questioning whether or not Oran is who he claims he is. Brahmaz is voiced by Adam Henderson.
Chief Tui's wife and Tui Jr's biological mother, she was a key character in Shandala's childhood. She was murdered ceremonially by a man from the west, who had come with promises of help. Her death is the main reason that Chief Tui is wary of Gabriel, and for good reason. Mama Tui is voiced by Dee Daniels.
A homeless Native American, Bobby is an alcoholic roaming the streets of Coast City. Kamimura has compassion towards the man, but simply gives him some money to try to help. Bobby is voiced by Nick Kline.
A young girl who lives on the streets. She sells her body to pay for her addictions. When she encounters Kamimura, she is confused when he gives her money and asks for nothing in return. She is voiced by Chrystal Leigh.
A very minor character, he is simply Butterscotch's dealer. He has a few lines read by James Thomson.
Michael is a homeless man who preaches in the slums of Coast City. He meets Kamimura, and helps him to find someplace to rest. He is voiced by Chris Olson. Later, in the prologue of chapter 24, he consoles Butterscotch.
A volatile young man who's greed pushes a possessed Kamimura over the edge. He winds up getting his face smashed in violently. He is voiced by one of the series creators, Andrew West.
A Japanese mother of three, she sends her son Kamimura to live in a Buddhist temple. Shortly after Kamimura leaves, she and her remaining children fall victim to one of the atom bombs dropped on Japan during World War II. Her voice actor is Taylor Moll.
A beggar sitting outside the Coast City airport, he receives a large sum from Kamimura. This character is voiced by series composer Tobias Tinker.
Chapter 1: Introitus
In the quiet corners of the globe, four strangers receive a chilling vision of the future. Will they stand to face the coming darkness... and if so, at what price?
The opening chapter introduces us to the main 4 characters: Shandala, Oran, Kamimura, and Raimi. Shandala begins with a short, poetic account of her dream. Next comes Oran, who is hiding out in a bunker, speaking of his guilt and faith. That transitions to Kamimura, who has returned to his temple to find it ablaze. After the fire burns itself out, he recovers a box from its hiding place, only to be confronted by his former student Goku. Raimi is then introduced, walking the streets of Coast City, returning to his apartment after being kicked off the project he was working on at work. He is going to find out why. As the chapter finishes, we return to Lomalagi to find Shandala confronted by a vision. The intensity of the vision causes her to faint, where she is discovered by the other members of her tribe.
Chapter 2: Cryptic
A young programmer uncovers evidence of corporate treachery. But all secret knowledge comes with a price... for there are claws sheathed within the code.
Raimi Matthews begins to dig into his company's mainframe. Things go well at first, he finds his way into the information he is looking for when his computer freezes. Suddenly his monitor displays the sentence, "I SEE YOU," making him try to disconnect. His electrical cord shorts, shocking him and taking out the power. His screens, now powerless, light up with a flashing symbol, and he passes out.
Chapter 3: Versus
Beneath the harsh sands of the Iraqi border, a lone warrior fights for his sanity. But when the struggle seeps into the waking world, blood will be spilt.
Hassan returns to the bunker with supplies, but finds Oran in a state of near insanity. Oran lashes out against his dear friend, not knowing who he is. When at last he snaps out of it, he realizes what he has done. He checks to see that his friend is still alive, and then borrows his jeep to begin his journey.
Chapter 4: Epiphany
Kamimura explores the memories of an old foe for the cause of his temple's destruction. Lost in meditation, the dark secret is revealed.
Walking along the rolling hills of Japan, Kamimura contemplates his beliefs. Finally resting alongside a river, he examines the depths of Goku's mind. After reliving the moments leading up to his home's destruction, he witnesses an unknown person who gives him a message of things to come. Note: The vision is for Goku, not Kamimura, Kamimura merely gets trapped in the darkness of a message sent to Goku.
Chapter 5: Awakening
A tribal chief holds a mournful vigil at his adopted daughter's bedside. When the past arrives on their shores in the hands of a stranger, something will awaken.
Chief Tui Nisinu sits by his daughter, Shandala, who has not yet woken up from her comatose state. He talks about her past and her mother. He is disturbed by Tui Jr. who tells him that a boat carrying white men is anchored off the shore. The captain of the boat carries a picture of Shandala from before she came to Lomolagi. She wakes up, and takes a wrap off her hair to reveal that her hair is pure white. An omen.
Chapter 6: Synchronicity
If blood spills in the desert, will an egg break in Japan? Can a ghostly message in Coast City herald a seafaring emissary on the shores of Paradise?
Oran travels on foot, after Hassan's jeep ran out of gas. He begins to lose his mind when he is confronted by shadowy figures and then "The Other." In act 2, Raimi exits the BIOCOM building where he was taken after passing out from the occurrences of Chapter 2. He notices a vagrant wearing a sandwich board with the same message as his computer. Thinking it more than coincidence, he follows the man down a side street. After he talking to Gregory, a newsstand vendor, and buying a stroke mag and some Morley cigarettes, he heads down an alley to get one lit. There, he is confronted by the eyeless vagrant who talks in riddles, and foreshadows much of what is yet to come. Act 3, Kamimura finds himself in the back of a small truck, travelling through rural Japan. The driver, an egg farmer named Masayuki, makes some smalltalk, while passing on an important message. At a fork in the road, they go their separate ways, with Kamimura headed towards America. At the very end of this chapter, Shandala and her father talk along the shoreline of Lomalagi.
Chapter 7: Lucid
Shaken by the haunting alley encounter, Raimi prays for the memory to wash away with sleep. But when another vision strikes, there will be nowhere to hide.
Chapter 8: Lomalagi
An enigmatic man from the West seeks to return Shandala to her true family. Can he overcome the tribe's growing doubt and risk death on the Flaming Path?
Chapter 9: Personas
Who we are is often bound to what we choose to reveal. In the eyes of those who judge our second skins, we are all naked, unworthy, and guilty.
Chapter 10: Trinity
Three points to triangulate. Three digits for a flight code. Three cubicle walls. Three verses from a holy tome. Three men on a fated course.
Chapter 11: Surfacing
Torn between the love of her adopted homeland and the charms of a pale skinned suitor, Shandala's psyche threatens to crack and reveal a terrifying secret.
Chapter 12: Passage
From tragedy to transformation-from burden to blessing-and from Alpha to Omega-no man escapes unscathed. And no saint will emerge unbroken.
Chapter 13: Insertion
In the heart of an underground war machine, Raimi is forced to assist in a horrible experiment. The shackles of the soul are stamped in silicon.
Chapter 14: Harbingers
On the lonely streets of Coast City, Kamimura carries the burden of distant memories, and Raimi must face Oran's rising thirst for vengeance.
Chapter 15: Tempest
When the sky's breath collides with the messengers, a battle erupts between Heaven and Earth. Witness as wind, rain, and electrical fire are unsheathed.
Chapter 16: Fallen
Drifting lost in the icy sea, Shandala seeks strength in her childhood memories. But something watches from the empty sky, and lurks in her heart's depths.
Chapter 17: Lazarus
Trapped in a frightening limbo, Shandala succumbs to a shadowy man's poison... and a pair of unlikely fugitives rise from their cold metal tomb.
Chapter 18: Forecast
Divination and information lead to confrontation. With Raimi disabled, Oran enraged, and Kamimura possessed, a true clash of titans is destined. After escaping their death, eluding the military and witnessing death of Raimi's coworker Sandra, Oran and Raimi look for a place to crash. They enter a small gnostic shop, where an Albino fortuneteller does a tarot reading for Raimi. The reading makes Raimi want to investigate the alley he found the eyeless vargrant. There, Raimi reminiscences about his previous encounter with Gregory, the newsstand vendor as Raimi and Oran investigate the alleged evil eye. As they are stripping down ads covering the eye, Raimi hears moans of Kamimura, whom he mistakes for the eyeless vagrant. After he helps him get up, Raimi and Kamimura reach Oran just in time for Oran to shed the last ad and reveal the evil eye which releases Goku from Kamimura's mental grasp and sends the monk into an insane rage. As Kamimura and Oran fight, Raimi figures that Kamimura is another piece of a puzzle. He manages to snap Kamimura back to his original self. After revealing that he has seen the eye before, Kamimura joins the Saints in their quest, much to Oran's chagrin.
Chapter 19: Signals
Descending into the lurid depths of the Mars club, an uneasy alliance of Saints digs for proof of a greater conspiracy. Viewer discretion is advised. Oran, Raimi and Kamimura enter Mars's bar in hope of realizing what further plans does Benjamin Palmer has installed for them. As Raimi realizes the sheer scope of Palmer's plans, Kamimura uses his previously bought token on an Out Of Order strip booth. However, revealing the booth's secret contents immediately alarms Mars, Phobos, and Deimos. Negotiations quickly break down and a fight ensues, but Mars and his thugs are quickly disabled by Oran and Kamimura. Mars reveals that holding Shandala in the broken booth was a favor for Benjamin Palmer, and reluctantly turns her over.
Chapter 20: Inside
Pull back the curtain. Shift the system's gears. Stare into the backstage mirror and gasp at the face you see. All will be revealed... on the inside. Shandala, after being recovered from Mars' club, is taken to a hotel, but still suffering from shock and malnurishment. In order for them to spiritually heal Shandala, Kamimura sips hallucinogen fungus into their tea. The drug takes them to the tragic events that shaped their lives. When they once again find their reason and hope, all four simultaneously wake, and see that Shandala is fully recovered.
Chapter 21: Convergence
With Shandala healed and tension mounting over Biocom's plans, the group debates what should be done next, as ghouls from the past loom close as peril. A group of marines barges in and shoots Oran, mortally wounding him—they have been tracking them using the chip installed in Oran's hand. However, Shandala unleashes her emotional "broadcast" power on the intruders, killing them, and then heals Oran. As Kami wonders about one person's ability to so easily be a monster and a savior, the gang agrees they must take Shandala home and they head for the pier where they find Gabriel.
Chapter 22: Revelation
Reunited aboard Gabriel's decrepit ship, a terrifying secret is revealed that shatters the souls of the Saints and awakens a slumbering darkness. Gabriel offers all of them dinner while Raimi and Oran grow suspicious of this coincidence. Gabriel later reveals that he used curare in the wine he served them, making them unable to move or speak but still conscious of his ongoing revelations. He then reawakens Shandala's forgotten traumas. Afterwards, he leaves with Shandala.
Chapter 23: Ascent
Shandala's past echoes in the Now as the group converges on the BIOCOM building to face a military blockade and the shadowy architects of doom. After recovering from the effect of curare, the Saints compare notes and realize that Gabriel must be taking Shandala to the BIOCOM building. Upon arrival, they discovered that all soldiers in the area were slaughtered by an unknown foe, though cameras eventually show the familiar effects of Shandala's broadcast. The Saints enter the BIOCOM building, intending to search lower floors, but the trap is sensed when they are taken straight to the top. There, they confront Benjamin Palmer only to realize he was just another puppet. A horrific vision of the eye then appears before the Saints, crushing them to the floor.
Chapter 24: Truth
Every man, woman, and child on Earth will stand and bear witness to the fury in the sky. And in the final hours, Judgement will rain down upon us all. The conclusion of the series has all of the Saints' intended roles revealed by the Lears—with Shandala as the catalyst, a worldwide broadcast of fear would be sent out. The Saints were to be the first disciples in the new world order, but it is quickly seen that the meeting would not be one of joy. As Raimi attempts to change or delete the images of suffering that a crucified Shandala is being fed, Oran and Gabriel battle. During this, Kamimura relieves himself of Goku's spirit within a mirror and removes Oran's hand to save him from Dunham's own localized broadcast.
Feeling mounted betrayal and desperation as Raimi successfully uploaded previously taken pictures of all four Saints in relaxation (therefore lessening the potential of the impending worldwide broadcast, at the cost of getting blown from a high altar from Shandala's close broadcast), Dunham sets Gabriel to the task of killing an injured Oran. However, with his head turned to Shandala to be sure she understood his message (cruelty in the human heart), Gabriel was unable to see, and surprised to find that the final knife plunge was blocked by Oran's medallion. In the same moment, Oran shot Gabriel through the head.
As a final plea, Dunham asked Shandala to not let all the losses be in vain, but an aware Shandala denies him the wish. As Kamimura joins Dunham and Oran joins Raimi, an EMP launch is activated. The worldwide broadcast occurs at the right time, but Raimi's efforts have the message changed not to fear of God, but love for the fellow man. As citizens all around the world feel the effect and see Shandala's face, the EMP goes off and the upper level of the tower chapel is destroyed and the broadcast ends.
The epilogue reveals that Oran and Raimi are alive (likely due to Shandala using the last of her energy to heal them). However,Oran is still missing his hand with the arm wrapped in Kamimura's robe (as Kami was at ground zero to the EMP blast, there was no way to save him). They bring a box representing them all to Lomalagi, and when Chief Tsui realizes that his family is dead, he weeps. At the funeral pyre burning the box, Raimi reveals that even as the world's nations go through the motions of mass disarmament, he has stored the entire broadcast launch codes, in case anyone needs to be reminded how love and peace feels.
Live Action Mini Series
Broken Saints is the winner of various awards including:
- 2001 Pixie Award Winner: Best Website that Incorporates Motion
- Flash in the Can 2002: People's Choice Award
- Flash Forward 2002: People's Choice Award & Best Cartoon
- Netfestival Brazil 2003: People's Choice Award
- 2003 Audience Award at the Sundance Online Film Festival.
- 2004 Horizon Interactive Awards: Best in Show
- Telefilm Canada Grant Award 2004
- 2005 Annual Rue-Morgue Awards: Most Innovative Concept
- 2005 Canadian New Media Awards: Producer of the Year (Brooke Burgess)