Allison design directed the film with studio, Blue Spill, working closely with director Alex Gibney and the teams at Passion Pictures and Jigsaw Productions (NY) on Citizen K, which explores the life of Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

We came on board early during the NY based edit, and worked at finding a cohesive aesthetic for various graphical elements across the film. These included presentation credits, newspaper sequences, archival video devices, writing on screen, police documents and character introduction cards. Alex was interested in a graphical approach which was relatively conceptual, and yet also grounded with an ‘investigative’ feel.

We explored embedding our newspapers in a microfiche setting, and also giving it colour to embed within the other graphical devices. We could then carry this look across to other graphical sequences such as the police dossier, where we created a fictitious online filing system to display evidence. Alex was also seeking a creative solution to displaying archive within certain moments of the film, and we discussed using Russian tv sets to encase our archive and so this could sit comfortably within the film.

We sourced authentic Russian televisions and composited these into environments which were either as source or unique to the scene. It was important these did not read as overly composited shots, so we took particular care in allowing the archive to be resonant during the sequence and the additional elements to be the after thought.

We delivered a vast array of sequences for the film and very much enjoyed working with Alex and the team. Allison then joined the team and Mikhail at the film’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival which was wonderful to experience with the audience, who gave the film (and Mikhail!) a standing ovation.

Director: Alex Gibney

Producers: John Battsek, George Chignell, Erin Edeiken, Alex Gibney, P.J. van Sandwijk

Studio: Blue Spill

Design Director: Allison Brownmoore

Flame Artist: Anthony Brownmoore

Designers: Joe Nowacki, Chris Caswell