From Academy Award® winner Barry Jenkins and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Colson Whitehead, “The Underground Railroad” is a new series that chronicles Cora Randall’s desperate bid for freedom in the Antebellum South. After escaping a Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad beneath the Southern soil.

ILM contributed 122 shots to the series spanning 7 episodes including some of the most emotionally charged sequences in the series. The work was handled by ILM’s Vancouver team under the supervision of Ivan Busquets and Jeff White who collaborated with the production’s visual effects supervisor, Dottie Starling. The work included environments ranging from a CG recreation of the Chicago Train Hub, a sprawling network of underground tunnels and train tracks, and the fire-stricken plains of Tennessee. Among the challenges was also a tremendous amount of FX simulations of smoke, ash, floating particulates, and highly detailed fire simulations.

The effects work was painstakingly art directed to add subtle nuances to realize Barry Jenkins’ vision and contribute to the emotional significance of each scene in this incredibly poignant story.

Barry Jenkins
Visual Effects Supervisor
Dottie Starling
ILM Visual Effects Supervisor
Ivan Busquets
Jeff White
ILM Visual Effects Producer
Alun Cummins
ILM Executive Visual Effects Producer
Louise Hussey
Adele Jones-Venables