The Black Eagle of Harlem
Kong Studio release their sixth ‘Long Story Short’, telling the story of masterful man-of-action, aviator, and committed enemy of emancipation Hubert Fauntleroy Julian.
Daring glimpses into Julian’s cinematic life include crashing Haile Selassie’s favourite plane, and being ejected from Ethiopia. Fighting fascists as a volunteer during the second world war, and even challenging Nazi Luftwaffe General Hermann Göring to an air-duel (Göring failed to respond).
Julian’s most memorable stunt occurred in 1923, when he parachuted over Harlem, wearing a crimson jumpsuit while playing “Runnin’ Wild” on a saxophone. This was the catalyst for Julian to be dubbed “The Black Eagle of Harlem”.
Kong Studio’s ‘Long Story Short’ series is about showing that truth can be stranger than fiction, all in a minute.
Describing this gargantuan life in a Lilliputian timeframe was regular Kong collaborator Elroy Simmons. Elroy, a true classical artist and animator, took on the task using a beautiful pencil aesthetic, and limited colour palette. The result is a stunning film that hints at the traditional hand drawn line tests from animation yesteryear. The colour backgrounds with a hint of texture add a suggestion of the art deco posters of the 1920s and 30s.
Kong Co-founder Bill Elliott said –
“Elroy is a regular Kong collaborator and friend, and we are always blown away by his stunning work. He is a true artist. We had desperately wanted him to make a film with us, and when we offered up a smorgasbord of Long Story Short possibilities (or indeed, his own), the story of Hubert Fauntleroy Julian resonated with him. I still can’t get over how beautiful his drawings are. I’m both thrilled at the result and very, very jealous.”
Animation Director Elroy Simmons said –
” I was extremely happy to be asked to work on an episode of Long Story Short. I’d not heard of Hubert Fauntleroy Julian before being approached, so researching his life and exploits was both fascinating and pretty shocking. As a UPA lover, I’m a big fan ‘transparent drawings’ on block colours, so it was fulfilling to mix aspects of that with more human, less cartoony acting, to try and document Julian’s unique life.”
Fauntleroy Julian, AKA ‘The Black Eagle of Harlem’, is a true example of a life lived to the full, and a story disappointingly absent in popular culture. Thankfully, Elroy Simmons and Kong Studio are here to tell his tale in one minute!
A Kong Studio production
Written, animated & designed by Elroy Simmons
Compositing by Tomas Eisenburg
Voiceover by Kenneth Toles
Sound Design by Josh Elliott
Produced by Emma Burch