New Markets for Animators: Crime Re-enactment Films

Here’s a new and potentially lucrative market for animators: recreating alleged crimes with computer animation. Yes, primitive CG is often used in trials to describe locations and recreate crime scenes, but attorney Dan Gilleon is expanding the technique to create character animation that depicts physically accurate representations of the people involved in the incident and their interactions with each other.

Last week Gilleon released a computer animated film in a civil sexual harassment lawsuit filed against disgraced former San Diego mayor and convicted creep, Bob Filner. The video documents Filner’s allegedly crude behavior toward the accuser. Gilleon isn’t done yet either. “For this initial release, we downplayed some of the more severe acts by Filner, such as the initial handlock and the later headlock that included his elbow rubbing her breasts,” the attorney told a local San Diego TV station. “The story and animation will be developed as depositions occur, such as when the two park rangers depicted in the animation testify.”

Gilleon intends to introduce the computer-animated film as evidence in the lawsuit. While that plan seems unlikely to be allowed by the courts, the film has already served its purpose as a tactic to draw attention to the case. In the coming years, this novel use of animation could proliferate in our increasingly animated society, and it’s both tempting and troubling to think how a professional-quality animated film that strikes the right emotive notes might decisively alter the outcome of a future lawsuit.