Private Project

Queens of Mystery

Using real pop-up paper folds filmed in 3D and enhanced with VFX, these titles introduce viewers to the bucolic setting for 'Queens of Mystery' - a tongue-in-cheek mystery series about three crime writer sisters helping their cop niece solve murders - created by Julian Unthank and produced by Sly Fox Productions for Acorn TV.

Queens of Mystery seeks to refresh and revive a classic murder mystery format in a contemporary and playful way, a sentiment echoed in the title sequence which evokes the shows many literary twists, making the audience feel like they're entering a fairytale and capturing the essence of the surreal world of ‘Queens of Mystery’.

  • Ian Emes
    The Invisible Man, The Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall - Live in Berlin, The Munster's Scary Little Christmas, The Yob
  • David Hawcock
    Pop up book designer
    Paddington 2, Mary Poppins Returns
  • Garry Walton
  • Mark Ford
    Titles Compositor
  • Linda James
    Submarine, Hunger, The Edge of Love, Mr Nice
  • Tim Vaughan
    Strike Back, The Last Detective
  • Paul Englishby
    Luther, Witness for the Prosecution, The Rise and Fall
  • Project Type:
    Television, Other
  • Genres:
    Mystery, Crime, Drama, Design, Titles
  • Runtime:
    1 minute
  • Completion Date:
    March 29, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    12,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
  • Acorn TV, ZDFE
    Country: Worldwide
Director Biography - Ian Emes

Ian Emes is a British film director, animator and innovator of film techniques, famous for his work with Pink Floyd. His experimental short ‘French Windows’ (1973) is the first animated film to be set to Pink Floyd music and the first film to be synchronised to one of their tracks.

Upon meeting Emes, Pink Floyd found a new way to expand their concert experience, by projecting synchronised animation onto a circular screen, dubbed ‘Mr. Screen’. Working with Emes marked a departure for the band, who had previously only used random lighting effects during their performances. When they commissioned him to animate ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, Emes created the world-famous ‘Time’ (1974) sequence, subsequently named ‘The Emes Clocks’.

Following an ecstatic crowd reaction to ‘Time’ at Wembley Arena, the band commissioned Emes to fully visualise ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, but in the three-month period he was given he was only able to deliver sequences for ‘Speak To Me’, (which included animation of the iconic prism) ‘On the Run’ and ‘Us and Them’. ‘The Dark ‘Side of the Moon’ is regarded as ‘one of the greatest albums of all time’ and the Emes animations have been seen by millions across the world.

Emes also acted as advisor on the production of ‘The Wall’. He produced animation tests of marching crosses, his graphic images influencing sequences such as the ‘Marching Hammers’. Emes’ animation had become a founding style for Pink Floyd visuals, evident in Roger Waters’ current concert projections.

Following the success of his musical interpretations, Emes was invited to create works for other musicians, such as ‘Tubular Bells’ (1973) for Mike Oldfield and ‘The Oriental Nightfish’ (1978) for Paul and Linda McCartney, (Palme d’Or Nomination). By the early eighties Emes’ studio had become world-famous for its ground-breaking visuals, Campaign Magazine citing him as ‘Britain’s foremost animator’.

Concurrently Emes began directing live-action short films, namely the iconic ‘The Chauffeur’ (1982) for Duran Duran and his ballroom dancing comedy ‘Goodie-Two-Shoes’ (1983) produced by Jeff Katzenberg, then of Paramount Pictures (Oscar Nomination, British Academy Award). Following completion of his animation for ‘The Box of Delights’ (1985) for the BBC, Emes wrote and directed his feature debut ‘Knights & Emeralds’ (1987), a comedy set in the world of marching brass bands, produced by Sir David Puttnam for Warner Brothers and Goldcrest Films.

In July 1990 Roger Waters asked Emes to direct sequences for ‘The Wall - Live in Berlin’, his first solo concert after splitting from Pink Floyd. The concert was performed to a sell-out crowd of over 350,000 people, to date the biggest concert audience in history.

Emes has directed many films for cinema and TV, amongst them the cult ‘The Yob’ (1988) (‘A defining film of the eighties’) for The Comic Strip, starring Keith Allen, and ‘How to Be Cool’ (1988) starring Roger Daltrey, from the book by Phillip Pullman, ‘The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas’ (1997) produced by John Landis for Universal, ‘The Invisible Man’ for Universal Studios (2000), ‘Sir Gadabout the Worst Knight in the Land’ (2002) and ‘Bookaboo’ (2006) (2 British Academy Awards).

In 2018 Emes’ work was celebrated in the record-breaking ‘Pink Floyd – Their Mortal Remains’ exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Emes has recently completed ‘Queens of Mystery’ produced by Linda James for Sly Fox Productions, and a visualisation of Pink Floyd’s ultimate album ‘The Endless River’.

He has won numerous awards including three BAFTAS and an Oscar Nomination.

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Director Statement

I must admit, as an animator, I was a bit rusty when I started the titles for ‘Queens of Mystery’. But like riding a bicycle, once I was on, I was a bit wobbly at first, then off I went. I wanted to keep things simple. I didn’t want to be overly complex, I wanted that hand-made feel, to keep the charm and the simplicity. It was a new experience working with pop-ups. I discovered that my designs needed to be more precise than expected, at the same time anticipating the unpredictability of the way that paper structures unfold. And yet I wanted a smoothly transitioning feel as we moved through space, a flow. So in order to integrate the pop-ups into a fluid sequence I sketched up a storyboard, which became an animatic, which became a template for the titles. I then invaded the pop-ups with rather clunky, clumsy sliding panels that came in from left and right, top or bottom, as if hand-operated, like Victorian cut-out theatres. And I wanted to capture the essence of the surreal world of ‘Queens of Mystery’, to be magical and a bit spooky and to give it that ‘Alice in Wonderland’ feel.