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    Here's How They Made The Stunning "Anne With An E" Opening Credits

    Here are all the beautiful details you might have missed.

    If you're watching Anne With an E on Netflix — based on L.M. Montgomery's beloved book, Anne of Green Gables — you've probably noticed the stunning main title sequence.


    The sequence is based on eight custom-made paintings by artist Brad Kunkle, and created by Imaginary Forces, the design-based production studio behind the title sequences for Stranger Things, Jessica Jones, and Mad Men (among many others).

    Get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the process below:

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    BuzzFeed News spoke to Alan Williams, creative director at Imaginary Forces, Aleen Kim, head of production at Imaginary Forces, and Brad Kunkle about the hidden meaning behind the gorgeous opening, and all the details you might have missed.


    Kunkle's eight paintings are all composed of oil on linen or wood, and it took him around three weeks to complete all of them.

    Courtesy of Brad Kunkle

    The three he painted of actor Amybeth McNulty, who plays Anne in the series, were based on reference photos taken on-set while the show filmed in Canada.

    Courtesy of Imaginary Forces

    McNulty was in full makeup and glorious, puffy-sleeved costume for the photos.

    To create the sequence itself, Williams and his team took Kunkle's paintings and projected them onto 3D digital models — being careful not to change the core look of the original work.

    Courtesy of Imaginary Forces

    The sequence moves through every season, starting in winter and ending in fall.


    Williams wanted the seasonal transition to signify Anne's emotional journey. Winter is meant to symbolize her "dismal, dark past in the asylum, and different horrible and abusive homes," into the "more beautiful seasons, representing when she’s in Green Gables [with] Matthew and Marilla."

    In the beginning winter scenes, there's an upside down sparrow. By the final fall scenes, the sparrow is right-side up. This, too, is a detail meant to symbolize Anne's journey.


    If you look closely, you can see that none of the sparrows have eyes. Kunkle uses sparrows in his work frequently, and always paints them without eyes.


    "Birds have this sixth sense to know where to fly. I love that symbol; these animals on the planet have a sixth sense, [they] know where to go on their path," he said. "I thought that metaphor was very appropriate for Anne, too. Her path is very different from everyone else’s."

    The quotes you see scratched into the tree bark are quotes from Montgomery's book, hand-picked by show-runners Moira Walley-Beckett and Miranda de Pencier.


    The full quotes are:

    My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.

    Will you swear to be my friend forever and ever?

    But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven't you?

    It would be lovely to sleep in a wild cherry-tree all white with bloom in the moonshine.

    Words carved into wood, a common visual in Kunkle's work, is meant to represent the growth of love over time.


    "I grew up hiking a lot on the Appalachian trail, and if you grew up near the woods you’ve seen these carvings in trees," Kunkle said, "Typically, it’s someone's initial with their high school love and a heart around it. The symbolism behind it is that your love will grow with the tree, so I’m enamored with that concept."

    The central animals in the intro — the fox, owl, and hummingbird — are all animals native to Prince Edward Island (the setting of the show), and embody the different parts of Anne's personality.


    The fox, alone in the beginning and similar in color to Anne's famous red hair, symbolizes the times in Anne's life when she has no one but herself. The owl, talons raised, showcases her fierceness. The hummingbird, suggested by Moira Walley-Beckett, is included as a "harbinger of joy" — like Anne is to Green Gables.

    The imagery of Anne pinky-swearing with herself shows, according to Williams, "her connection with and acceptance of" the two very different sides of herself.


    "On one side her hair is a little more tightly braided, and on the other side the braids are a little bit looser and wilder. It speaks to the two natures of Anne," he said. It's also a reference to Anne naming her reflection Katie, her Window Friend, and talking to her like a friend when she didn't have any friends at the asylum.

    At the end of the process, Kunkle gave Williams one of the paintings as a gift, plans to keep some for himself, and will make one available for collectors to purchase.


    "I remember even telling my wife," Williams laughed, "I would absolutely die if I had one of these paintings in my house. It’s hanging up in my house and brings me so much joy."