A headshot of Michael Burton.

Michael Burton
Animator, Co-Director, Co-Producer

Michael Burton is an award-winning artist, animator, and film producer whose work recovers the stories of people with extraordinary pasts. He most recently completed animations for a PBS documentary about a Sioux family whose patriarchs fought in WWI and Vietnam, toured with Buffalo Bill, and survived the Fort Robinson Massacre of 1879. The project was funded by ITVS, NET Television, and Vision Maker Media. Burton has screened his animations at the Denver Art Museum, RISD Art Museum, Joslyn Art Museum, the Sheldon Art Museum, and at the Anchorage International Film Festival. Burton was selected as best-in-show at the 61st Sioux City Art Center annual exhibition.

A headshot of Kwakiutl L. Dreher.

Kwakiutl L. Dreher
Screenwriter, Co-Director, Co-Producer, Actor

Kwakiutl L. Dreher is a screenwriter, actor, playwright, and author. A native of South Carolina, she writes about African American literature, film, visual, and popular culture. She is the author of Dancing on the White Page: Black Women Entertainers Writing Autobiography (SUNY Press) and numerous articles and essays. Dreher plays Nan in Anna and has also played Mamie Till in Anne & Emmett, Mrs. Harriet Gottlieb in Dead Man's Cellphone, and Louise in the film The Eyes of Isabelle. Her one-woman show, In A Smoke-Filled Room, Color Matters, was a playlab selection at the Great Plains Theater Festival in 2013 after its theatrical debut at The Haymarket Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska. A storyteller at heart, she has written and recorded stories for public radio. Dreher is currently at work on a murder mystery set in her hometown, Columbia, South Carolina.

A headshot of William G. Thomas III.

William G. Thomas III
Story, Co-Producer

William G. Thomas III is an award-winning historian, author, and film producer. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, he writes about American history, law, slavery, and the Civil War. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Lincoln Prize Finalist. Thomas's new book is A Question of Freedom: The Families Who Challenged Slavery from the Nation's Founding to the Civil War (Yale University Press, 2020) about enslaved families in Maryland who sued for their freedom in the decades after the American Revolution. A digital media historian, Thomas was co-editor of the acclaimed digital project, The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War. He has published essays in the American Historical Review, Civil War History, The Journal of Historical Geography, Educause Review, Inside Higher Education, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

Score By

  • Khris Royal


  • Margarette Joyner (Anna)
  • Foree Shalom (Edward)
  • Rosario Hadley (Young Anna)
  • Kwakiutl Dreher (Nan)

Animation By

  • Michael Burton/Colorkey Media

Background Paintings

  • Brian Andrew Coate

Post Production

  • Michael Burton
  • Rachel Seropian
  • Sarah Thomas

Rotoscope Animators

  • Alejandro Benavante
  • Imani Brown
  • Brian Coate
  • Kasey Ma
  • Ryan Niemeyer
  • Thalia Rodgers
  • Skyler Simpson
  • Madison Svendgard
  • Sarah Thomas

Motion Tracking

  • Alejandro Benavante
  • Sarah Thomas

Motion Graphics

  • Rachel Seropian

Sound Design

  • Lance Warren, Field Studio

Material Culture Research

  • Kalari Flotree

Material Culture Consultation

  • Claire Nicholas
  • Wendy Weiss

Costume Design

  • Katherine Rodriguez Hernandez
  • Nichole Rudolph

Live Action Filming

  • Hannah Ayers, Field Studio
  • Lance Warren, Field Studio

Glidecam Operator

  • David Muessig

Historical Research and Website Development

  • Kaci Nash

Funding and Support

Funding Provided By

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Office of Research & Economic Development

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Support From

  • Department of History
  • Department of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Education and Human Sciences
  • Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts

Hatchfund Contributors

  • David Bogus
  • Margaret Bohls
  • Donald & Patricia Burton
  • Donald Burton
  • Nelda Canada
  • David Clark
  • Michelle Day
  • Anita Ducey
  • Mary Eisenhart
  • Jennifer Ghormley
  • Bill Graham
  • Crystal Herndon
  • Lily Hershey
  • John Ison
  • Michael F. James
  • Anneice Jones
  • Rita Kean
  • Margaret Konkel
  • Shelley Kuhn
  • Vincient Martin
  • Renee Matos
  • Yvonne Mebane
  • Trevor Muñoz
  • Erika Navarrete
  • Emily Newman
  • Charles O'Connor
  • Stacy & Walker Pickering
  • Miriam Posner
  • Zelice Brown Roache
  • Paul & Mary Ruehrmund
  • Rosanne & Steven Samuelson
  • Joseph Scheinfeldt
  • Coralee Scritsmier
  • Heather Thomas
  • Ramesh Venkataswami
  • Marissa Vigneault
  • Laurie Vigneault
  • Lisa Warren
  • Elaine Westbrooks
  • Victoria White
  • Karen Williams