- Film & TV
- 21 Dec 20
The Celtic animation is brought to life with a pounding score by Kíla and Bruno Coulais. Acclaimed Norwegian artist Aurora recorded a new version of her single ‘Running With The Wolves’ for the film.
New Irish animated flick Wolfwalkers has generated major star power in recent times, picking up the Best Animated Feature Award at three of the top US Film Critics Circle Awards - New York, Boston and Los Angeles - over the weekend.
Kilkenny's Cartoon Saloon's latest film is also nominated in the same category for the Chicago Film Critics Circle Awards, the winner of which will be announced tonight (December 21st).
The third animated feature from two-time Academy Award-nominee Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea) and Ross Stewart also nabbed the Best Irish Film Award from the Dublin Film Critics Circle on Friday.
Wolfwalkers follows Robyn Goodfellowe (English actress Honor Kneasfy), a young apprentice hunter who journeys to Ireland with her father in a time of superstition and magic to wipe out the last wolf pack. Her parent also happens to work for Oliver Cromwell - one of the most vilified characters in Irish history. While exploring the forbidden lands outside the city walls, she befriends a free-spirited girl, Mebh (Irish newcomer Eva Whittaker), a member of a mysterious tribe rumoured to have the ability to transform into wolves by night.
World music band Kíla also described the immersive experience of creating the sound for Wolfwalkers.
"This is our third outing with Bruno Coulais and Cartoon Saloon and it has become a hooking up with old friends to be honest," Kíla tell Hot Press. "We all get sent animatics of the film, (animated storyboards) and it's a little bit like a race as to who gets the juicy parts!"
"We all try out ideas to grab the atmosphere of a scene and throw them back to Cartoon Saloon/ Bruno and see which shit sticks to the wall," Kíla add.
"We have to accept that much wont make it but that's part of the process. Some of us met with Bruno and the Salooners in Kilkenny and discussed direction and feel. At this stage Bruno has a sketch of the score in demo form and we have our selection of pieces and it's here where we feel out what works best. Bruno is in charge of the overall score that will eventually get played by orchestra. After, some of us flew out to Bruno in Paris to meet about direction then later in the year we all went to a large studio, where we record alongside the score with percussion and whatever else suits."
Often defined as contemporary Irish World music, Kíla fuse the effects of their own melodies and Irish (Gaeilge) lyrics, Irish folk instruments such as whistles, fiddles, Uilleann pipes, bones and bodhrán with djembe, congas, drums, mandolins, brass and acoustic/electric/ bass guitars.
Kíla's eight members come from the differing musical backgrounds of traditional, classical and rock. With a myriad of members, the band's collaboration with the Cartoon Saloon team and Bruno Coulais must have entailed a lot of workers in the room.
"There's many cooks involved and sometimes a piece that you've worked on doesn't get used but again that's part of the process!" the band continue.
"It's an honour and pleasure to work and share with these incredibly talented people and hopefully we look forward to the next one! add We have to accept that much wont make it but that's part of the process. Some of us met with Bruno and the Salooners in Kilkenny and discussed direction and feel. At this stage Bruno has a sketch of the score in demo form and we have our selection of pieces and it's here where we feel out what works best. (Bruno is in charge of the overall score that will eventually get played by orchestra). After, some of us flew out to Bruno in Paris to meet about direction then later in the year we all went to a large studio, where we record alongside the score with percussion and whatever else suits."
"Working with the best brings out the best in yourself," Kíla mention. "It's great for us to be involved with these professionals - it brings up our game."
Hot Press also spoke to Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart earlier this month about their collaboration with Norwegian artist Aurora for the soundtrack alongside Bruno Coulais and Kíla.
“We reached out to her in the very early days,” Tomm recalled. “We thought that ‘Running With The Wolves’ would be interesting to adapt for the film, but we knew the original recording of it was a bit too pop, and too electronic. We wanted it to fit in with the soundscape, and she was up for that. So she worked with Kíla and Bruno Coulais to adapt her song, to bring in the orchestra and the Irish traditional instruments. She even tweaked some of the words, so it would fit the movie more.”
“We’re big fans,” he beams. “She’s away with the fairies! There’s a good chance that she herself is a fairy, too.”
Read the full Hot Press interview with Lucy O'Toole here.
With the lifting of Level 5 restrictions, you can watch Wolfwalkers in Irish cinemas now, following on from its global premiere on Apple TV+ on December 11 – as Cartoon Saloon once again put Ireland’s vibrant animation industry on the map.
Listen to the full soundtrack below: