Sol – an inspiring film about a little boy’s journey through grief – premieres in the UK and Republic of Ireland on the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice, Monday 21 December.
The animated, 28-minute film aims to bring light and comfort to families with young children as the darkest year in modern times draws to a close.
Recognising the need nationwide for such a topical film, multiple TV broadcasters have come together to premiere Sol across seven platforms on the same day.
Commissioned by Celtic-language broadcasters, Sol premieres in Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic, but an hour later the film will air with English subtitles to a national audience.
Featuring a boy called Sol whose world is plunged into darkness when his beloved grandmother dies, the film explores the different aspects of grief (shock, yearning, disorientation and resolution) through the eyes of a child.
But Sol’s message is uplifting. Sent on an urgent quest to find the light that has gone out in the world, Sol’s adventurous journey enables him to realise his love for his grandmother is greater than the pain of his loss.
The film has been created as a vital and relevant resource to help children and families cope with grief and is especially poignant after such a difficult year nationwide.
It is hoped the storyline and characters will help spark conversations amongst teachers, parents and young children about how to manage your feelings after the death of a loved one.
Emmy award-winning Irish actor, Fionnula Flanagan, voices Sol’s grandmother alongside Myra Zepf (author and winner of Ireland’s Children’s Book of the Year prize) voices Sol’s mother. Sol himself is voiced by 12 year old Zana Akkoç. The film’s song has been recorded by Moya Brennan, member of Celtic folk band, Clannad.
Sol was created and produced by Belfast-based children’s TV production company, Paper Owl Films. Creative Director, Grainne McGuinness, comments:
“Now, more than ever, children need strong visual stories to help them deal with unfamiliar emotions and to inspire a way forward full of optimism.”
Sol is a young boy plunged into darkness after the loss of his grandmother whom he adored. He is the reluctant hero of his own story – sent on a quest to bring back the light to a darkening world.
His quest takes him through a vast landscape made from Nonee’s memories – the collected photos and scraps of her photo albums. He has help in this world, guided as he is by Nonee as a little girl in the beginning and finding her at different stages of her life along the way.
At the end of their journey, Sol reaches the Ancient Temple of Light in the East, where his grandmother is waiting for him… he realises he can accept his feelings of grief as his love for her is far greater than the pain from his loss. He accepts that the world was a better place because his grandmother was part of it and that her memory will always be a part of him. Love never goes away.
Sol was commissioned by Celtic broadcasters TG4, S4C and BBC ALBA and distributed by Aardman. It received funding from the government funded Young Audiences Content Fund, which is managed by the BFI and supports the creation of distinct, high-quality content for young audiences, and from Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast Fund and Screen Fund. The Albert calculator and sustainable production certification was used to measure and reduce the production’s carbon footprint.
The BFI’s Head of Young Audiences Fund, Jackie Edwards, said: “’Sol’ is about remembering, with love, those we’ve lost, knowing we’re not alone and encouraging families to talk about their loss. Far too many children and young people are experiencing grief this year, and so we wanted to create a moment to pause and reflect, and for public service broadcasters to come together and co-transmit this special film to as many of this country’s young people as possible to support them to find light in the darkness.”
Richard Williams, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, said; “We are very proud to support this beautiful project from Paper Owl Films via our Irish Language Broadcast Fund and Screen Fund. This is the first time that we and the indigenous broadcasters have partnered to produce an original animation. 2020 has been a year filled with uncertainty and loss for so many, ‘Sol’ is just the type of content we need right now, especially for younger audiences who may be struggling to make sense of it all. We are certain ‘Sol’ will be a real hit with viewers when it airs across the UK and Ireland on the Winter Solstice.”
For more press information, or to request interviews with the cast or Sol’s creators, please contact:
Highlight PR Nicole Worboys firstname.lastname@example.org 01225 444268
Paper Owl Films represents a diverse team of creatives bringing content that matters to audiences all over the world.
Paper Owl Films Ltd. was founded in 2012 by Grainne McGuinness, Stephen Petticrew and Gavin Halpin, and employs a dedicated collective of storytellers, film makers, animators and creators across their animation and live action collective. Paper Owl specialises in producing content for children and grown-ups across international broadcast and digital platforms. Their work is enjoyed all over the world on channels such as CBeebies, RTÉJr., TG4, BBC, CBC, NBC Universal, Netflix and digital platforms.
Managed by the BFI, the Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF) supports the creation of distinctive, high-quality content for audiences up to the age of 18. Up to £57 million over a three year pilot, will support the creation of distinct, high-quality content for children and young audiences to be broadcast on free-to-access, Ofcom regulated television channels and online platforms.
Financed by UK Government as part of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Contestable Fund, the YACF aims to provide new avenues for creators of original content and bring new voices to the market, and back content which entertains, informs and reflects the experiences of young people growing up across the UK today. www.bfi.org.uk/yacf
The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. It is a cultural charity that:
· Curates and presents the greatest international public programme of world cinema for audiences; in cinemas, at festivals and online
· Cares for the BFI National Archive – the most significant film and television archive in the world
· Works with Government and industry to make the UK the most creatively exciting and prosperous place to make film internationally
Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.
Northern Ireland Screen is the government-backed lead agency in Northern Ireland for the film, television and games industries, driving global growth through boosting our economy, celebrating our culture and enhancing our children’s education.
In our strategy, Opening Doors (Phase II), launched in 2018, we have a clear vision to transform the screen industries in Northern Ireland, ensuring that we have the strongest screen industry outside of London in the UK and Ireland within 10 years, supported by vibrant and diverse cultural voices that are recognized and celebrated equally at home and abroad.
This mission, to accelerate the development of a dynamic and sustainable screen industry and culture in Northern Ireland, is supported by intervention in the following areas:
Production and development funding for film, television and digital content;A free information service and production support for filming in Northern Ireland, including locations FAM trips for incoming productions; help with sourcing crews and facilities; studio facilities Titanic Studios and Belfast Harbour Studios, as well as excellent alternative build space;Marketing Northern Ireland as a worldwide production location and promoting its product and talent; Financial assistance for training and skills development; Production funding for Irish Language and Ulster-Scots programming;Investment in film education, heritage and archive, film festivals and cultural cinema.
Northern Ireland Screen is a company limited by guarantee, currently employing 28 people and governed by a Board of thirteen Directors. The Chairwoman is Rotha Johnston and Kenneth Branagh is Honorary President.
Northern Ireland Screen is funded by the Department for the Economy and by the Department for Communities and is delegated by the Arts Council of NI (ACNI) to administer Lottery funding for film in Northern Ireland.
The Irish Language Broadcast Fund (ILBF) promotes the production and broadcast of quality Irish language content for an audience in Northern Ireland and beyond and it helps grow the Irish language production sector in Northern Ireland.
The Fund finances around 60 hours annually of Irish language content. Development and production funding is available for a wide variety of genres; and broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland, TG4 and RTÉ as well as various digital platforms. The ILBF also provides funding for a range of training initiatives for Irish speakers currently working or aspiring to work in the production sector in Northern Ireland.
The Irish Language Broadcast Fund is funded by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) via the British Film Institute (BFI).
S4C is a Welsh language Public Service Media. It’s the only Welsh language television service in the world!
There is a very wide range of programmes on S4C including news, drama, documentaries, music, entertainment and children programmes. S4C also has its own player – S4C Clic, which includes box sets and gives viewers the opportunity to watch content as and when they choose.
Independent production companies produce most of the programmes. The BBC also produce around 520 hours a year for the channel.
Viewers can enjoy a large number of programmes with English subtitles and can also choose an English language sound track for many of our programmes.
TG4 is the Irish language television channel and is an independent statutory entity (Teilifís na Gaeilge). The channel has been on-air since 1996.
TG4 is a public service broadcaster. TG4 is a free-to-air channel, available across all viewing platforms, with a strong viewer base throughout the island of Ireland.
TG4 is the 6th most popular channel in Ireland with an average share of 2%. An average of 650,000 viewers a day watch TG4 in the Republic of Ireland. This daily figures exceeds 1 million people on major viewing days like Christmas Day and St. Patrick’s Day.
TG4 invests over €20m annually in original Irish programming from the independent production sector in Ireland.
BBC ALBA provides Scottish Gaelic media content across a range of platforms including linear, iPlayer and online.
BBC ALBA offers a wide range of programming including a dedicated children’s schedule each weeknight from 5pm until 7pm through it’s CBeebies ALBA and CBBC ALBA brands.