28-minute short from Belfast studio Paper Owl aims to ‘inspire a way forward full of optimism’ after a difficult year for families all over the country
Animated TG4 film ‘Sol’ to help children processing grief and unfamiliar feelings
Sol, voiced by Zana Akkoc, negotiates new and strange emotions after his grandmother passes in a specially-commissioned short
A little boy’s world is plunged into darkness when his grandmother passes, and suddenly, he’s confronted with new and strange emotions: shock, yearning, disorientation, and resolution.
The stages of grief present distinct obstacles for young Sol, the titular protagonist of a new short broadcasting next Monday on TG4 – on the evening of the Winter Solstice, the darkest night of the year.
Sol’s quest to restore the light that’s gone out in his world brings with it an uplifting message, aiming to bring light and comfort to families with young children as a difficult year for everyone finally wends its way to a close.
And much as Sol’s odyssey brings him to realise his love for his grandmother is greater than the pain of his loss, so too does the film intend to lend children, families and educators some space to discuss coping with grief, loss and change.
Emmy award-winning Irish actor, Fionnula Flanagan voices Sol’s grandmother with award-winning author Myra Zepf voicing Sol’s mother. Sol himself is voiced by 12-year-old Zana Akkoç, while the film’s song has been recorded by Clannad’s Moya Brennan.
Gráinne McGuinness, creative director of Belfast-based animators and producers Paper Owl, 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.”
Siobhán Ní Bhrádaigh, Commissioning Editor of Young Peoples’ for TG4 says: “Sol is an original animated special that addresses the most important topic of sadness and loss in a warm and uplifting way.”
The special airs as Gaeilge ar TG4 at 6.30 on Monday night, while at the same time, its Welsh-language edition premieres on S4C, and a Scots-Gaelic dub also airs on BBC Alba in Scotland.
The collaboration continued up the chain, with British Film Institute’s Young Audiences Content Fund and Northern Ireland Screen’s Irish Language Broadcast and Screen Funds providing backing, and UK animation powerhouse Aardman providing distribution.
“It may be a programme about coming to terms with grief and with loss,”, says Ní Bhrádaigh, but ‘Sol’ has proven to be a coming together of funders, broadcasters and producer to create something great with an all-important message.”