Unique composer duo Rebekka Karijord & Jon Ekstrand create compelling, hybrid score to intimate portrait of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg
The film is now released in several European, UK and Canadian theaters before its US release on Hulu on November 13
‘I Am Greta’, the intimate Hulu documentary by Swedish director Nathan Grossman, tells the story of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg through compelling, never-before-seen-footage. Starting with her one-person school strike for climate action outside the Swedish Parliament, Grossman follows Greta – a shy student with Asperger’s – in her rise to prominence and her galvanizing global impact as she sparks school strikes around the world. The film culminates with the extraordinary wind-powered voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to speak at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City.
After its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival last month, the film is now released in several European and UK theaters before its US release on Hulu on November 13th.
To musically accompany Greta and the children of the Fridays for Future movement on their journey, composers Rebekka Karijord and Jon Ekstrand spent quite a lot of time searching for the right balance when it comes to how much emotional triggers the music should offer: “With the music for “I Am Greta” we aimed to find a sonic counterpoint to the friction between the shy, contemplative inner world of Greta, and the unbounded energy of the natural world and climate change movement. From the start we found it useful to separate the score into three distinct voices: Greta´s Voice, the voice of the natural world, and the voice of the climate change movement.”
Through the sketching process, Rebekka and Jon discovered that when they set more melodic music to the pictures it just did not meld: “It came off as too sentimental in relation to Greta as a person. Too leading, somehow. So we choose to work with repetition and persistent musical patterns, often illustrated through energetic string arpeggios. This we felt helped underline the remarkable persistence and focus Greta has on the climate issue, as well as that of the relentlessness of nature. Then we found a few places throughout the score, where more melodic aspects could be introduced and carry the story through its dramaturgical journey. It allowed the melodic aspects to shine through when they are introduced.”
The synergy between the two composers with very different backgrounds as well as the blend of classic instrumentation and usage of electroacoustic elements led to a unique, compelling score: “The score consists of a string octet, modular synthesisers and a voice instrument built by Rebekka of 25 unique singers sampled in their full range. Our soloist on the soundtrack is the cellist Linnea Olsson, whom has a very specific airy and organic tone. From the first sketch recordings with Linnea it just felt like this was the tone of the soundtrack.”
“Our endless muse in writing this score has been a tremendous respect for Greta and all the children in the Fridays for Future movement. And the important work we have to do together.”
”Rebekka and Jon’s dynamic score to ‘I Am Greta’ is huge and intimate, uplifting and melancholic, and manages to carry the emotional nuance of Greta’s story. The score forms a musical parallel to
Greta’s journey and narrative voice throughout the film. It’s energy, urgency and emotional depth reminds us that the time for climate action is now.” – Nathan Grossman, director of ‘I Am Greta’
Rebekka Karijord is a composer and musician originally from Sandnessjøen, just south of the arctic circle in Northern Norway. Over the course of her career she has composed music for over 30 films, modern dance performances and theatrical pieces, as well as released six solo albums under her own name.
Projects in 2020 include the score to Hulu documentary “I Am Greta” about climate activist Greta Thunberg, HBO doc thriller “Pray, Obey, Kill” and the album “Complete Mountain Almanac”, a collaboration with Bryce and Aaron Dessner (The National) based upon the poems of Jessica Dessner with songs by Rebekka.
Karijord holds a degree from the prestigious Stockholm Royal Dramatic Institute and has an extensive education within fine arts. Over the course of her early career she developed her unique voice through experience as a musician, actor, playwright and composer, working alongside directors including Joachim Trier, Eskil Vogt and Margreth Olin.
Her breadth of experience and skills as a studio technician, songwriter and programmer have allowed her to work on a diverse range of commissioned projects. From film scores to theatre productions for The Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm and The National Opera House in Norway to sound design for The National Museum in Norway. Karijord writes for all kinds of constellations, from orchestras and ensembles to more intimate electro acoustic scores.
With her in-depth experience Karijord has developed a sharply intuitive dramaturgical understanding of what a film needs emotionally, and many of the projects she has chosen to work on have a clear humanistic and political agenda.
About Jon Ekstrand:
Jon Ekstrand is a Stockholm based Swedish film composer and artist. Ekstrand began his career under the mentorship of acclaimed sound designer Owe Svensson, where he sharpened his skills at understanding the power of sound and its dramaturgic importance in helping a story realize its potential. In 1998, whilst attending Stockholm Film School, Ekstrand met Director Daniel Espinosa, in which the two formed a tight creative relationship which continues to this day.
Ekstrand and Espinosa have collaborated on 7 feature films, including the hit “Easy Money” Trilogy as well as Hollywood Studio Films, “Child 44”, “Life” and is currently scoring the Marvel film “Morbius”. Jon has had a rich career within film, having worked the entire spectrum of the sound team, from boom operator, sound recordist, to sound designer and today as accoladed composer. Ekstrand is a self confessed synthesizer addict, and generally starts building his scores around electro acoustic elements. His scores range in genre from more minimal arthouse ambient to epic thriller drama´s, where he has recorded with full orchestra´s at both Air Studio in London, Colombia Studio´s and Sony Studio´s in Los Angeles. To date Ekstrand has scored over 30 films and TV series, has been nominated for Three Swedish Gullbagge Awards, and in January of 2020 was awarded The Danish Film Institutes Robert Award, for his 2019 score to the film Queen of Hearts.
Ekstra is actively engaged in the current diversity dilemma within the film industry and is part of a composers mentorship program arranged through the Swedish collecting society STIM.
‘I Am Greta’ OST Credits:
Original MUSIC BY: Rebekka Karijord and Jon Ekstrand Music Orchestrated and Conducted By: Rebekka Karijord & Jon Ekstrand Music Mixed By: Jason Larocca, at LaRoccafella center Additional Soundtrack Mixing: Jacob Snavely & Anders af Klintberg Soundtrack Mastering: Anders af Klintberg Composer assistant & additional string arranging: Kirsten Evans
Score Performed by: