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’