Sound! Soundtrack Film Festival chimes in from Letterkenny

The idea behind the Sound! Soundtrack Film Festival is music to our ears. The Donegal festival serves as a love letter to the art of music and sound in film, with a selection of films curated for their soundtracks. Sound! is presented by Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny in partnership with An Grianán Theatre, and the 2024 edition of the festival will be happening next month from May 2nd – 5th.

Sounders Derek O’Connor (RTÉ), Stephen McCauley (BBC) and Jeremy Howard (RCC) have curated the programme for this year’s Sound!, presented by Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny in association with An Grianán Theatre.

Modern Irish films, classic cinema, talks and workshops will all be seen at the RCC. Composers, sound designers, instrument builders will be sharing their crafts. Among the selection is Kathleen Harris’ ode to natural sounds Birdsong, which follows Irish ornithologist Seán Ronayne’s mission to record the call of every bird species in Ireland. This screening will be introduced by NatureNorthWest’s own lead nature guide, Aengus Kennedy, who will introduce participants to the joys of ornithology and explore the art of listening to birdsong. After the movie, a question and answer session will be delivered by Aengus and renowned locally-based bird artist Robert Vaughan of Robert Vaughan Illustrations. Also on the bill is Paul Duane’s All You Need Is Death, the folk horror featuring a soundtrack by Ian Lynch of trad foursome Lankum. Lynch and Duane will be up in Letterkenny for a workshop discussing the score and the challenges of composing for film. 

The folk theme continues as the pair team up with author Sinéad Gleeson ahead of her fiction debut, Hagstone to discuss folk horror, collaborations, the intersections between literature, music, movies and art, and the spaces in-between.

Live musicians will provide accompaniment to silent films The Passion of Joan of Arc and Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid. Instrument inventor Ed Devane will be making a variety of new motor-controlled instruments that use reeds, whistles, percussion, in a fascinating session to be followed by a short improvised audiovisual performance by Ed and the workshop participants, while filmmaker, actor, and YouTuber John D Ruddy will delve into the sound design of Star Wars, in a workshop that will also include an interactive recording session where attendees can add their own soundscape to some legendary scenes from the Star Wars saga.

Modern and classic music come together to celebrate cinema. The Strand Cinema is acclaimed DJ and producer Phil Kieran’s breathtakingly ambitious live fusion of electronic music with classical orchestration and projected film – a love letter to the legendary Belfast movie palace, and a show to remember. 

Accompanied by members of the Ulster Orchestra, the music comes from Kieran’s The Strand Cinema album, recorded in tribute to the iconic art deco cinema building, The Strand, where Phil’s recording studio is based. Artists from across the worlds of film, animation, architecture, computer science and dance have created a dazzling visual accompaniment, exploring the balance between nature and technology.

With these and great films like The Boy and the Heron and Stop Making Sense set to screen, it promises to be a great festival. Closing it all out will be DJ Dano alongside the Shindig House Band, performing a live set music and visuals, warped interpretations of hip-hop and dance classics, combined with a selection of choice tracks from cult classic movies.

Check out the full programme for the festival below.

Ryuichi Sakamoto | Opus – Thu May 2, 7:30 pm

The Passion of Joan of Arc with Live Musical Accompaniment – Fri May 3, 9:00 pm

Birdsong – Sat May 4, 1:00 pm

Workshop: Instrument Building with Ed Devane – Sat May 4, 2:00 pm

Workshop: Sounds Like Star Wars – The Sound Design of a Galaxy Far, Far Away – Sat May 4, 2:30 pm

Matinee: The Boy and the Heron – Sat May 4, 4:00 pm

Workshop: Composing for Film with Ian Lynch – Sat May 4, 5:00 pm

Evening Screening: All You Need Is Death – Sat May 4, 7:00 pm

Late Night Screening: Stop Making Sense – Sat May 4, 10:00 pm

The Sunday Gathering: with Sinéad Gleeson: Hagstone and the Sounds of Folk Horror – Sun May 5, 1:00 pm

The Kid with Live Musical Accompaniment from Gemma Doherty (Saint Sister) – Sun May 5, 4:00 pm

The Strand Cinema: Phil Kieran and the Ulster Orchestra – Sun May 5, 8:00 pm

Closing Party: Shindig House Band’s Movie Madness and Súil Amháin – Sun May 5, 10:00 pm

Tickets for the various events on the programme for the Sound! Sountrack Film Festival are on sale now starting from just €7 (plus €1 per ticket booking fee).

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