Speaking about his work on “Leaving Family Behind”, Helmersson said, “When I wrote the music, I tried to get close to Amid's feelings when he tells his story. Listening to his voice, you can sense a deep agony and the heavy burden he has carried with him all these years, as well as his relief letting it all out. It is like waves, emotional waves. I liked to use this analogy for my compositions.” Helmersson added, “The music is subtle and detailed with a lot of textures. It moves subtly between emotional sincerity and the big story about being human, life, and the wheel of fortune.”
In FLEE, the Grand Jury Prize winner at this year’s Sundance Festival, filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen tells a poignant story of belonging and the search for identity. Amin’s life has been defined by his past and a secret he’s kept for over 20 years. Forced to leave his home country of Afghanistan as a young child with his mother and siblings, Amin now grapples with how his past will affect his future in Denmark and the life he is building with his soon-to-be husband. Told brilliantly through the use of animation to protect his identity, Amin looks back over his life, opening up for the first time about his past, his trauma, the truth about his family, and his acceptance of his own sexuality.
Executive Produced by award-winning artist Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), the film is written and directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen and produced by Final Cut for Real with distribution through NEON and Participant. Flee has already won numerous awards including most recently a leading seven Cinema Eye Honors 2021 nominations including Outstanding Original Score for Uno Helmersson. Other major honors include Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema - Documentary, Official Selection for Cannes Film Festival, and Best Feature and Best Original Score at Annecy International Animated Film Festival as well as many other accolades. The film was also selected as the Danish entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards. NEON and Participant will release FLEE in theaters beginning December 3rd.
“Working with the score on Flee, I felt it was important to balance the animated material with an organic, emotionally driven and minimalistic score. The combination of woodwinds, strings, voices, old folk instruments such as key harp, together with baroque instruments like Viola da Gamba, as well as electronic soundscapes and synthesizers melded together into what became the score for Flee.
On the track “Fleeing Kabul”, you can hear the amazing violin performance by Mari Samuelsen (courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon). Mari is a fantastic musician and we have been collaborating for some years now and it is a great pleasure to have her featuring on this track which is a re-arrangement of “In Memoriam” - one of the feature songs on my album ‘First’ released in April 2021.
A good example of the score is the intro - it starts with clusters of voices, violin, cello and string chords, building intensity and emotional waves as well as creating the feeling of uncertainty. This, to emphasize the act of fleeing, and being in the hands of the human smugglers, not knowing the their motives.”
Uno Helmersson is an award-winning Swedish composer and multi-instrumentalist whose credits include the worldwide hit TV series The Bridge, which was broadcast in more than 100 territories and won him a Golden FIPA Award.
Awarded and nominated for his music, with over 70 composer credits on IMDB and more than 800 registered compositions on his rights society, he is among the top composers for film in the northern part of Europe.
Uno’s latest work includes the Sundance 2021 animated documentary Flee, the TV-series 22. Juli, the BBC documentary Riots, the awarded On The Presidents Orders, and the awarded The Painter and the Thief, as well as the nominated film Nelly Rapp – The Monster Agent which was nominated in Sweden for Best Original Score.
Other major credits include the Emmy-winning Armadillo documentary series following a group of Danish soldiers for 6 months in Afghanistan; Magnus about the life of Norway’s “Mozart of Chess” and directed by Benjamin Ree for Norway’s Moskus Film; Susanne Bier’s A Second Chance, additional score; Mikkei Norgaard’s The Absent One; and Zentropa’s Department Q film series.
A graduate of the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Uno will be releasing five albums this year, some of which he’s been honing for the last twelve months.
Uno was born and raised in Västerbotten, in the rural parts of northern Sweden. When he was a small child, his parents took note of his talent for music and made him take organ classes in the nearest town. As a teenager, having moved to a larger town, he played in bands and came to realise that he wanted to pursue music as his profession. He studied music in upper secondary school and continued with a number of preparatory courses before being accepted into Royal College of Music in Stockholm in the fall of 2002.
During his college years, he came into contact with Johan Söderqvist, one of the most prominent composers of film music in the Nordics. After graduating, Uno started working as Söderqvist’s assistant on films like Let the Right One In, Kon-Tiki, and Limbo. Their cooperation matured into a partnership that has resulted in acclaimed productions like the TV series The Bridge and Department Q I & II.
Uno got his own international breakthrough with his music for the Danish documentary Armadillo in 2010. Since then he has been frequently engaged to compose music for TV and cinema all around the world.
Jeremy [Six Strings]