Peter’s music flying high in glorious ‘Two Balloons’

A scene from the animated film, Two Balloons which will be screened at this year's Film Fleadh.
A scene from the animated film, Two Balloons which will be screened at this year's Film Fleadh.

Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell – tribunegroove@gmail.com

The beguiling animated short Two Balloons will be shown at this year’s Galway Film Fleadh. Directed by Mark Smith, the film tells the tale of two explorers who cross paths in the middle of a storm. The idea for Two Balloons came to Mark when he was on a sailing trip to Grenada and the boat approached a funnel cloud. He described the cloud as “daunting and mesmerising to watch” and it inspired the short film.

American composer Peter Broderick, who now lives in Galway, wrote the piano music for Two Balloons. The 31-year-old explains how he and Mark Smith came to work together.

“I think he originally heard my work through a mutual friend of ours,” Peter says. “Over ten years ago, almost 15 years ago now, I played in this band from Portland, Oregon. All the others were quite a bit older than me, and one of those guys was friends with Mark Smith. I believe that’s how he discovered my work, but not until years later when I was doing my own thing.”

Peter came to Mark’s mind when the director wanted something for his animation film in waltz-time and came across More of a Composition, released by the composer and multi-instrumentalist in 2009.  Ensuring that his music suited the film involved revisiting the original, says Peter.

“The piece that he was inspired by is only four minutes long, and the film itself is about nine minutes. We ended up completely rerecording all of the music and rewriting it and adding in little sections here and there to fit more perfectly with the film.

“At a certain point, when the film was close enough to finished, we began in earnest to record the actual score. Because when you record the score, you need to make sure the timing fits exactly. It doesn’t make sense to do too much work before the picture is locked in place.”

Because it uses the painstaking stop-animation process, which works to bring static objects to life on screen, Two Balloons took five years to complete. But Peter is delighted with the completed work.

“I went up to the Foyle Film Festival in Derry where it premiered,” he says. “It was its first public screening, after five years in the making. It’s just amazing to have it done, and out there and doing really well at some of the festivals. It’s just one of those projects that brought a lot of joy to all the people involved. I’m really glad to be part of it.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.