Exclusive Interview with Tomm Moore, Director of Oscar-nominated animated children’s film, Song of the Sea

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The 26th edition of European Union Film Festival (EUFF), Singapore’s longest-running foreign film festival, will be presenting in Singapore with a wide variety of 30 films from 30 countries across Europe. 

Our Parenting World (OPW) team is pleased to be able to interview, Director Tomm Moore, who is the Director and Producer of the film “Song of the Sea”. “Song of the Sea” is an Irish animated fantasy hand-drawn film, in English, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 87th Academy Awards for The Oscars 2015. The Secret of Kells (2009), also by the young and talented Director Tomm, was an Oscar nomination. “Song of the Sea” would be screened in Singapore at the European Union Film Festival on 15 May, Sunday, 2016. 

Image credit:  Andrzej Radka

Director Tomm has graciously shared with us that his parents lived in Singapore for a few years. We are pleased to know that he has been to Singapore a couple of times and he enjoys coming to Singapore, he and his family have many friends here. 

Exclusive Interview with Tomm Moore, Director of Oscar-nominated animated children’s film, Song of the Sea

1. Director Tomm Moore, can you share with us on “Song of the Sea”, what inspired you to direct the film?

I developed the idea when I was on a holiday in west Ireland with my son and wanted to reimagine the folklore of Ireland for the new generation to enjoy.

2. Your films often have a folklore involved. Please do share with us on the message you intend to convey with the Irish folklore in the “Song of the Sea”.

The Irish Folklore is inspired by Selkie stories. These stories tend to focus on people dealing with loss. In “Song of the Sea”, which starts with the family’s healing and dealing with the loss of the mother/wife, the siblings eventually become friends and the father is able to be present for the children after a short separation. Family is the focus of the film and it is intended for the “Song of the Sea” to be a universal story.

3. Congratulations! “Song of the Sea” is one of the few animated films to win several awards. Did you envision that “Song of the Sea” would reach such great heights and please do share with us your thoughts and experiences?

We never know what is going to happen, it is the second time being nominated for The Oscars and it is a wonderful experience! We won many awards for the “Secret of Kells” and was hoping for those who enjoyed our first film to enjoy the “Song of the Sea” as well. We had a fantastic series of awards and festivals for the “Song of the Sea” and I am very happy with the recognition. Although “Song of the Sea” was released in Europe last year, the release of the film has just started in Asia. The release in Japan would be taking place in July and August this year.

4. What lessons/key takeaways can adults and kids take away from the “Song of the Sea”?

I hope both adults and kids would enjoy the film for its story and discover the music and scores, as well as to think about their own folklore and tradition as they might find lessons for their own life. It is also important to keep retelling these stories/lessons for the benefit of the new generation.

5. Moving forward, do you have any plans to create more awareness on your films especially to the Asian market as well?

There is big potential in China using “Song of the Sea” for different merchandises and attraction for kids as well as virtual reality attractions which will create more awareness. In July, I will be making several trips around Japan to give talks in schools and different places to spread the word and for “Song of the Sea” to become more known in Asia. 

6. Do share with us your experience on working with the crew and team members behind “Song of the Sea”.

The art of animation is the art of teamwork. We had a great team and it was not just the artists in the studio but the musicians and the sound designers as well. The musicians brought many ideas that helped to tell the story and it was a collaborative effort with every member being very involved.

7. First, it was “The Secret of Kells”. Next is “Song of the Sea”. Both are highly acclaimed. What would be your next film?

Our next film will be produced by Angelina Jolie, the American actress and the production is based on an international best-selling book, “The Breadwinner” by an award-winning author Deborah Ellis, about a little girl in Afghanistan who pretends to be a boy to earn a living for her family when the Taliban locked up her Dad. It is exciting to work with a known Hollywood talent like Angelina Jolie and to produce a film focusing on women’s rights in that region. It is really interesting, a totally different experience and the film is expected to be released by our studio next year. 

8. What are your thoughts on the 26th European Union Film Festival happening in Singapore?

I am glad that it is happening and it is a great opportunity for the Singapore audience to discover European movies and be exposed to films of different cultures.

9. Finally, any last words that you would like to share with our readers about “Song of the Sea”? 

I hope families will enjoy the film. It is not just for kids but adults as well and hopefully to talk about the film.

Thank you Director Tomm Moore for taking our interview!

Film Synopsis for “Song of the Sea”:

From the creators of the Academy Award®-nominated “The Secret of Kells” comes a breathtakingly gorgeous, hand-drawn masterpiece. Based on the Irish legend of the Selkies, “Song of the Sea” tells the story of the last seal-child, Saoirse, and her brother Ben, who go on an epic journey to save the world of magic and discover the secrets of their past. Pursued by the owl witch, Macha, and a host of ancient and mystical creatures, Saoirse and Ben race against time to awaken Saoirse’s powers and keep the spirit world from disappearing forever. As enthralling for adults as for children young and old, “Song of the Sea” is a wonder of magical storytelling and visual splendor that is destined to become a classics. 

*A selkie is a mythological creature fund in Scottish, Irish and Faroese folklore. It is said to live as a seal in the sea, but can shed its skin to live on land as human. 

“Song of the Sea” is a highly recommended animated film to watch which is appealing to both children and adults, particularly for a unique exposure on appreciating foreign films and to explore this enchanting film further for Singapore’s audience. There is no doubt that lessons can be learnt just by watching this film. Notably, the music is enchanting and appealing to any age. The entire film reflects on the creative talents of Director Tomm Moore and his team. 

“Song of the Sea” has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 87th Academy Awards for The Oscars 2015.



Song Of The Sea

Opening Date: 15 May 2016

Rating: PG

Runtime: 96 mins

Language: English with no subtitles

Genre: Animation

Director: Tomm Moore

Cast: David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson, Lisa Hannigan, Fionnuala Flannagan, Pat Shortt

To find out more and purchase the tickets, please click HERE.


The European Union Film Festival (EUFF), Singapore’s longest-running foreign film festival, will return from 10 to 22 May 2016 at Golden Village Suntec City. Its 26th edition, with the Netherlands as the feature country, presents 30 films from 30 countries across Europe. Tickets are priced at $12. Singapore Film Society members, Golden Village Movie Club members and Ngee Ann Polytechnic Students enjoy $1 off the Festival tickets.

Event Details:

The 26th European Union Film Festival (EUFF)

Date: 10 May to 22 May

Time: Various Timings

Location: Golden Village Suntec City

Tickets: Tickets for public sessions are available at $12. Singapore Film Society members, GV movie club members and Ngee Ann Polytechnic students enjoy $1 off Festival tickets.

Tickets will be available online on the Golden Village website at http://goo.gl/4DeapQ and at all GV counters. 

* Article brought to you by Shobana N, Senior Writer and Our Parenting World (OPW) Team.


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