Ravens (Korparna) by Jens Assur is one of Edisen’s two nominations for this year’s Guldbaggen Awards in the category Best Sound Design for Feature Film. We had a quick word with Sound Supervisor Mattias Eklund about the work:

“I am very proud of the work and I think it turned out really good. It was a challenging and exciting project in many ways. Initially, we wanted the sound design to be as realistic as possible. Jens referenced The White Ribbon by Haneke for the sound design, and I was inspired by No Country for Old Men. Obviously, Ravens is set in a completely different environment, but it still has that wasteland-ish vibe and captures a nature that is beautiful, yet a bit haunted.

However, when we were almost finished with the project, we had second thoughts about the realistic approach to the sound. Ultimately, we ended up moving in quite the opposite direction as originally planned. Even though we had come that far, we were OK starting over with the sound design because of our new inspiration and redefined goals. As a result, there were no limits to the creative process. What happens if you hear a train really loud when you don’t see it, but the same train is almost completely silent when you finally do see it? Or what happens if you take out the most obvious sound, like a big door being shut in the middle of the picture and replace it with a fragile, almost ghost-like wind? While we experimented a lot and had many ideas, just a few of them were used. It was never about trying to come up with something that “sounds cool”, but rather finding a sound that reaches out, grabs your heart and makes you feel the vibe of the film.

To underline the stress and anxiety of the main character, Agne, the sounds that surround the farmhouse he lives in play a major role. The hard, noisy and sometimes painful sounds help the audience understand that Agne can never leave the farm – it is dependent on him and he is dependent on it.

Ravens is based on a book by Thomas Bannerhed. Jens promised Thomas that all of the birds´ songs in the film would be ornithologically correct. In other words, every bird’s song heard throughout the film is accurately represented according to season, location and time of day. Many thanks to bird expert Mikael Kristersson for helping make that vision become a reality.

Prior to this film, we have actually received emails from upset bird enthusiasts (who knew so many existed?) pointing out that the birdsongs in certain films are incorrectly represented. I’m so happy we are able to finally satisfy these people! Surely they’ll be pumped to hear the song of the unusual Eurasian Golden Oriole, which I’m sure they know all about, in this film as well.”