The trailer has been released for Cashell Horgan’s animated short film Lady Isobel and the Elf Knight made under the Frameworks scheme co-funded by Fís Éireann / Screen Ireland and RTÉ.

Based on the ballad of the same, the story centres around a serial Killer, an Elf Knight on a quest to murder maidens looking for romance, however in this dark tale it is Lady Isobel who comes to her own rescue and to avenge her ‘sisters’.

The ballad was adapted and composed by Michael Edwards (The Tomb, The Clockmakers Dream) and stars the vocal talents of Skye Edwards of Morcheeba and Rob Spragg aka Larry Love of  Alabama3.

What attracted me was not just the haunting ballad with it’s dark fantastical elements but the complete destruction of the trope ‘knight comes to the rescue of a damsel in distress’ in this ballad it is the damsel that comes to her own defence.  For something written over 300 years ago with ancient Indo-European origins it’s pretty relevant today and that’s the power of a great ballad and story.  

And with great singers like Skye Edwards and Rob Spragg singing the ballad with Michael Edwards orchestration it really lifted the ballad to another level, made it more of a cinematic experience plus it was a bonus to work with artists you’re already a fan of.

The 8 minute film took over a year to make and was made using the Unity Game engine for realtime render and camera editing this was an first for an animated film production in Ireland. We created the costumes and cloth simulations in Marvelous Designer and used alembic files with baked fbx character animation from Maya. Combining them  with game terrains for the sets. In unity we used Cinemachine for the multiple camera views and camera moves. We also developed an unique brush and filter set  with Esko Mattinen and took each frame into Photoshop for a hand painted brush effect. 

So there were a lot of challenges to overcome in the pipeline but I’m happy with the result and the film has a distinctive style that suits the tone of the story. Paul O Brien a graduate from Ballyfermot and our technical director did a really great job. I’m sure we’ll see a lot more animated productions combining game technology in the near future.

Cashell Horgan, Director

Lady Isobel and the Elf Knight is written, directed by Cashell Horgan, Produced by Andrew Moore, Linhong Yang as production manager with Made Image as the production company, animation by Graham Isherwood, and post-production with Gorilla Post, Barry Reid. 

Lady Isobel and the Elf Knight premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh last month and will now look to continue its festival run.

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