Prince Achmed - animated film with original score - and food

The very first animated feature film, which took 3 years to produce, came out in 1926 and will be on show at Halton Mill, with an original musical score, performed live by Chris Davies - performance starts at 6, and the event starts at 5 p.m. when there'll be a supper of mezze, mint tea and other Arabian delicacies .  Cost £12 adults, £6 children 14 and under includes food .    Bar.  


The Adventures of Prince Achmed


Lotte Reiniger, Germany, 1926, 66 mins, PG

accompanied by a newly composed original score performed live by Chris Davies 

BFI title, distributed by Reel Solutions


Intro to the Film

The Adventures of Prince Achmed is a 1926 German animated fairytale film by Lotte Reiniger. It is the oldest surviving animated feature film. The Adventures of Prince Achmed features a silhouette animation technique Reiniger had invented which involved manipulated cutouts made from cardboard and thin sheets of lead under a camera. The technique she used for the camera is similar to Wayang shadow puppets, though hers were animated frame by frame, not manipulated in live action. The original prints featured color tinting.

Several famous avant-garde animators worked on this film with Lotte Reiniger, among them Walter Ruttmann, Berthold Bartosch, and Carl Koch.

The story is based on elements taken from the One Thousand and One Nights, specifically "The Story of Prince Ahmed and the Fairy Paribanou" featured in Andrew Lang's Blue Fairy Book.


Lotte Reiniger’s beautiful 1926 silhouette animation, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, brings to life magical tales from the Arabian Nights. The earliest surviving animated feature film – preserved in the BFI National Archive – it has been hailed as one of the world’s most innovative and influential animations. Three years in the making, made in card, cut entirely by hand, Reiniger’s exquisite shadow characters move intricately through colourful worlds of demons, witches, beautiful princesses and flying castles. 


Intro to the Score

Musician Chris Davies reinvigorates the film with his skilful composition and live performance using a spectacular array of instruments from around the world to accompany Prince Achmed’s journey from the Middle East, to Africa, China and beyond. 

The new live score was commissioned specially for Bradford Animation Festival’s celebration event in November 2014.


“After the first viewing I was completely enchanted and excited by the opportunity to work with this wonderful film; running at sixty-five minutes I knew it was a mammoth undertaking but couldn’t wait to get started. The film is silent so unrestricted by language, I watched it a few times with the original orchestration, then again, this time with the sound off and ideas started to come. First rooting it sound-wise where the story takes place, beginning in the Middle East, what sounds, instruments, rhythms take you to the Caliph’s palace? Then there’s an African sorcerer, a spirit island, a journey to China, a fire-witch in a fire-mountain…then Aladdin appears…just incredible. The more I watched, the more I became absorbed in creating the sound worlds of the journey, and falling more in love with the beauty of the animation; I was already starting to think of a life for this beyond the animation festival.”


Instruments used in this production:

Classical guitar, oud, darbuka, gong rack, bass drum, djembe, tin whistle, bowed psaltery, xylophones, thumb piano, zither, crystal singing bowl, bamboo flute, soprano saxophone, rattles, shakers and bells, voice, sequencing and computer programming.


Quotes about the score


“Lotte Reiniger's brilliant Adventures of Prince Achmed is a true animation gem. Historically it is an important work in the animation canon -- and within the global film community. Moreover, when coupled with musician Chris Davies's new score, Reiniger's work leaps anachronistically to present day and back again. It's as if you're watching the film as it should be viewed: In the 1920's. His accompaniment is a work of art in itself. 

recommend it wholeheartedly.” Mark Shapiro, Studio Laika 


“What an evening!”


“Like something from the Manchester International Festival!”


“The visuals were fantastic – the cut out and animations – and the music, just stunning – so well matched to the content of the story and characters.”


“That was a real highlight of everything I’ve seen this year. Congratulations to the fabulous musician and to all who made it possible for us to see,  I was completely mesmerised from beginning to end – in fact I didn’t want it to end!”


Reviews of the film

“There was no lovelier princess than the one German director Reiniger cut out of a piece of black paper and brought to life in The Adventures of Prince Achmed.” 

Sight & Sound 


“A work of rare artistry and fluid beauty. In the days of super-expensive CGI technology and ever growing armies of animation technicians, it’s worth noting that Reiniger and husband Carl Koch were a two-person factory.” 

Time Out 


“A joy to behold. Beautiful and innovative - age only adds to its brilliance and charm.” 




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