Interview Niko Irish Animation

We chat to Andrew McMahon, the voice behind Niko and the way to the stars

“NIKO and the way to the stars” is an Animated feature film from Galway based Magma Films that opened in cinemas this week. The CGI animated film tells the story about a reindeer boy who longs to fly and dreams of one day meeting his father who is a celebrity member of the famous Santa’s Flying Forces. His desire to fly and find his real father leads him on a difficult and exciting journey accompanied by his true friend Julius, a flying squirrel, and Wilma a singing weasel whom they meet along the way.

“Niko is currently on release in Finland and enjoying the highest audience figures ever for a children’s movie after its fifth week. Altogether it has sold to over 120 countries and the Weinstein Company has bought the film for the US market and Pan Latin America,” explains Ralph Christians, executive producer with Magma.


‘Niko And the Way to the Stars’ was supported by the Irish Film Board and the Government of Ireland Section 481 tax incentive.


We chat to Andrew McMahon, the voice behind Niko and the way to the stars



Q: What can you tell us about Niko?

Niko and The Way to The Stars is a family movie about a reindeer boy who dreams that one day he will fly just like his Dad who is a celebrity on Santa Flying Forces. He goes on a long dangerous journey to find his father and is accompanied along the way by Julius his constant companion and also Wilma a cheeky singing weasel. The film is a heart warming father son story with lots of fun and adventure too. It’s getting a great reaction from audiences and has recently won the Best Film Jury Award and the Audience award at Cinekid in Amsterdam.


Q: How did you get involved voicing an animated movie?

First I was sent to an audition by my drama teacher Ann Kavanagh. A few weeks later I got a call back saying I had got the part and I would be going up to Galway to record it the next month.


Q: Is it more difficult doing voice acting to regular acting?
Well, it is definitely a lot more different to regular acting. It is harder in that I can only use voice to show emotion but easier in that lines don’t have to be learned off.




Q: Were you given any guidelines as to how your character should sound, or did you experiment with him beforehand?

At the first audition I was asked to do a “Mid Atlantic” accent and that came quite naturally to me and so I never had to change my voice.


Q: Did you record lines as a group or individually?

We all recorded our lines by ourselves separately. In fact, I have never actually seen most of the actors in the film.


Q: Did you get to spend any time with the animators?

Yes, Just a little to show me how it was all put together.


Q: How many were working on the movie?

The film was co produced between Ireland, Finland, Germany, and Denmark. In all there were about 350 people involved.


Q: How long did the entire movie take to put together?
The production period was about 18 months and Magma Films in Galway spent a couple of years before that developing the script and financing the film – so about 4 years in total.


Q: What other animated movies do you like?

I really like all the Shrek movies and The Simpsons Movie.

“NIKO And The Way To The Stars” is  in Irish Cinemas Now