Swedish illustrator, animator and director. Born in Hofors.
Since the late 1960s, Per Åhlin, the founder of the PennFilm company, has been one of the leading figures in Swedish animation - as a director, animator and designer. Over the years he has directed both animated features and television series, but it is thanks to a short film for television that he is best known: the multi-layered Sagan om Karl-Bertil Jonssons julafton ('Story of Karl-Bertil Jonsson's Christmas Eve,' 1975), which is broadcast every year by Sveriges Television (SVT).
When Per Åhlin made his cinema debut in 1964 with the opening credits for Svenska Ord's feature film Swedish Portraits (Svenska bilder, Tage Danielsson) he was a successful illustrator and designer of book covers. Self-taught and entirely without formal training, Åhlin had also worked in advertising and as a director and set designer for the stage, in addition to having made his first animated contribution to a television programme with Cabaret Camera (1963). His partnership with the popular entertainment double act Hasse & Tage led to the feature film Out of an Old Man's Head (I huvet på en gammal gubbe, Tage Danielsson and Åhlin, 1968), produced by Gunnar Karlsson and GK-Film. Typical of its time, the film is a critique of care for the elderly and comprises mostly animated elements, directed by Åhlin, interwoven with filmed episodes directed by Tage Danielsson. Such a long animated film had never previously been made in Sweden. The animation was stylised and graphically inspired, yet despite critical acclaim, returns at the box office were slim.
In the feature Dunderklumpen! (1974), produced by Gunnar Karlsson, Åhlin worked together with Beppe Wolgers, who starred in the film and wrote the screenplay. In the film, skilful use of trick photography enables the animated figures to interact smoothly with the actors against the backdrop of the northern Swedish countryside. Critical opinion was divided, yet Dunderklumpen! was the biggest Swedish success that year at the box office with more than 400,000 tickets sold. Åhlin won the jury's special Guldbagge award the following year "for his profoundly individual animation."
Per Åhlin and PennFilm went on to co-produce the popular series Alfons Åberg (1978-1998) for SVT. His short mixed media film Blommig falukorv ('The Flowery Sausage') screened in 1988, and the series Hellsings ABC (Hellsing's ABC) ran from 1985-1996.
1989 saw the completion of his feature animation The Journey to Melonia, (Resan till Melonia), produced by the Swedish Film Institute. With its references to Shakespeare's "The Tempest", this story about the luxuriant island of Melonia and its barren counterpart Plutonia was a plea for good stewardship in the environment. The imagery bore the typical hallmarks of Åhlin's design, with highly detailed backgrounds and fluid animations. Yet despite a generally positive critical reception, only 72,000 people saw the film in the first two weeks of its release. However, distribution rights were sold to more than 20 countries including the USA, and the film earned Åhlin a second Guldbagge award.
It was not until 2000 that Per Åhlin returned together with producer Lars Jönsson with a new fully animated feature, Hundhotellet ('Dog Hotel') - a light hearted detective story featuring talking dogs and a number of typically "åhlinesque" touches. After this, PennFilm moved over to digital production. A partnership with Filmlance resulted most notably in four films for the cinema about "The Little Ghost Godfrey" ("Lilla Spöket Laban"), freely based on the books by Inger and Lasse Sandberg - all of which were critical and box office successes. Åhlin was in charge of the design and he himself directed various individual episodes. Still active, Per Åhlin is still active. In 2013 came the feature That Boy Emil (Emil & Ida i Lönneberga, Åhlin, Alicja Jaworski Björk, Lasse Persson), based on characters created by writer Astrid Lindgren. Many of the people working in the Swedish animation industry today began their careers at PennFilm.
Elisabeth Lysander (2012), redacted 2014
|The Gullspira Award||Göteborg||2006|
|The SFBF Film Award Kristallen (Sweden)||Stockholm||1991||Resan till Melonia||(Kristallen)|
|The Guldbagge Award||Stockholm||1990||Creative Achievement||Resan till Melonia|
|Stockholm||1975||Special Achievement||Dunderklumpen!||(för hans djupt självständiga animation)|
|Chaplin Magazine Award||Stockholm||1974||Dunderklumpen!|
|Stockholm||1968||I huvet på en gammal gubbe||(debutpris för animation)|
|Special Photographic Effects|