FIVE FROM FINLAND: Animation
Make yourself comfortable with this animated Finnish quintet.
Finnish animation studios continue to take audiences on new adventures, offering some well-needed relief and distraction during the ongoing stay-at-home period.
Here are five animated films and series from Finland to keep an eye or two on.
With its deeply humane stories and fun characters, this Helsinki-based animation studio wants to spread joy among children, ensure long-lasting positive memories and surround them with optimism and hope.
The studio is particularly famous for Gigglebug, a character with a catchy laugh spreading positivity via a TV series, apps, books and music. Each step, from idea to delivery, was produced by the compact team.
“People are at their happiest when they laugh,” noted founder Anttu Harlin. “If we can give that to kids through a cartoon and the characters we create, it is a great mission: spreading happiness.”
Created by Rovio Entertainment, Angry Birds has already become one of Finland’s most recognisable brands. The charismatic feathered creatures have been a hit not only with smartphone users, but also with cinema lovers. After their successful film debut in 2016, Angry Birds returned to big screens in August 2019 in Angry Birds Movie 2, directed by Thurop Van Orman and once again featuring star-studded voice cast.
“Rovio is continuing to focus on creating exciting new stories and experiences around our games,” stated CEO Kati Levoranta.
Illustrating the aforementioned passion and commitment, Rovio, Netflix and CAKE recently announced Angry Birds: Summer Madness, a 40-episode animated series that will debut globally in 2021.
Step aside Frosty – word is spreading about this carrot-nosed creation. The eponymous focus of Finnish media company Hima Light’s five-minute episodes, Albi has already generated a lot of buzz in China and made its way to over 30 countries.
Created by artists Markus Majaluoma and Mikko Kunnas, Albi has so far starred in 52 episodes with more snowy adventures expected to be released in late 2021.
The series is “targeted at school-aged children and follows the escapades of Albi the Snowman, who draws and builds different objects from the snow to help pass the time in the middle of nowhere”, we wrote earlier.
In the spring of 2019, the cute and lovable Moomins returned to screens in the animated TV series Moominvalley, which featured a state-of-the-art 2D/3D hybrid technique and an impressive international cast including Kate Winslet and Taron Egerton.
Since then, the award-winning series has been sold to over 30 countries and has just aired its second season. Later this year, which marks the 75th anniversary of the first Moomin book written by Tove Jansson, Moominvalley will be distributed in the Nordics.
“The Moomins are great to work with,” said Marika Makaroff, CEO of the series’ creator, Gutsy Animations. “Because work is such a big part of your life, it’s superb to be able to do something you truly believe in.”
What would it be like to live as a royal in a regular house in an ordinary suburb? Finnish game and animation studio Pikkukala has been busy producing a comedy series focusing on the upper crust moving into decidedly less regal digs, adjusting to change and adapting to their new identity.
Pikkukala has been actively exploring possibilities for co-production with various studios in Europe and has already made a deal with French distributor Dandelooo, aiming to take Royals Next Door to global screens.
“Europe is a great place to produce animation with a great diversity of animation studios which mirror its cultural richness,” described Pikkukala’s co-founder Pablo Jordi, when the series was known as Royale Sisters.
Originally published in November 2017. Updated in April 2020
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