Finnish prodco Gutsy Animation has appointed fellow Nordic studio Anima Vitae as the lead animation company for the first two 13-episode seasons of the forthcoming family TV drama Moominvalley, based on the iconic Moomins brand created by the late Finnish author Tove Jansson.
The creative team behind the new TV series includes Gutsy creative director and executive producer, Marika Makaroff, Oscar-winning director and ex-Aardman creative director, Steve Box (Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit), and the Emmy-winning writing duo of Mark Huckerby (Danger Mouse) and Nick Ostler (Peter Rabbit).
Animation for the series is being developed in association with YLE Drama and Moomins rights owner and manager Moomin Characters, which was launched by Jansson and her brother Lars in the 1950s.
With offices in Helsinki and Kuala Lumpur, Anima Vitae’s previous projects include the award-winning feature film Niko and the Way to the Stars (released as Flight Before Christmas in the US), which has been sold to more than 100 countries, as well as original 3D-animated preschool series Fleak.
The studio earned the right to animate Moominvalley by winning a 10-way pitch process in which potential animation partners were asked to share their visions for re-imagining the beloved IP. Each company was given the character biography of Moomintroll, who will be voiced by Kingsman‘s Taron Egerton, and was asked to present a number of standard animation movements, such as walking, running and picking up an object.
Moominvalley‘s all-star voice cast also includes Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) as Moominmamma, Matt Berry (The IT Crowd) as Moominpappa, Kate Winslet (Titanic, Revolutionary Road) as Mrs. Fillyjonk, Akiya Henry (Bing , Bottersnikes and Gumbles) as Snorkmaiden and Warwick Davis (Harry Potter, Star Wars) as Sniff.
The new TV project comes amid a rise in Moomin brand activity around the world including UK-based immersive event Adventures in Moominland, the first major UK exhibition of work by Tove Jansson at Dulwich Picture Gallery and the opening of the world’s first Moomin Museum in Tampere, Finland.
A 12-month Moomin exhibition will also begin touring major cities in South Korea later this year, and a new Moomin theme park is expected to open in Tokyo.
Other extensions in the UK include new collectors’ editions of the original Moomin stories published by Sort of Books and The World of Moominvalley from publisher Macmillan Children’s Books.