Moomin fans young and old can now rejoice – a beautiful new animated television series called Moominvalley by Finnish production company Gutsy Animations will help bring the adventures of Moomin to a new generation.
The voice cast has just been announced, and includes Rosamund Pike (as Mooninmamma), Kate Winslet (Mrs Fillyjonk) and Kingsman's Taron Egerton as Moomintroll. It reunites The IT Crowd/Garth Marenghi's Darkplace's Richard Ayoade and Matt Berry as The Ghost and Moominpappa respectively. As appearing are Warwick Davis and the author Will Self. There's also some new concept art, which you can see below.
You can read our interview with Moominvalley's creators here.
The much-loved Moomin characters were created by illustrator and author Tove Jannsson, She was was born in the Finnish capital Helsinki, where Gutsy Animations is based. Her Moomin characters first appeared in The Moomins and the Great Flood in 1945, and still happen to be Finland’s biggest cultural export with Tove’s original books now translated into over 50 languages. The protagonist, Moomintroll, embarks on emotional journeys through Moominvalley, where lessons of love, friendship and bravery are explored.
You can see how the concept art above was created from sketch to finished artwork in the timelapse video below.
The Moomins have appeared in animated form before as a stop-motion TV show in the late-1970s/early-1980s (shown in the UK through the 1980s), an anime show in early 1990s, and an animated film in 2015.
The new animation, aptly titled Moomin, will be made using a combination of 2D and 3D, with the aim to appeal to both young children and older fans. Characters will be rendered in 3D in an environment of 2D hand-drawn or painterly elements.
The animation will be produced by an Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA-award winning team – including creative director and executive producer from Gutsy Animations Marika Makaroff, director Steve Box (who’s worked on Wallace and Gromit), producer John Woolley and writing duo Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler.
“We won’t shy away from the complexity and depth found in those original stories and the hybrid style of animation will be designed to achieve that,” says Marika.
The first visual concepts that were released to mark the launch of the project's crowdfunding campaign. And keep an eye out, as more concepts are promised to be released as the campaign progresses. The funds raised will contribute to the visual development of two series, but the animation will go ahead regardless - the first sale to Finnish public broadcaster Yle was announced on Friday.
The crowdfunding page exceeded its target of US$200,000 to air in spring 2019 on Yle, contrived of 13 22-minute episodes. The final sum raised was a total of $253,320 thanks to more than 3,700 fans.
Production company Gutsy Animations is now in talks with major networks in the UK, US and Japan. Expect to see new visual concepts, behind-the-scenes stories and clips as production progresses.
Fans who choose to donate money to the project will receive certain 'perks' depending on how much they contribute - ranging from personal postcard updates from the production team to a free trip to Finland to visit the Moominworld theme park and Moomin museum in Tampere.
One of our favourite perks however, is the chance to voice a role in the animation, or have your artwork displayed in animation form inside a painting in the Moominhouse. If you wish to contribute, get in quick as the crowdfunding page ends on April 21.
And if you just can’t wait until 2019 to get your Moomin fix, an exhibition - Adventures in Moominland - is on at the Southbank Centre until August 20. In October, Dulwich Picture Gallery is presenting the first in-depth UK exhibition of Tove’s work - some of it never seen before.
The animation is supported by Moomin Characters – a business run by the family of Tove Jansson to manage the Moomin brand.