Finland’s Kalle Kujala, backed by Family Vijakainen Holding & Investment, has established a new production company called Walking Walnut, which will focus on transmedia original animated content for kids. Brazil’s Spirit Animation Studios are co-producing and animating while the Finnish government is backing the accompanying educational content.
The company, its first series and the show’s protagonist all share the same name, thought up by Kujala while trying to invent a story to tell his young daughter Amanda before bed.
“I read bedtime stories to her but after a few weeks I got bored reading the same books and stories evening after evening,” Kujala told Variety. “So, I started to tell entirely improvised stories to her… and in those moments Walking Walnut was born.”
He says that since the tradition began years ago, he has come up with hundreds of narratives which might make their way into the animated world of Walking Walnut.
In an effort to help those narratives take on a more concrete form he has enlisted the help of Brazil’s Spirit Animation, a willing partner to that end. Spirit is one of Brazil’s most well-established animation companies producing content for TV and film. It is behind the Disney XD Latam animated series “KARL™”, and has participated on the animation of 3D animated films such as “Snow Queen 3,” “Sheep and Wolves” and “Playkids 3D Musical Originals.” SPIRIT is currently in development on last year’s American Film Market pitching winner for the best-animated script, “Rosie & Bear™.”
“During this past summer we got involved with Spirit,” Kuala recalled, adding: “With them, we are producing an animated comedy series for kids and developing different kinds of e-learning games and merchandising around these characters.”
In the series, Walking Walnut is joined by a host of other anthropomorphic animals and objects like his roommate Hedge Hog, Hedge Hog’s cousin Sea Urchin and Egg Mayo, who will learn lessons in sharing, forgiveness and not leaving friends behind when you learn new things.
The stories unspool on Announ Island (pronounced Unknown), hidden somewhere in the Great Ocean.
“Don’t try to Google it,” Kujala joked. “No-one knows where this island is. Even I don’t, but there are rumors about the coordinates.”
The conflict for Walnut and his friends comes from an army of yellow ants who band together to keep the island dwellers away from the mango tree, a real pain for Walnut whose favorite breakfast is a mango smoothie.