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‘Harry and Bip,’ ‘Momolu,’ ‘One Thousand and One Animals’ Lead Finland’s Animation Drive

Finland animation was in the spotlight at Toulouse TV toon event

TOULOUSE, France — Finnish projects “Harry and Bip – Summer Season,” “Momolu and Friends” and “One Thousand and One Animals” were pitched as part of a Spotlight that Cartoon Forum devoted to the Nordic country. All projects are in development stage. Most of Finland’s projects at Cartoon Forum will segue to Cannes MipJunior.

“Harry and Bip – Summer Season” is produced by Ireland and Finland-based Ink and Light. The company is run by Tamsin Lyons and Leevi Lemmetty, nominated for the Producer of the Year award at Cartoon Forum’s current edition. Ink and Light was set up in 2012 and produces kids and family content.

A spin-off from “Harry and Bip” –aired around the world on RTEjr, YLE, Disney CEMEA, Radio-Canada and others,– “Harry and Bip – Summer Season” features two penguin siblings living in Antarctica, trying to have fun while their mother has gone further south with the rest of female penguins. The project will also be screened at Amsterdam’s Cinekid.

“Momula and Friends” is produced by Ferly, a company with offices in L.A., Helsinki and Vancouver. The show is a 2D pre-school animation with whimsical visuals inspired by Finnish islands and based on the character design of Leena Fredrikkson.

Molomu and Friends
CREDIT: Cartoon Forum

“It’s a character-driven series that features a quirky cast of animal characters that use arts, crafts and design to solve everyday problems,” Ferly CEO Ulla Junell explained to Variety. “What makes it so unique is that Momolu isn’t simply a do-it-yourself show, but rather a series that inspires kids through art.”

Launched in February this year, Finnish company Haruworks presents “One Thousand and One Animals,” which turns on six-year-old Alyssa, who each day enters her tablet to live out adventures in a wild world.

One Thousand and One Animals
CREDIT: Cartoon Forum

“We chose to adapt the original prize-winning property from author Laura Mer because of its distinct visual look,” Haruworks Maija Arponen and Nick Norra said. “The animation mixes modern tools like Celaction with the style of legendary Finnish animator Heikki Prepula, which resulted in Celaction CEO Andy Blazdell telling us he’s never seen anything like it done with his software.”

“One Thousand and One Animals” and  “Momula and Friends” will also be presented at next month’s MipJunior market in Cannes. All three series clock in at 52 episodes of between 7 and 11 minutes.

Other Finnish companies featured at Cartoon Forum included Anima Vitae, Filin Good Films, Futurecode, Gigglebug Entertainment, Hima Light, Gutsy Animations, Pikkukala, Pyjama Films and Sun in Eye.

Finland offers a 25% rebate for Finnish and foreign companies, covering all production stages, with a minimum expenditure set at €250,000 ($289,687 USD).

“The new cash rebate is a key element in attracting productions to Finland,” Lyons explained. “With another base in Ireland, we have seen the impact the Irish S481 Film Relief Scheme had on work there, how it has both brought in foreign investment and also enabled local projects to get off the ground. Early signs certainly point to similar successes in Finland.”

Other crucial backings in the area come from the Finnish Film Foundation and broadcaster YLE –nominated for Broadcaster of the Year at Cartoon Forum.

Active since 2017, the cash rebate measure has opened up financing possibilities: “When we work as a minority co-producer, Ferly sometimes participates in gap financing of those projects. Overall, recent tax incentives and the success of the tech and gaming industries have helped to expand greatly Finland’s animation industry,” Ulla Junell added.

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