There’s a new graphic novel out called Fox Fires, written and illustrated by Emilia Ojala. “Fox Fires is a fantasy-adventure that is inspired by Finnish folklore. ‘Fox Fires’ refers to the Northern Lights… The Fox Fires are a gate between this world and the land of the dead – it allows souls to visit their loved ones. But suddenly, the Fox Fires disappear. Our main character, a young raccoon dog named Raate, heads north to find what’s happened to Repo, the fire fox whose burning fur is said to make the Fox Fires appear in the sky. On her journey, Raate meets all kinds of interesting creatures, and also new friends.” The first volume is available in hardcover from Simon & Schuster.
The Finnish-French theatrical animated feature Moomins on the Riviera will be released in the U.S. on December 4th in one theater; the Laemmle Royal Theater, 11523 Santa Monica Boulevard, (West) Los Angeles 90025, for one week to qualify it for the 2015 Best Animated Feature Oscar at next year’s Academy Award presentations. It will also become eligible for ASIFA-Hollywood's 2015 Annie Awards.
Les Moomins sur la Riviera is an 80-minute 2014-2015 co-production of Pictac Cie. in France and Handle Productions in Finland, co-directed by Xavier Picard and Hanna Hemilä, in honor of Tove Jansson’s 100th birthday. It’s an adaptation of the “Moomins on the Riviera” sequence in her and her brother Lars’ Moomin 1954-1975 comic strip, produced in cel animation in her signature art style. The entire Moomin family of forest trolls, and all their friends, go to the French Riviera for their vacation. Their unity is threatened as Moominpappa is drawn into the sophisticated world of Marquis Mongaga, and Snorkmaiden (Moomin’s girlfriend) is toyed with by playboy Clark Tresco. They ultimately are glad to get home to Moominvalley.
The trailers for anthropomorphic animated movies are coming thick and fast. Here is the teaser trailer for The Angry Birds Movie, due out (unless the date is changed) May 20, 2016. The concept is by Finnish video game company Rovio Entertainment, of course, but the CGI movie is by Sony Pictures Imageworks’ new animation studio in Vancouver (where Sony Pictures Animation moved it from Hollywood for British Columbia’s tax breaks). It’s what Sony Imageworks will be working on now that Hotel Transylvania 2 is finished.
The feature is directed by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly, from a screenplay by Jon Vitti. Voices include Jason Sudeikis as Red, Josh Gad as Chuck, Maya Rudolph as Matilda, Danny McBride as Bomb and Peter Dinklage as Mighty Eagle, with Bill Hader as Leonard, a Minion Pig.
I have no interest in video games. But I could not help hearing about Angry Birds, created in 2009 by Rovio Entertainment in Espoo, Finland. They seemed to be everywhere in the last couple of years; on billboards, in Coca-Cola and Cheetos advertising, in political cartoons, in news articles that UK Prime Minister David Cameron and famous author Salman Rushdie are fans, and that Angry Birds theme parks have opened or are under construction in places as far afield as Finland and Malaysia. Finally, animated Angry Birds episodes have appeared on TV and YouTube (I watched those), and theatrical features in both stop-motion and CGI animation are in development.
Insight Editions is one of the publishers specializing in lavish full-color coffee-table books about CGI features. It has published books (which I have reviewed for Animation World Network) on the art of Rango, Madagascar 3, Puss in Boots, and Rise of the Guardians, among others. It has done a similar de luxe presentation here; not only on the video games and the merchandising and so on, but on the individual characters – the Angry Birds (Red, Chuck, Terence, Matilda, Bomb, Bubbles, Jim, Jake, and Jay, Stella, etc.); their adversaries, the Bad Piggies (King Pig, Chief Pig, and their many minions); and the other supporting birds (Mighty Eagle, Freddie Bird, Hal the toucan, and others.
For many furs, Anthrocon is approaching – but roughly 50 Finns are looking forward to the first FinnFur Summer Camp (website), held 1-3 July at Röskö in the forests of North Karelia. Planned activities include BBQ, lake swimming, rowing, motor-boating and dances, plus indoor games.
All cabin spaces have sold out (at 30-40€ + 10€ for sponsors); campers can still attend for 35€.
Bark Twice for Bear and Hunting Dogs are issued with mobile phones report that Benefon is selling a combination GPS and telephone for dogs. It's intended for hunting season, and it has its own set of web pages. (Warning: Most information there is in Finnish.)