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Finnish animation celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2014.

logokuvatonPIen
The logo for the anniversary is designed at the design studio PenttiPulkkaNieminen. The idea was given by Hjalmar Löfving’s early animations from the 1920s. The earliest animations by Eric Vasström have not been preserved but they have been screened in 3 cinemas in Helsinki in 1914.

The anniversary will be celebrated with events around Finland, from the South to the North, from the  archipelago to Lapland, evidencing Finnish animation’s fruitful past and present. The main target of the year is in developing education.

 

Festivals & exhibitions

The jubilee event frame is formed by annual film festivals, that are many around Finland. Tampere Film FestivalOulu Music Video Festival and the Oulu International Children’s and Youth Film Festival will all screen historical Finnish animation. Animatricks is the only animation festival in Finland and will be held 25.-27.5.2014.

Helsinki International Film Festival is the major film festival in September, that had a lot of historical stuff already in its 2013 programming. The Anniversary gala in 2014 will be part of the popular festival with audience and VIP guests.

The biggest exhibition of the year will take place at the National Gallery ’Ateneum’ in the heart of Helsinki. The grand museum houses the biggest ever exhibition of Tove Jansson’s illustrations and cartoons, drawings and paintings, films and installations as well as biographical material. The creator of Moomins is extremely popular in Japan and many tourists from that region will pay a visit to Finland during the exhibition. 2014 is also the 100th anniversary of Tove Jansson.

Smaller exhibitions display stage design and puppetry used in stop motion animation. There are many animation artists and film directors in Finland that like to use and preserve old techniques in puppetry when making their animations. The anniversary will also be celebrated with two puppetry exhibitions at the Anifilm animationfestival in the Czech Republic. From there the exhibition will be moved to Tábor Museum of Puppet Arts.

Education

Animation education at Turku Fine Arts Academy celebrates its 20th anniversary in Fall 2014. Students, that have been to the school will get together in the spirit of start-ups, more familiar in the games industry. Turku region is especially keen on developing new kind of entrepreneurship. Compared to Helsinki and Tampere its own media industry is fairly small. You may read more on animation education in Turku in their blog.

Tampere, the third biggest city in Finland, will meet new challenges in 2014 when the media education and Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) will function in the same premises. Tampere has been the head of children’s programming at YLE in the past. The Finnish Children TV also celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014.

Helsinki College of Art and Design has given various animation courses in the past. Lately the discussion on continuity of its separate courses has strengthened. It will hold the Animation Breakout in the 5th of May, which is the pre-event for Cartoon Digital, that will be organized in Helsinki for the first time.

Annantalo Arts Centre has been ‘The Place’, where children from different schools and nurseries in the capital region have spent a day or a half in exploring and making art in different mediums. Animation will play a bigger role in the future as the anniversary will be celebrated whole year in Annantalo with more animation workshops and exhibitions.

Animation industry is international

Finnish animation industry has developed strongly in an international scale, and Finnanimation has done lots of promotion in Asia. Due to Moomins and Angry Birds, the soil has been good from Japan to Indonesia. In the jubilee year Africa will be the next step for making finnish animation more  globally known.

Managing director for Finnanimation and the coordinator of the anniversary, Liisa Vähäkylä says that animation education could easily become one of the spearheads for Education Export from Finland just like animated features has been the spearheads for Finnish Audiovisual Export. – The animation education on professional level is very poor in e.g. Russia. St.Petersburg is only 304 kilometers from the Finnish capital, and there is an urgent need of educated professionals in big studios.  I guess, on the other hand, Finnish companies need to keep their talent too, as many studios have hired foreign employees recently, Vähäkylä concludes.

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