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February 28, 2023
Moomin Characters will launch “The Moomin Phenomenon,” a five-part audio documentary series narrated by actress and producer Lily Collins and the multi-hyphenate English actress, singer, comedian and screenwriter Jennifer Saunders. Saunders voiced the character of Mymble in the recent TV adaptation, “Moominvalley” and discovered the Moomins as an adult when her youngest daughter became “fanatical” about the stories.
“My personal admiration for Tove Jansson is huge, but through this podcast I’ve become aware that I’m not alone – she is truly worshipped all over the world, and rightly so,” says Saunders. “The uninitiated sometimes see the Moomin stories as being only for children – and they are wonderful children’s books, of course – but having come to them as an adult, I fell in love with the philosophy and the charm. There’s something for everybody and every mood. The stories are dark sometimes, and that’s brilliant. I love how all emotions and the internal workings of our minds are there on the page. And they’re funny too!”
“The Moomin Phenomenon” tells the story of how the Moomins went from being characters in a series of Finnish children’s books to a property with fans all over the globe, its own philosophy, hundreds of licensed products and an annual turnover of more than €650 million.
The Moomins first appeared in “The Moomins and the Great Flood,” a story written and illustrated by the Finnish artist Tove Jansson and published in 1945. They were catapulted onto the global stage in 1954, when the London Evening News commissioned Jansson to write a Moomin comic strip which ran for 20 years and, at its peak, was syndicated in 40 different countries.
“The Moomin Phenomenon” explores why fans feel such a deep connection to the characters that Tove Jansson created and the philosophy of ‘Moominvalley,’ where the values of love, equality and courage are ever-present. It asks how and why so many artists – from writers and musicians to designers and jewelers – have been inspired by these stories, and how the brand balances its licensing program with the importance of preserving the integrity of Tove Jansson’s body of work. Finally, its looks at the life and legacy of Jansson, a woman who lived according to her own rules.
“Tove was an incredible artist and an exceptional person,” says Sophia Jansson, niece of Tove Jansson. “She wasn’t afraid of walking her own path and was true to her ideals, and these things fed into her creations – they’re part of what makes the Moomin stories so special. I’m very happy that her work continues to resonate so deeply with people all around the world today.”
Featured in the podcast, amongst others, are:
Actor Samuel West, who is a lifelong fan and whose daughter is named after a character in the Moomin stories
Designer Rika Kawato, who has made Moomin fabrics for the Japanese market for 10 years
Publishers Nat Jansz and Mark Ellingham, who were behind the Moomin x Oxfam collaboration that raised millions of pounds
Philosopher Sanna Tirkkonen, literature professor Björn Sundmark and Tove’s biographer Boel Westin
Composer Lauri Porra, who has recently created a new audio identity for Moomin characters (and is also bass guitarist in the power metal band, Stratovarius)
Jeweler Harriet Vine, who is the co-founder of Tatty Devine, an east-London based jewelry brand with a Moomin range
And a fan named Malin Tjernström, who gets her third Moomin tattoo while being interviewed for the podcast
“I am thrilled to share the Moomins with new adults and children who will become inspired by these loveable trolls just as I have been,” says Collins. “I first discovered the series and its magical illustrations as a child growing up in the English countryside. There is so much to learn through Tove’s writing about equality, respect for nature and how to break out of your comfort zone in search of an adventure. I try to bring all of these themes into my daily life as an adult and still today return to the Moomin stories again and again. My husband and I have even started our own Tove Jansson collection of artwork and personal letters that we deeply treasure and will pass down for generations to come.”
“The Moomin Phenomenon” was produced by Third Ear Creative, a Scandinavian podcast group, on behalf of Moomin Characters. Antonio de la Cruz was the producer and Melody Lovelin was the researcher. Tove Leffler acted as executive producer and the sound engineer was Gustav Sondén.
“Producing this podcast has been such a joyful experience,” says Antonio de la Cruz, producer, “The Moomin Phenomenon.” “Those of us who have always had Moomin in our lives can sometimes take its profound impact for granted, so it’s been really wonderful to have the opportunity to explore that in-depth. From speaking to a pediatric doctor who leads a project to integrate Moomin values into the entire care chain of a children’s hospital, to artists who deeply feel the influence and spirit of Tove in their own work, it has been illuminating, fun and inspiring throughout.”
The podcast is available to download now on all podcast platforms.
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