Disclosure: The organizers of Slush 2014 paid my way to Helsinki. Our coverage remains objective.
HELSINKI — As far as side projects go, “IronDanger” is a doozy. But that’s the Finns for you. A team of animators from Rovio, Supercell, and a dozen other Finnish companies said they had banded together in their spare time to make “IronDanger,” a trilogy of epic animated fantasy films built around Finnish folklore.
They showed their first trailer for the action film at the Slush 2014 event this week in Helsinki, where 13,000 people are gathering to celebrate Europe’s startups. IronDanger is a kind of patriotic project that celebrates Finnish pride, and the first film debuts in 2017, or the 100th anniversary of Finland as a nation.
The films will be the work of hundreds of animators, who so far have donated their time, said Peter Vesterbacka, the Mighty Eagle at Angry Birds maker Rovio. The companies are not financing or running the project, which is being done independently.
“We have 150 to 200 people working on this, from Rovio and Supercell,” Vesterbacka said. “We know how to make the best games on the planet. These guys grew up watching stuff like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. This is an epic trilogy.”
The films are based on an adaption of Kalevala, a story from Finnish folklore. In the story, an immortal wizard gathers heroes to bring back an artifact before the dark forces get it. One of the heroes has a magical hoe, and the others have guns. They appear to be pitted against giant machines. The trailer closes with the statement, “The North will rise.”
“This is like a birthday gift to the 100 year anniversary of Finland,” Vesterbacka said. “If we can make the best games, why can’t we make the best films?”
The film is an example of the close collaboration among game companies in Finland, the creators said..
The project’s spearhead is Sami Timonen, a graphic designer for games. He came up with the idea that would bring together friends and colleagues from the gaming and entertainment industry in Finland. The animators happily volunteered.
Ariyuki Suzuki is serving as producer, and he is being joined by well-known game creators Lauri Konttori, Mikko Kodisoja, and Sami Timonen. The Finnish game industry is funding the project, but it will also welcome investors.
“This amazing production captures Finnish creativity, passion, and “Sisu”, Finnish determination and resilience. It celebrates the roots of the country and mentality when reimagining world-class entertainment. Heart, history and Hollywood – Finnish style”, said Timonen.