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Finland’s Aurora Studios now owns 40% of Helsinki-based animation studio Anima Vitae, whose credits include Gutsy Animation’s Moominvalley, Ubisoft’s Rabbids Invasion, and Rovio’s Angry Birds: Stella.

Anima Vitae was founded in 2000, and has since opened a base in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Co-founders Antti Haikala, Jani Kuronen, and Olli Rajala retain ownership of the remaining 60%.

Alongside service work, Anima Vitae also produces original features. They include the 2008 holiday movie Niko & The Way to the Stars (which was released as an abridged tv movie in the U.S. as The Flight Before Christmas) and its 2012 sequel, which together grossed almost USD$46 million worldwide — strong performances for European animated features.

The company is at work on a third feature in the franchise as well a new feature, Fleak, which is at the financing and pre-sale stage.


Launched last year, Aurora Studios develops, produces, and distributes “high-end quality films with commercial potential” from Finland. It recently launched the Finnish Impact Film Fund, a €5.5M ($6.4M), a private equity fund aimed at financing film and tv content.

Haikala, CEO and co-founder of Anima Vitae, said in a statement: “With this strategic partnership with Aurora Studios we will be able to further develop our capabilities and services and guarantee that our studio stays at the forefront of our industry. The partnership gives us a unique opportunity to develop future success stories. This is the natural next step in the direction we embarked on over 20 years ago.”

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