UPDATED with video: Finnish author Tove Jansson is most known for creating the enduringly popular children’s characters the Moomins, which have spanned comics, books and TV series since she first came up with them in the 1940s. She is now the subject of a biopic, Tove, which is Finland’s submission for the International Feature Oscar this year.
“Tove Jansson is the national treasure of Finland, an icon,” says director Zaida Bergroth during the film’s panel at Deadline’s Contenders International. “I was really pleased [to make the film] but I was a bit worried because I needed to find my own way to the character, to feel that I was the right director to tell her story.”
For actress Alma Pöysti, it was an equal level of responsibility to depict Jansson in a film about her life. “It was such an honor, but the ground disappeared underneath my feet when I got the part,” she says. “I was really excited and a little bit terrified, I had to learn things like painting that she mastered so well. But I forgot to be scared and Zaida was great at holding my hand and guiding me through it. We forgot about the pressure and got lost in Tove’s world.”
The Moomins remain popular around the world, including in Asia where there is a theme park dedicated to Jansson’s work in Japan. “Through this film we want to bring more knowledge about Tove Jansson’s wonderful work to other countries also,” Bergroth says.
Check out the panel video above.