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PRODUCTION Finland

It's family life again for Niko, the flying reindeer

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- Finnish director Kari Juusonen is ready with Niko 2: Little Brother, Big Trouble, a follow-up to his 2009 CGI-animated family feature, which sold to more than 100 countries

It's family life again for Niko, the flying reindeer

When Finnish director Kari Juusonen introduced Niko (photo) to the screen, the CGI-animated young reindeer defied his vertigo and set out to find his father, a member of Santa Claus' Flying Forces. Niko & The Way to the Stars [+see also:
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(2009) was sold to more than 100 countries through Germany's Telepool - in the US, CBS aired a 45-minute television edit, The Flight Before Christmas.

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Niko wanted her single mom, his high-flying dad and himself to be real family again, but his father would not return. Instead his mother meets a new guy, an ordinary reindeer, who moves in with his little son. Niko's world is shattered, and it doesn't get better when his new stepbrother is kidnapped - but Niko saves him and learns to accept his new family.

Scripted by Hannu Tuomainen and Marteinn Thorisson, Niko 2: Little Brother, Big Trouble, Juusonen's follow-up to the first flying reindeer adventure, is co-directed by Danish director Jørgen Leerdam, and has been in production since last July on a €7.4 million budget - at the time, Finland's highest for a feature - with support from the Finnish Film Foundation.

Selected for Cartoon's 2011 European co-production forum, the fully-CGI-animated movie was staged by Tuomainen and Petteri Pasanen for Finland's Animaker, in co-production with Denmark's A.Film, Germany's Ulysses Films and Ireland's Magma Films. Nordisk Film has scheduled domestic release for December, while Germany's Global Screen (formerly Telepool) handles international sales.

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