Travels with Tove: Premiere + Event

The ICO is delighted to present the UK premiere of Travels with Tove (1993) exclusively on our streaming platform from 9—23 July, with a special Panel Discussion & Readings Event on Wednesday 14 July with director Kanerva Cederström, actor and writer Ellie Kendrick (The Levelling), publisher Nat Jansz and Alison Williams, Curator at the William Morris Gallery.

Coinciding with the anticipated cinema release of Tove (2021), the lyrical biopic that draws on writer, visual artist and Moomin creator Tove Jansson’s bohemian young life in Helsinki, we tenderly turn our attention to a more intimate, perhaps less familiar but definitively globe-trotting aspect to Tove Jansson’s life and art: her compassionate, funny, observational Super 8 filmmaking collaboration with her partner Tuulikki Pietilä, the graphic designer and artist.

Travels with Tove (1993) is the first film in a trilogy of Super 8 films, that includes Haru: Island of Solitary (1998) and Tove and Tooti in Europe (2004). Travels with Tove chronicles the couple’s 8mm ‘home movies’ shot by Tuulikki together with Tove on their trips taken to Japan, Hawaii, Mexico and the United States between 1971—72. Accompanied by their trusted Konica cine-camera, the film touchingly portrays the women’s humorous, off the cuff and original ways of observing people, culture and everyday life.

About the film

Travels with Tove, dir. Kanerva Cederström, Finland, 57 mins, 1993.

Available to stream for 2 weeks from 9 July.

Edited meticulously so that the audience feels included in their private stories, Travels with Tove crosses over with the period in Letters from Tove (2019) and some of the stories in Jansson’ 2007 novel Fair Play including ‘Travels with a Konica’. The Super 8 footage is accompanied by Tove and Tuulikki’s wonderful, witty commentary, recorded in 1992-3 in Tuulikki’s film library in her flat in Helsinki. In fact, her film library is where, if you have read the opening story in Fair Play (‘Changing Pictures’), the characters Mari (based on Tove) and Jonna (based on Tuulikki) – both artists – end their day watching a film directed by German queer film provocateur Rainer Werner Fassbinder, instead of going out for dinner with friends.

Film featured prominently in Tove and Tuulikki’s lives, watching and making films became an extension of their shared creativity and lesbian lives together. Collaboration is central to so much feminist art, and their Super 8 films effortlessly and humorously articulate this shared practice. In fact, their ‘home movies’ express a gentle intimacy and private dialogue that has, thanks to the careful work of director and editor Kanerva Cederström, now become public art.

Discussion and readings event
7-8pm, Wednesday 14 July

To accompany this screening, we are delighted to welcome director Kanerva Cederström, Nat Jansz (publisher of Tove Jansson’s novels and short stories in the UK) and Alison Williams (Curator at the William Morris Gallery) to discuss Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietilä’s filmmaking and how their lives entwine in art and love. Actor and writer Ellie Kendrick will read extracts from Tove Jansson’s fiction.
This event is held in partnership with queer feminist collective Club des Femmes with the acknowledgment of Jenna Mason’s curation of ‘Tove Jansson: An Intimate Portrait’ at Dulwich Picture Gallery on 26 January 2018.

Event speakers

Ellie Kendrick is an English actor and writer best known for playing Anne Frank in the BBC’s 2009 miniseries The Diary of Anne Frank, Ivy Morris in the first series of the 2010 revived Upstairs Downstairs, and Meera Reed in the HBO series Game of Thrones. In 2016 she performed the lead role in The Levelling, directed by Hope Dickson Leach.

Kanerva Cederström, Director, Travels with Tove. Born in Helsinki, Kanerva Cederström graduated with a Masters in Political Science in 1981 before studying film at Stockholm’s Dramatiska Institutet in 1984. From 2003-2010 she was Professor of Documentary Film at the University of Art and Design Helsinki. Since 1985 she has been making documentary films, including several works based on Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietilä’s 8mm material, such as Travels with Tove (1993) and Haru: Island of the Solitary (1998).

Nat Jansz is the co-publisher of Sort Of Books, the tiny publishing company credited with the UK revival of Tove Jansson’s original fiction for children and adults. She, and her partner Mark Ellingham, have published Jansson’s 11 classic Moomin titles, four novels, 5 story collections, her authorised biography and her collected letters.

Alison Williams is a freelance content producer/curator as well as Moomin and Jansson fangirl. She also currently works for PRS Foundation – the UK’s leading charitable funder of new music and talent. After many years at Film London working as a Production Development Manager — promoting London as a major film and production destination — she went to work for the London Borough of Waltham Forest during London Borough of Culture, managing the marketing for a range of Waltham Forest’s Heritage Venues including the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow Assembly Hall and Walthamstow Wetlands. She has worked with The National Trust and The Production Guild at Warner Brothers Leavesden Studios (home to Harry Potter!). Ali is passionate about conservation, wildlife, film and music. She loves spending time walking her dog and stalking other people’s dogs.