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Home » Art and Culture News, Cultural Geography, Russia, Ukraine, and Caucasus, Siberia

Great Animation Festival Opens in Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Submitted by on March 23, 2012 – 4:20 pm 8 Comments |  
The fifth annual “Great Animation Festival” opens on today, March 23 in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. The program of this film festival, the largest of its kind in Russia, includes animated film viewings, meetings with animation masters, and master classes. Animation films to be presented at this festival include the best of the 2011 Russian animation cinema, as well as a program of foreign works from the U.S., UK, Japan, Spain, France, Australia, Argentina, Germany, and Poland. Viewings aimed at different ages, from the smallest children to adults are to be presented. The various offerings include a selection of animations dedicated to the Russian surrealist and absurdist poet Daniil Kharms, a collection of Oscar nominated shorts, an “In Memoriam” program dedicated to recently deceased animation masters, and other special events. But perhaps the most interesting element in this festival is the “Animation Factory”, an educational program for the youngest visitors, where children will have a chance to learn the craft, by participating in screenplay writing, creating animations using various techniques – drawing, clay animation, stop motion, computer animation, and others – as well as sound recording. Most importantly, children will learn how much work goes into the process: it can take up to a year to create a 10-minute short animation. Last year’s installment of the “Great Animation Festival” was visited by more than 20,000 people.

Russian animation has a long and glorious history. The very first Russian animation film, involving twelve ballerina dolls, was created in 1906. New life was breathed into the Soviet animation by the visit of Walt Disney to Moscow in 1934. One year later, the largest animation film studio, Soyuzmultfilm, was created. New techniques were tried and perfected during the 1960s, such as the cutout animation, as in the 1962 short Story of One Crime by one of the best Russian animators Fyodor Khitruk. But the golden age of Russian animation was in the late 1970s and 1980s, when the number of masterpieces appeared, including the adult classic Ograblenie po… (“The Robbery Like…”), a parody of detective films of 1960s and 1970s in the U.S., France, Italy, and the Soviet Union, starring animated versions of Marlon Brando, Jean Gabin, Alain Delon, Brigitte Bardot, Louis de Funès, Marcelo Mastroianni, and Sophia Loren; the sci-fi full-length feature The Secret of the Third Planet; the clay animation short Plastilinovaya Vorona (“Plasticine crow”); the 13-episode series Adventures of Captain Wrongel, which combined cutout animation techniques with backgrounds filmed in real life; and a rough-drawn 2-episode detective story Private Investigators Kolobki.

The “Great Animation Festival”, traveling also to Voronezh, Lipetsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Kostroma, and Perm, is supported by the Cultural Initiatives Foundation, a private charitable foundation of Mikhail Prokhorov, a runner-up in the recent presidential election. Enhancing infrastructure for education and culture was an important element of Mr. Prophorov’s election platform. For the first two years of its existence, the Foundation operated in the Greater Norilsk area, but has since expanded its scope to include the whole of the Krasnoyarsk region. The Foundation supports various types of cultural initiatives aimed at stimulating the local residents’ nascent creative resources and promoting the development of the environment and the self-image of these Siberian regions. Cultural activities aimed at children and youth, such as the “Great Animation Festival”, are a major priority for the foundation.


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  • Reticulator

    Cute. I take it that one of the Russian films being parodied in Ograblenie po… was Золотая мина. I wonder if anyone has done a study of the progression of depictions of police in Russian films from the omnipresent, omniscient, and (almost) omnipotent folks depicted in, say, Brilliantovaya Ruka or Zolotaya Mina, to, say, the corrupt etsilop in Kin-Dza-Dza. Maybe using a science fiction film isn’t fair, given those had a little more latitude, but anyway, I wonder if this progression has been analyzed.

    • Asya Pereltsvaig

      Oh what a fun question! To the first set I can add “Neveroyatnye prikljuchenija italjancev v Rossii” (“The implausible adventures of Italians in Russia”) and to the second “Okno v Parizh” (“Window to Paris”). I have no idea if anyone has looked at that, but it would be fascinating to see…

      • Reticulator

        I’ve not seen Okno v Parizh or even heard of it before, but it’s on YouTube so I’ll watch it tonight. There are no English subtitles and my ability to understand Russian is rudimentary, but maybe I can get something out of it anyway. It wasn’t hard to follow a film like Zolotaya Mina and come away thinking I had understood it. Others are more difficult. (I’ve been hooked on Russian film for 7 years now. Vozvrashcheniye was almost the first Russian film I saw, and since then I’ve been hooked. I even enjoy the old films that are thick with socialist realism, or at least when it is well done. Can’t say I like much of the dreck that has come out recently, though. Maybe I’m just not finding the good stuff on YouTube. And Netflix’s selection of Russian film has gone way downhill.)

        I’ve been enjoying your series on Siberia. You’ve provided lots of reading suggestions that I’m going to follow up on.

        • Asya Pereltsvaig

          Thank you for the kind words, Reticulator!

          I am glad to find another Russian movie buff. Indeed, not much good is coming out of Russia lately, movie-wise, but I do love the old films. I didn’t particularly like Vosvraschenie though… But have you seen “The Coockoo”? It must have subtitles as it’s in Russian, Finnish and Saami—but the most beautiful cinamatography! What other Russian films you’d recommend?

          • Reticulator

            I had to look it up, but yes, I’ve seen Cuckoo. It wasn’t one of my favorites, but I’d watch it again just for the scenery. I didn’t know it had any Saami in it, but I wouldn’t have recognized it if I had heard it.

            As to Russian films that I recommend: Almost anything done by Eldar Ryazanov or Mark Zacharov is good. That Very Same Munchausen is one of the greatest.

            I like Marlen Khutsiev’s work, especially Mne Dvadsat Let and Iyulskiy Doshd. Both of these, and especially the latter, have great nostalgia value for me, even though I’ve never even visited Russia. It has more to do with the way people dressed and talked then, both here and there, and the things they were concerned about. (I’m old enough to have very intense memories of those days.)

            Georgiy Daneliya’s work is good. I especially like Autumn Marathon.

            Pokrovskie Vorota is a film that I’ve watched several times.

            Speaking of tri-lingual films, I should mention a French film, “Depuis qu’Otar est parti” in which the characters switch between Russian, French, and Georgian. (I can follow the Russian and French somewhat, especially with the help of subtitles, but understand not a syllable of Georgian.) If a film has English subtitles, my wife will watch with me. But she will watch only once. I can’t get her interested in repeated viewings. Except for this film, which she has watched with me at least 3 times.

            One Russian film that’s not quite so old that I should watch again is Country of the Deaf. That was good.

            There are others, too. I have a blog about Russian films at I haven’t done anything with it in a long time; I’ve been debating whether to resume blogging about movies or do away with it so I can concentrate better on my main interests at I just recently retired from full-time IT work and want to devote a lot more time to my historical interests. Speaking of which, do you happen to know if there are any films that have any spoken Ojibwe or any other of the Algonquian languages that are closely related to Ojibwe?

          • Asya Pereltsvaig

            Awesome blog about Russian films—now I know what I will be doing during this holiday break! :)

            I am not a huge fan of Daneliya, but Autumn Marathon is my all time favorite. I absolutely love what Basilashvili did with that role—completely unlike the sort of characters he used to play! That Same Munchausen is also awesome. Mark Zakharov has a very theatrical style, as he is a theatrical director first and foremost. Early Ryazanov is light, ironic, and very deep at the same time. I think Garazh is one of the best films, timeless!

            And I am afraid I don’t know any films with Ojibwe in them… Perhaps some other readers know?

          • Reticulator

            Thanks very much for telling us about Window to Paris. I did find subtitles, and my wife and I were able to watch it together as a Thanksgiving treat. It was fun.

          • Asya Pereltsvaig

            Thank you. I’ve been reading your Kino blog with great interest!