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The 20th anniversary of Pilot Studio

The 20th anniversary of Pilot Studio

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drawing, old man
Pilot Studio, the Soviet Union's first private animation studio, was founded by Aleksandr Tatarskiy and Igor Kovalyov 20 years ago. Tatarskiy led the studio through some very difficult times, keeping it alive and thriving at great cost to his own health, until his death last summer (see here), while Kovalyov moved to America in the early 1990s and did well commercially (though - and this is strictly my opinion - I think he did his best artistic work while he was in Russia).

The studio is now the place to go for young animation artists in Moscow. It has won a great number of awards at regional and international film festivals. Profit has always been a secondary consideration to quality and integrity (for which the studio, and Tatarskiy himself, suffered much in the 1990s). And today, ironically, Tatarskiy's former studio has become perhaps as much a guardian of the Soyuzmultfilm tradition as Soyuzmultfilm itself. The studio is now run by an artistic council, such as used to exist in Soyuzmultfilm during the Soviet era, headed by the famous animator, writer and director Eduard Nazarov (here's one of his films on Youtube).

An exhibition recently opened in Moscow dedicated to the studio's 20 years, and 63koval has many photographs over here.

Also, (heck, I might as well tell a little tale to mark the occasion) here's another interesting collection of photographs from 2006.

The story behind those is that Pilot Studio decided to get rid of their old animation drawings and cells, and instead of slowly auctioning them off on eBay like any well-adjusted studio would've done, they just dumped the whole lot (containing scenes from some of the most beloved Soviet cartoons) into the dumpster behind the building. Some passerby noticed what was happening, called his friends, and soon "half of Moscow" was there according to one witness, taking what they could before the garbage truck took it away. And when the truck did come, they begged it to come a few hours later (Tatarskiy himself, looking at the scene from the studio window, negotiated with the driver to do just that).
  • (Anonymous)
    My! I'd run naked in the cold for free animation cels of this quality ! Amazing to see such a thing.Too bad Canada is like the other side of the earth to Moscow.

    I've got a question for you. Do you know about "Koms"? It's an underground something-something of young russian animators, with Andrei Bakhurin (AKA Scarydolls)and Nicolai Belov (AKA Kol-Belov) as the main people there. I don't know much about them except that I saw a bunch of their work, but it seems like they're the new generation over there. All 2D, but digital.

    • Yes, I've been following their work for a while after first seeing their films on Newgrounds. "Los Dias Sin Dias" and "Bankomat" are some of my favourites from them. They're based in St. Petersburg, from what I understand

      It is strange that so very little of their work is in the animator.ru database. Nikolai Belov does not even have a profile. Bakhurin does, but only two of his films are listed. (you can watch all of his films over here)

      I really don't know why this is. There's definitely a major shift in tone between their films and most other films being made in Russia "professionally" (their films are typically a lot darker)... but all the same, it's very odd.
      • I'd also add that they're not the new generation. They're a new generation. Perhaps it would be more correct to say that they're the new generation from St. Petersburg.
        • (Anonymous)
          Yes, you're right, of course. I just don't know how popular they are, outside the internet...
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