November 13th, 2008

drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 1

Today marks the opening of the Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema, the only film festival in the world dedicated entirely to animated features. I had a great time last year (where I discovered the outstanding, tasteful and funny Czech feature One Night in One City), and I'll be visiting again this year from Friday to Sunday.

Unfortunately, unlike in past years, no Russian features are among the line-up. Here's to next year, then! Over the next little while, I'll be posting information about every single feature film project currently in production in Russia, roughly in order of release date or likelihood of getting released.

Our first candidate is:

Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (formerly known as "Krakatuk"/"Кракатук")
Наша Маша в Земляничной стране
Release date: December 18, 2008 Who knows?
Director: Yegor Mikhalkov-Konchalovskiy (peoples.ru profile), Roman Starikov
Studio: Gala-Film / "Amedia" Studio
Budget: $5 million (source) - was $3 million, before 70% of the animation was redone in 2008

This film has a complex and checkered history, starting in early 2002. It started out as an adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman's The Nutcracker and the Mouseking for kids 5-10 years old, but by the end of 2007 had somehow morphed into a sex-appeal & action film for an audience of 35-year-olds. Goodness knows what it is now.

Did I mention that it was also supposed to be the first widely-released Russian 3D film? It was beaten to that goalpost by "The Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma" (released on Oct. 23, 2008).

Leonid Kaganov (the film's writer), after being involved from the beginning, left the project over a year ago and wrote an entirely fictional account of its production history on his blog (it was stated very clearly in a disclaimer at the bottom of his article that it is entirely fictional and of course, the only reliable source for information about the film is the official website). His website was recently hacked and everything deleted, but the original article can still be downloaded and read here (for those who can read Russian).

For that matter, the official website of the film also disappeared from the internet sometime this year. The film was also renamed from "Krakatuk" into its current name ("Strawberry Country" in Russian is a euphemism for something or other, possibly to do with drugs...). No new trailers or posters have been put up, yet an official release date was announced. Whether it will actually be released after all this time is anybody's guess.

UPDATE 23/01/2009: Due to the company Amedia having difficulties connected to the financial crisis, the premiere of the film (which has now been revealed to have cost $5 million so far) is postponed for an indefinite period.

Here are some old trailers:

2007:
http://www.ruskino.ru/premiere/248

2004:
drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 2

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)

The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma
Новые Приключения Аленушки и Еремы
Release date: December 25, 2008 (9/2/9 update: as of Dec. 12, work on the film was not yet finished, and the only other release date I've been able to find says "2009")
Director: Georgiy Gitis
Studio: "Paradiz"
Budget: ?

A sequel coming hard on the heels of The Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma, which was the first widely-released Russian 3D feature. It must have been in production at the same time, because the first film was only released on October 23 (to generally not very great reviews). Same director, same team.

There's no trailer for this film, but here's the trailer for the first film which this one must be similar to:

drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 3

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)

The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (official website)
Про Федота-стрельца, удалого молодца
Release date: January 1, 2009 (December 18, 2008)
Director: Lyudmila Steblyanko (her first film; she had earlier directed some episodes of the TV series Luntik and His Friends)
Studio: Melnitsa Animation Studio
Budget: $2-2.5 million
84 minutes

This film is based on one of the most famous written works of the late Soviet era, the play-poem of the same name written in 1985 by Russian writer and actor Leonid Filatov. The Wikipedia entry has more information about the poem and some links to English translations (very entertaining!). The film uses digital cutout animation, a first for Russian features (though most animated Russian shorts have been using it for years now). Melnitsa's Ilya Muromets and Nightingale the Robber, released last year, was the first Russian animated feature to make a profit.

Trailer:


Lots of images & photographs here:
http://www.ctb.ru/movie/photo-gallery-list.jsp?id=1888&type=1
drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 4

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)
The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (Jan. 1, 2009) (Dec. 18, 2008)

Ivan Tsarevich and Grey Wolf
Иван Царевич и Серый Волк
Release date: February 1, 2009, though spring looks more likely 09-02-09 update: The same link now says May 28, 2009.
Director: Vladimir Toropchin (former director was Ilya Maximov, but he left the studio in September 2008)
Studio: Melnitsa Animation Studio
Budget: ?
75 minutes

In production since November 2007. Scenario by Aleksandr Boyarskiy, based on this fairy tale.



Some images from the official website: backgrounds, preliminary screenshots


(backup link in case the "backgrounds" disappear from the official site)
drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 5

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)
The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (Jan. 1, 2009) (Dec. 18, 2008)
Ivan Tsarevich and Grey Wolf (Feb. 1, 2009)

Alice's Birthday (Wikipedia, official website)
День рождения Алисы
Release date: February 19, 2009
Director: Sergey Seryogin
Studio: Master-Film
Budget: about $2 million? Looks like that number was up for a while on the Panorama site but then removed.
80 minutes

A family-friendly science fiction film which will inevitably be compared to the 1981 Mystery of the Third Planet. It is an adaptation of a story from the same series of books. The interesting visual style harkens back to late Soviet-era children’s book illustrations. According to the official website, the film is already completely finished and waiting for release visual part of the film is already completely finished, and they're now working on the sound.

Videos: Interview with the director and a video of the screening of ~20 minutes of the unfinished film in May at Eurocon with director's commentary (all in Russian)

Trailers:


(two other trailers here, an old trailer here)

Chatter: Forum devoted to this film, topic about the film at prodisney.ru
English chatter: Cartoon Brew, Twitch

Collapse )
drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 6

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)
The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (Jan. 1, 2009) (Dec. 18, 2008)
Ivan Tsarevich and Grey Wolf (Feb. 1, 2009)
Alice's Birthday (Feb. 19, 2009)

Star Dogs: Belka and Strelka (official websites: English/Russian)
Звёздные собаки Белка и Стрелка
Release date: December 31, 2009
Director: Svyatoslav Ushakov
Studio: Centre of National Film
Budget: undisclosed, but reporters have said from $2-3 million (source) to €4 million (source)

A computer-animated film featuring the eponymous Soviet space dogs. Also including rats who look like Remy from Pixar's "Ratatouille".

Trailer:
drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 7

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)
The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (Jan. 1, 2009) (Dec. 18, 2008)
Ivan Tsarevich and Grey Wolf (Feb. 1, 2009)
Alice's Birthday (Feb. 19, 2009)
Star Dogs: Belka and Strelka (Dec. 31, 2009)

Alien Pile (official website)
Чужая куча
Release date: Likely 2009
Director: Ilya Nikitin, Ilya Malkin, Pavel Sudakov
Studio: ROSPOfilm Group / STEP by STEP / "FlashCafe" Animation Studio / Studio "The 21st CREATIVE ASSOCIATION"

Budget: Undisclosed, but it's probably very low
80 minutes or 60 minutes

A Flash-animated sci-fi parody film filled with dirty humour. Currently in post-production. It's currently unclear if it's intended for a theatrical or a DVD release. (Personally, I don't have a very high opinion of what I'm seeing, but I also know that many others actually like this sort of thing)

Its title until late 2007 was "Jacked: Alien vs. the Bodies" ("Сматывай удочки, или Чужой против тел").

Here's a scene from it:


(two more scenes here and here)

There's a topic on prodisney.ru with some screenshots.
drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 8

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)
The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (Jan. 1, 2009) (Dec. 18, 2008)
Ivan Tsarevich and Grey Wolf (Feb. 1, 2009)
Alice's Birthday (Feb. 19, 2009)
Star Dogs: Belka and Strelka (Dec. 31, 2009)
Alien Pile (likely 2009)

A Room and a Half, or A Sentimental Journey to the Homeland (Russian-language "Window to Europe" profile)
Полторы комнаты, или Сентиментальное путешествие на родину
Release date: Likely 2009
Director: Andrey Khrzhanovskiy
Studio: School-Studio SHAR, Dago Co
Budget: ?
125 minutes

This is an animated documentary inspired by the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky. It is directed by Andrey Khrzhanovskiy, one of the most well-respected directors of animation from Soviet times. Since the 1990s, he has been teaching and making films at School-Studio SHAR. He's not new to animated documentaries, either; in Soviet times he directed a trilogy of animated documentaries about the great Russian poet Pushkin.

A nearly-finished version of the film was shown at "Window to Europe" in August 2008, so a release can't be far off.

This feature film is the full realization of a 26-minute pilot released back in 2002, called A Cat and a Half (Полтора кота). It can be viewed here (no English subtitles, though):

drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 9

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)
The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (Jan. 1, 2009) (Dec. 18, 2008)
Ivan Tsarevich and Grey Wolf (Feb. 1, 2009)
Alice's Birthday (Feb. 19, 2009)
Star Dogs: Belka and Strelka (Dec. 31, 2009)
Alien Pile (likely 2009)
A Room and a Half, or A Sentimental Journey to the Homeland (likely 2009)


Little Muk and the Pirates of the Caspian Sea
Маленький Мук и пираты каспийского моря
Release date: Maybe 2009
Director: Aleksandr Gorlenko
Studio: ?
Budget: ?

(screenshots at the bottom of the post)

The first time this film was mentioned online was an entry on Roman Yerokhin's LJ blog:

"I'm currently watching a secret DVD with the cartoon "Little Muk and the Pirates of the Caspian Sea" by director Aleksandr Gorlenko. The premiere "for our own and a few" happens tomorrow at VGIK. I'm acquainted with Aleksandr Gorlenko, having worked with him on "The New Bremen Musicians" for a pretty long time. His films are not very expensive and do not possess a mega-wow-factor; he always does what he himself wants, thinking everything up along the way, and loves experiments. "Little Muk" is not a short film - it is a feature! The style is horribly simple, but perhaps there is a certain charm in that. I won't judge the plot right now, since I watched disparate episodes to make some screenshots; I'd rather watch the entire film at the premiere on the big screen. It is very hard to judge such an artwork; it is offbeat. But there's a lot to like. I like Russian animation, but my first impression from what I saw was: the cartoon is somehow "drug-influenced"... :-)

It is unlikely to gain a wide release. Its fate is DVD."

And a bit later, Roman posted a review of the film:

"The premiere of Little Muk didn't take place after all; they moved it to an unspecified time. Well, we'll live.
To be honest, I love unusual approaches and experimental animation, but not when it ruins my impressions.

Having watching Little Muk on DVD, I did not find myself in any sort of awe. No joy from the visuals, nor from the sound decisions, nor from the direction as a whole. It is a children's tale created in a children's fashion mixed in with things unsuitable for children, things like smoking and candid behaviour, lead me to just one question: "Who is this cartoon made for, and why was it made at all?". This question is also my summary.

By the way, there is no dialogue in the film. There are sniffles, growls, squeals, cries..
A silent film. One of the idiosyncracities, which, like the others, leaves behind no positive emotions."

At the prodisney.ru forums (where this film generated a lot of discussion), Aleksandra Yevseyeva showed screens of previous version of the film. Apparently the film had a pretty long history, and started out promisingly:


Some quotes from her post:
"The characters, as can be seen, were not separate from the background before, but were part of the overall 'colour'. There was even texture layered onto them. Then the money began to run out, and they starting putting the texture on badly, and then not at all."
"I don't know about the second, but the first "Baghdad" film had dialogue. Although mostly only one character spoke; the camel. Mikhalych himself voiced him, and did this in an absolutely genial way. The other voices induced quiet horror in quite the literal sense. :o) Later, it seems, they decided to completely cheap out..."

This is what the film looks like now:

drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 10

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)
The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (Jan. 1, 2009) (Dec. 18, 2008)
Ivan Tsarevich and Grey Wolf (Feb. 1, 2009)
Alice's Birthday (Feb. 19, 2009)
Star Dogs: Belka and Strelka (Dec. 31, 2009)
Alien Pile (likely 2009)
A Room and a Half, or A Sentimental Journey to the Homeland (likely 2009)
Little Muk and the Pirates of the Caspian Sea (maybe 2009)

Kin-dza-dza-dza! (Russian Wikipedia article)
Кин-дза-дза-дза!
Release date: 2010 (source)
Director: Tatyana Ilyina
Production company: "Ritm"
Budget: despite reports of "(3 million rubles)" the producer was quoted as saying that it's at least a few million dollars
100 minutes

A 2D animated re-imagining of a 1986 classic Soviet sci-fi comedy called Kin-dza-dza!. Georgi Daneliya, who directed the original film, is heavily involved.
The pre-production period lasted from February 12, 2005 to May 2008. For more information, look at the Russian wikipedia article; it seems to be kept up to date.

Video: Russian news report with some clips of the animation

Some concept art:




drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 11

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)
The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (Jan. 1, 2009) (Dec. 18, 2008)
Ivan Tsarevich and Grey Wolf (Feb. 1, 2009)
Alice's Birthday (Feb. 19, 2009)
Star Dogs: Belka and Strelka (Dec. 31, 2009)
Alien Pile (likely 2009)
A Room and a Half, or A Sentimental Journey to the Homeland (likely 2009)
Little Muk and the Pirates of the Caspian Sea (maybe 2009)
Kin-dza-dza-dza! (2010)

The Ugly Duckling
Гадкий утенок
Release date: ~2011 (source: Aug. 15 interview)
Director: Garri Bardin
Studio: Stayer Studio
Budget: $2.5 million (source: Aug. 15 interview)
75 minutes (or 85 minutes according to above interview)

Garri Bardin is one of the best Russian directors of animation, although many of his stop motion puppet-animated films seem to be more successful outside of Russia than within it. Like Aleksandr Tatarskiy, he led an independent animation studio through the 1990s and created many films that won top awards at international film festivals. "The Ugly Duckling" is his first feature film, and though no screenshots or video have been released, work on it is ongoing despite a difficult funding situation.

bardingadkiy.jpg (35 KB)
Bardin crafting a cow from the film (image from official website)

This is the message that has been up on Bardin's rarely-updated official website since 2006:

Dear businessmen!
Owners of factories, newspapers, and steamboats!
Doubtless some of you are also fathers and mothers and grandparents!
I, Garri Bardin, director of animated films, appeal to you.

Often are we forced to exclaim: "Goodness, what nonsense is shown to our children!"
The very minute that you began reading my letter, an opportunity was opened to you to change this situation; perhaps not cordially, but to the best of our abilities.
This year I have begun creating the animated feature film "The Ugly Duckling". What influenced me to choose this tale by Hans Christian Andersen? Worry.
In our multinational country there is a growing intolerance to people who are not like others, who speak other languages and have different beliefs. This emerging xenophobia is beneficial to some people for their narrow political goals. Children should not be exposed to this. They can still be taught to live with everyone across the world in peace and friendship!

I have written a script based on this tale by H. C. Andersen. The film will run for 75 minutes; 56 of these will be accompanied by the wonderful music of Tchaikovsky, from the ballets "Swan Lake" and "The Nutcracker", arranged for the film by S. Anashkin. The sound was recorded by the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia under the baton of Vladimir Spivakov. The lyrics were written by the wonderfull poet Yuliy Kim, and were sung by V. Kachan, Y. Rutberg, S. Stepchenko and the choir of Mikhail Turetskiy. The talented artist Kirill Chelushkin is attached to the film.
The film will be sad, and happy, and touching. Different techniques will be used in the filming: puppets, clay, marionettes. The film is expected to be finished in 2008.

I plan to begin shooting in autumn, 2006. Everything is ready for this: a wonderfull soundtrack, high-quality storyboards and characters, and a professional team from the studio "Stayer", which I have led for fifteen years.

The Russian Ministry of Culture is ready to finance one third of the film's budget. The other two thirds I will search for and, I hope, find.
The "Garri Bardin Fund" has been created especially for this project, to store money which is necessary for the creation of the film. If you are ready to participate in this project, I invite you to do so.
Believe me, this money will not be used by me for personal enrichment.

A big thank you in advance,

Garri Bardin

phone/fax: +7 (495) 167.01.54
E-mail: garry@bardin.ru


From an article about the effect of the economic crisis on Russian animation published on October 30, 2008:

Director-animator Garri Bardin has been working on the animated feature "The Ugly Duckling" for two years. A third of the film is financed by the Ministry of Culture, and the final part of the funding is to come in 2009.

"The crisis cannot but worry me," admits Garri Bardin. "There are people walking behind me whom I must feed. Nobody knows right now how the economy will behave itself, and we're trying to stay alive in this new system."
drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 12

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)
The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (Jan. 1, 2009) (Dec. 18, 2008)
Ivan Tsarevich and Grey Wolf (Feb. 1, 2009)
Alice's Birthday (Feb. 19, 2009)
Star Dogs: Belka and Strelka (Dec. 31, 2009)
Alien Pile (likely 2009)
A Room and a Half, or A Sentimental Journey to the Homeland (likely 2009)
Little Muk and the Pirates of the Caspian Sea (maybe 2009)
Kin-dza-dza-dza! (2010)
The Ugly Duckling (~2011)

Blue Beard
Синяя Борода
Release date: ?
Director: Sergey Oliferenko
Studio: United Multimedia Projects
Budget: $3 million
90 minutes

This is another project by the studio responsible for the recent feature Granny Yozhka and Others (which won the top award in its category and 11th place in the jury rating at the 2008 ORFoAF). However, this isn't a new project. Something was already completed in 2002, albeit under two different directors (Sergey Karpov and Sergey Sokolyuk). Still, as of 2008, UMP's website lists this film as being in production, and with the success of their earlier film perhaps some day we'll see a release after all. Producer Sergey Karpov said in a February 2008 interview: "It is already in production. A demo-reel will soon be released, on the basis of which the film community will be able to form a firm impression about what exactly we are doing".

Paraphrasing Action Magazine's overview from 2006:
The famous director and animator Sergey Olifirenko, known for the cult 1981 puppet-animated film "Bibigon", is working on a new project named "Blue Beard". The pre-production period has recently ended. It is based on the famous tales by the French master of children's horror Charles Perrault, and will become the first animated film in Russia to be released in IMAX 3D. Currently there's only one such theatre in Russia, but regular 35mm prints of the film will also be given to regular theatres. Besides this, according to producer Sergey Karpov, the project is interesting because despite the heavy use of computer animation, all of the characters will be real puppets. Despite the fact that the production period of the film will be 28 months, a distributor has already almost been found. It will probably be the company "Central Partnership", with which UMP is already working on the project "Granny Yozhka and Others". "Blue Beard is a real mystical thriller for adults," says Sergey Karpov,"it is filmed like a real film with close-ups and mid-range shots. That's why the budget is $3 million." Besides Oliferenko, the artist Arkadiy Melik-Sarkisyan, camera operator Valeriy Ryabin and others are working on the film. It is expected that the film will be released in 2007-2008.

And let's go a bit further back in time. Here's something from 2002:



The literary foundation of this animated project is the tale "Blue Beard" by Charles Perrault, but it is significantly reworked and altered. The events take place in France in the middle of the 15th century. The spirit, mood, achitecture and interiors of this era must be historically accurate, but the appearance of the protagonists and their clothes must be in accordance with, understood by, and close to our contemporaries (we are talking here not of modern clothes, but of very accurate and detailed stylization). Special attention must be given to plasticity of movement with can be gotten only by thorough work by the animator and by future processing through a computer (examples include films like "The Nightmare Before Christmas" by director Henry Selick, and "The Periwig-Maker" by German director Steffen Schäffler, 1999).

The project's creators have developed this puppet-animated film while using the latest computer 3D-graphics technologies, but on the foundation of the principal use of hand-made animation techniques, and construction of real interiors. At the same time, the computer is a tool for fixing artistic and technical challenges. The film will be shot in the Digital Film format of HD24p.

There is a direct rationale for this; computer graphics and processing will be present in 90% of the film.

The use of HDCAM 24P raises the level of quality to an even higher platform, to the level of 35mm film. The 24P format will lead to a merging of digital video technology with film production. It opens new artistic possibility for film thanks to the use of flexible television methods of filming and composing film combined with their later transmission to film stock for demonstration in existing film theatres.

Our goal:
To create a highly artistic work of film art which is able to compete with the best analogous productions in the Russian and international markets. To develop and create technologies, programs and a collective of like-minded people for creating quality new puppet-animated films. It is possible to continue on to other tales of Charles Perrault (another 2 films of 26 minutes each).
drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 13

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)
The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (Jan. 1, 2009) (Dec. 18, 2008)
Ivan Tsarevich and Grey Wolf (Feb. 1, 2009)
Alice's Birthday (Feb. 19, 2009)
Star Dogs: Belka and Strelka (Dec. 31, 2009)
Alien Pile (likely 2009)
A Room and a Half, or A Sentimental Journey to the Homeland (likely 2009)
Little Muk and the Pirates of the Caspian Sea (maybe 2009)
Kin-dza-dza-dza! (2010)
The Ugly Duckling (~2011)
Blue Beard (????)

New Buttermilk Village (official website (Russian))
Новое Простоквашино
Release date: ?
Director: Yelena Barinova
Studio: Soyuzmultfilm
Budget: 6 million rubles for first 26 minutes
~78 minutes

Some images:


(source)

(source)

A feature-length sequel to the trilogy of Buttermilk village films released in 1978, 1980 and 1984. Based on "Uncle Fyodor's Aunt", a 1995 book by Eduard Uspenskiy; a follow-up to the original stories written by that same well-known children's writer. It is being made as three 26-minute films, to be later combined together.
The first 26-minute part of the film is already finished, but the future of the project is unclear; writer Eduard Uspenskiy decided to leave to project in October 2008:
http://www.rbcdaily.ru/2008/10/15/media/385478

"As the screenplay was not finished, finalized and officially turned over for their use by me, the agreement between myself and the Creative Studio Soyuzmultfilm is null and void."

Mr. Uspenskiy says that the conflict arose because of a letter sent from Deputy Russian Minister of Culture Aleksandr Golutva on Sept. 10, 2008, where it is written that all the rights to the animated film belong to the organization which is responsible for shooting it. In this case it is "Soyuzmultfilm". "They're trying to take our characters away from us," exclaims Eduard Uspenskiy, "and my decision is a reaction to the Ministry's letter."

The writer Grigoriy Oster figures that Golutva's letter is missing the position of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic of 1964, where it was said regarding script authors and other persons that "the copyright belongs to each of them for their own work". "And so, the Deputy Minister of Culture with one letter transferred all the archive reels and rights to all the characters made at Soyuzmultfilm even in Soviet times to the Creative Studio Soyuzmultfilm," objects Mr. Oster.

Akop Kirakosyan, director of Soyuzmultfilm, does not plan to stop work on the film: "We are carrying out the governmental order and making the film. All our documents are in correct order with the government. It gave us resources with which we are making "New Buttermilk Village". According to Kirakosyan, Uspenskiy had an agreement with Soyuzmultfilm for which he was paid. "We have completely settled our debts with him and are now making the film. Uspenskiy is a writer, an author of the screenplay, and no more than this," says Kirakosyan."


P.S. Via 63koval, a symptom of the original films' high popularity:

(a statue recently erected near Moscow)
drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 14

Previously:
Our Masha in the Strawberry Country (Dec. 18, 2008)
The New Adventures of Alyonushka and Yeryoma (Dec. 25, 2008)
The Tale of Fedot the Strelets (Jan. 1, 2009) (Dec. 18, 2008)
Ivan Tsarevich and Grey Wolf (Feb. 1, 2009)
Alice's Birthday (Feb. 19, 2009)
Star Dogs: Belka and Strelka (Dec. 31, 2009)
Alien Pile (likely 2009)
A Room and a Half, or A Sentimental Journey to the Homeland (likely 2009)
Little Muk and the Pirates of the Caspian Sea (maybe 2009)
Kin-dza-dza-dza! (2010)
The Ugly Duckling (~2011)
Blue Beard (????)
New Buttermilk Village (????)

There are at least 10 feature films left to cover still (including such worthy projects as Gofmaniada and The Overcoat), but I don't have time to do them justice right now so I'll get to them in a few days. This is it for now.

Mad Hair
Безумные волосы
Release date: ?
Director: Yelena Chernova, Aleksandr Tatarskiy (deceased)
Studio: Pilot Studio
Budget: ?
? minutes

This film was started by the late Aleksandr Tatarskiy about 11 years ago, and production was in full swing for the last few years. A 2008 release was planned. It is about two detectives, an American crocodile and his short, balding, English partner. And there's also an interesting spy who's the villain. It is set in 1944 in London and the small (fictional?) Scottish town of Saint Georgia near Loch Ness (source). A chemist creates an invention for growing hair, but his invention goes awry and now all of London is overgrowing with hair. Beyond that, no details of the plot have been revealed.

Production was in full swing before Tatarskiy died last year. Since then, his former studio has commited to finishing all of his projects, and the director in his place is Yelena Chernova, director of the wonderful short film Hare the Servant (unsubtitled video here). Igor Kovalyov says that this film uses some of the characters from Tatarskiy's "Train Arrival", an unfinished feature started in 1986.

Here's some news reportage about the film from December 2007, with many pictures and some animation samples (at the end they say that there's not enough funding to finish the film, but they're continuing to work on it anyway):

(in case the video's taken down from Youtube, here's another link - click on one of the buttons below the photograph to see the video)