November 24th, 2008

drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 16

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 (????)
Mad Hair (????)
Gofmaniada (maybe 2009)

Peregrine or Sapsan
Сапсан
Release date: March 19, 2009 (according to a source from 2007; however, not many places mention this date now)
Directors: Vaksim and Vadim Smeshnikov
Studios: Era Vodoleya, Central Partnership
Budget: $2.5 million "or a little more" (source), or $3 million (source)

First of all, before I write anything else, please watch this teaser. It is very epic and really shows what this film is about. :)


(download here)
(ok, I'm pretty sure that that was a joke...)

Here's a nice English-language article about this film. I'll just quote a section of it:

In March, the Central Partnership group of companies signed an agreement with the Era Vodoleya Producers Center to produce a feature-length 3D animated film with the working title Peregrine (Sapsan). The story is about Mitya, a peregrine falcon nestling. Through a twist of fate, he ends up with a family of pigeons who adopt him as one of their own and instill in him a love of soccer. The soccer matches, which are integral to the plot, feature running commentary by Goose and Duck characters, who are voiced by Viktor Gusev and Vasily Utkin, two well-known sports TV journalists. Mitya and the pigeon Gala are voiced by Konstantin Khabensky and Renata Litvinova respectively. The film is written and directed by the brothers Maxim and Vadim Sveshnikov. Art direction duties went to Artur Mirzoyan. As of this writing, the film is currently in production. It is slated for a late 2008 – early 2009 release. The film’s budget is $2.5 million with Central Partnership contributing more than $1 million.

Apparently, there's also some "Romeo and Juliet" mixed in. "All the voice actors believe that it will be a great success".

According to JHP from the animator.ru forums, this project is currently "in a state of collapse and may not come out", which might explain the lack of any news articles mentioning it from the second half of the year. Well, we'll wait and see.



More images here and here.
drawing, old man

Overview of upcoming Russian animated features: part 17

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 (????)
Mad Hair (????)
Gofmaniada (maybe 2009)
Sapsan (possibly March 19, 2009)

The Pirates of Treasure Island (official website, Russian official website)
Пираты острова сокровищ
Release date: Maybe 2010 (source)
Director: David Cherkasskiy
Studio: Babich Design, Star Media (production company)
Budget: $1.7 million according to wild speculation by a newspaper
90 or 95 minutes (different numbers on Russian/English official sites)

A Ukrainian-Russian co-production; the animation will be generally done in Ukraine, while the actors will be Russian.

This one still has a long way to go; the screenplay was just finished on November 18, 2008, and the pre-production period is now beginning. This is a remake, or re-imagining (or whatever) of the 2-part 1988 Soviet animated feature Treasure Island.

This is typical of what happens to animation under capitalism; searching for a sure thing, investors get a 76-year-old veteran to come out of retirement and make again the same popular film that he already made 20 years ago. Now, personally, I don't really see the point. Why not just re-release the original film? That would be the ultimate "sure thing". And it would be a lot cheaper. But if you're going to make a film, why not make something new? Cherkasskiy has a proven track record, after all.

So can anything good possibly come of this?

There are a few precedents that I can think of:

The bad one: Cat City 2 (2007), a poor sequel released 21 years after the original "Cat City", one of the classics of Hungarian animation. Same director for both films.

The not-so-bad one: The Humpbacked Horse (1975 vs. 1947). Ivanov-Vano remade his classic film in 1975 because the 1947 film was in terrible condition and nobody knew how to restore it at that time. The 1975 version generally has better direction (more logical scene constructions), but the animation quality is sometimes a lot worse. So it's questionable which version is better. Most people would probably say 1947 because the brilliant animation sequences are so easy to remember.

Anyway, back to some details about the film:
-It will "probably be made in Flash animation" according to director of the studio Valeriy Babich (the studio previously worked along with 13 other studios on the "Night Watch" films). David Cherkasskiy, despite not understanding how they work, is apparently the one who insisted on using the latest technology to save on time and effort.
-Most of the characters will be the same, but some will be changed into animals, and there may also be some parodying of recent Hollywood blockbusters such as "Pirates of the Caribbean".
-Another quote from Mr. Babich: "There will be a lot of action and lively activity, but the foundation and characters will still be closer to the traditions under which the first two-part "Treasure Island" was made. One of the goals is to not lose the characters which were drawn by David Cherkasskiy"
-A teaser is apparently already produced, though I can't find it anywhere

Still, I must admit that I really like the first of these concept art sketches.

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