A poetic view of Russian animation and of cultural and social transformations Russian society has been gone through.
It is about multi faceted and humorous animation, almost never exposed to western eyes.
In 1935, three Walt Disney films were screened in Moscow. Fyodor Khytruk, then a young art student, saw these films and didn’t believe his eyes; he was convinced that he had seen a miracle unfolding before him. What he didn’t know was that one day he himself would become one of the greats of Russian animation. Through his personal story, we discover a magical art form that remained closed behind the Iron Curtainfor decades.
Compared to the other arts – especially literature and Cinema – the animated films, considered a children’s art form, passed relatively easily through the strict censorship of the Soviet Union. Like all Soviet institutions, the animation studios Soyuzmultfilm enjoyed full government support, a fact that provided the artists with generous production budgets as well as distribution in 112,000 cinemas around the USSR. This situation allowed for the development of a tradition of animation style that was not only for children.
Magia Russica moves between the sights and sounds of the Russian landscape, and into those of the animated films themselves. The films reflected not only the difficult though humor-filled Soviet experience, but also the rich cultural heritage of Russia, with Pushkin as its spiritual father.
Today, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, as Russia makes thetransition into capitalism, the animation artists discover that the rules of the market and ratings are not necessarily less restrictivethan ideological censorship.
In a rare look into the artistic process, at the creation of magic, the artists share their ideas about art, about cinema and about the way in which these should be related to. Magia Russica is guided by the spirit of their words.
Channel 8 Israel
Parliamentary Channel Greece
TV Cultura Brazil
Directors and Producers Yonathan & Masha Zur
Producers in Russia Elena Kassavina, Natalya Chernishova
Cinematography Yonathan Zur, Anton Mikhalev
Interviews Masha Zur
Editing Yonathan Zur
Sound Editing Aric Deri
Participants Fyodor Khitruk, Yuri Norstein, Eduard Nazarov, Garri Bardin, Joseph Boyarsky, Alexander Tatarsky, Danny Mendelevich, Felix Kandel, Alexander Kurliandsky
World Sales Cinephil
Poster and credits’ illustrations design Irene Bat-Zvi
Haifa International Film Festival Israel 2004 – competition
It’s All True Brazil 2005 – competition
Mediawave Hungary 2005
Gibara Cuba 2005 – competition
Dokfest munchen Germany 2005
Annecy (Animation festival) France 2005
Art Film Festival Slovak Rep. 2005
Anima Mundi Brazil 2005
CAF animation Korea 2005
Fantoche (Animation festival) Switzerland 2005
Umea International Film Festival Sweden 2005
Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated films Germany 2005
Cork International Film Festival Ireland 2005
Leeds International Film Festival UK 2005
Kassel Dokumentar Film und Videofest Germany 2005
International Film Festival of Mar Del Plata Argentina 2005 – competition
Cracow Animation Festival Poland 2005
Talin Black Nights Film Festival Estonia 2005
Anima (Animation festival) Belgium 2006
ReAnimacja (Animation festival) Poland 2006
BIMINI (Animation festival) Latvia 2006
Gottingen International Film Festival Germany 2006
Zlin children film festival Czech rep. 2006
Animafest Zagreb Croatia 2006
Hiroshima International Animation Festival Japan2006
Taiwan International Animation Festival China 2006
Dani Filma Bosnia & Herzegovina 2006 – competition
AFO International Film Festival Czech rep. 2006 – competition
International Animation Festival Istanbul Turkey 2006
Les Nuits Magiques France 2006
Multivision International animation Film Festival Russia 2006
VIEWS OF THE WORLD Documentary & Animated F.F Cyprus2007
DOKUBAZAAR Slovenia 2009
Hermitage Museum in Amsterdam The Netherlands 2011