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 Lev Atamanov

Born:   21 February 1905
Deceased:   12 February 1981

one of the foremost Soviet animation film directors


Lev Konstantinovich Atamanov was born on 21 February 1905 in Moscow.

In 1926 he finished the first state films school, where he studied under film director Lev Kuleshov. From 1927 he was engaged in filming, first as an assistant director, then as an animation artist and an animator, and from 1931 as an animation film director.

Atamanov was one of the founders of Soviet animation art. First he directed animation agitation posters and films. Afterwards he shifted to making children’s films after Russian, Armenian, Chinese, Indian and Danish fairy tales. He was the first director of Armenian animation cinematography. From 1936 he worked at Erevan Film Studio, where he directed the first Armenian sound animation, The Dog and the Cat (Shunn u Katun) after Tumanian’s fable, in 1938, and The Magic Carpet (Kakhardakan gorg) in 1948.

He worked at the “Soyuzmultfilm” studio and directed there a number of fairy films, such as The Yellow Stork (Zheltyy aist) (1950, after a Chinese folk tale, Prize of the International Film Festival in Deli), Scarlet Flower (Alenkiy tsvetochek) (1952, after a Russian fairy tale), and The Golden Antelope (1954, after Indian tales, special prize of the 8th International Film Festival in Cannes in 1955, prizes of the International Film Festival in Belgrade in 1956).

His full-length animation The Snow Queen (Snezhnaya koroleva) (1957, after Andersen’s tale) took the First Prize among children’s films at the International Film Festival in Venice in 1957, was awarded with a special prize at the First All-Union Festival in Moscow and acknowledged as the best film of the year at the IFF in London in 1959.

In 1959 Atamanov together with the film directors Dmitri Babichenko and Ivan Ivanov-Vano took part in creation of the circle panorama “Road of Spring”. Among the best of Atamanov’s films there was also The Key (Klyuch) (1961), a modern satirical fairy tale, in which various notions of happiness are opposed to each other. In his works Lev Atamanov subtly conveys the national colouring of fairy tales and combines romantic elation in images of positive characters with warm and kind humor.

Lev Atamanov died on 12 February 1981.

Tags: Russian animators Russian directors Russian cinema   

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