BACKGROUND ON ANIMATION FILM IN AZERBAIJAN

Creation of animation film in Azerbaijan goes to the early 1930s. Yet in 1933 employees of Azerbaijanfilm studio carried out preparation works to produce this type of cinema, purchased necessary materials from Moscow. The same year they used technical animation in production of documentaries ‘Lokbatan’ and ‘Oil Symphony’ (director B.Pumpyansky). Animation was fully used in educational film ‘Jat’ (director Basov) that was shown on the all-union screens by 1938. Just after release of this film a group of initiators at the studio decided to create an animation film for the first time. Theme for the film was taken from Azeri folk stories. Screenplay ‘Unhappiness of Abbas’, which was written by A.Papov, was directed by young director E.Dikaryov. Film’s art directors were G.Khalygov, J.Zeynalov, M.Magomayev and A.Mirzayev, director of photography G.Yegiazarov.

Not long before Great Patriotic War the studio was going to make the second animation film ‘Syndbad is sea traveler’ that was going to be the sound film. But start of the war left the works incomplete.

After that, the studio used animation pictures in making of hundreds of popular science films and documentaries. Artists J.Zeynalov, M.Refiyev, A.Akhundov, N.Mammadov, B.Aliyev, director of trick photography A.Milov partook in production of these films.

In the late 60s the studio was provided with facilities to make animation films. A group of 20 artists was created, a special course opened to learn secrets of the animation.

After the animation film shop was restored in 1968 at J.Jabbarly Azerbaijanfilm film studio director A.Isgandarov paid attention to commissioning of the shop and training of personnel in animation films and production of animation films.

Lastly, on February 28, 1969 production of animation film ‘Jyrtdan’ motived by the same-titled folk story was completed. ‘Jyrtdan’ was the first film made after restoration of the animation film shop at the film studio. In 1969 the film was released and for long time was shown at the cinemas. So, production of ‘Jyrtdan’ started the second era of history of animation film in Azerbaijan.

Over 20 animation films were produced in the 70s at animation film section of the film studio. In 1970 animators made 3 animation films, 2 of which were microfilms ‘Bear and mouse’ (director N.Mammadov) and ‘Lion and bull’ (director A.Akhundov). The latter was included in all-union anthology ‘Kaleidoscope-71’. The third one is color cell application ‘Fitne’ (director A.Akhundov) made in base of motives of the same-titled story-novel by genius Azeri poet Nizami Ganjavi. The image was developed by artist E.Rzaguliyev in style of Azeri miniature of middle ages.

Original plastic solution is specific for works of director A.Akhundov such as ‘Ms Beetle and Mr Mouse’ (1974) and ‘Chickens’ (1980). ‘Fox on pilgrimage’ made in 1971 upon the same-titled work of A.Shaig (director N.Mammadov, B.Aliyev) is one of the most interesting works. Puppet film ‘Son of jackal’ directed in 1972 by M.Refiyev is the first and only wide-screen animation film of Azerbaijan.

A big group of artist-animators (M.Refiyev, A.Akhundov, N.Mammadov, M.Panahi, B.Aliyev, H.Akbarov, F.Guliyeva, A.Mammadov) was involved in making of films.

Film ‘Why cloud cries’ (1973) by M.Panahi is motived by national folk. Solution of the picture is based on the classic eastern miniature. The film was awarded the first prize of VII All-Union Baku Film Festival in 1974.

Film ‘New adventures of Jyrtdan’ (1973) was made for small children. Directors N.Mammadov and B.Aliyev managed to organically use fantastic motives of folklore and modernity. Film-story ‘Princess – black gold’ made by these directors in 1974 poetically talks about production of black gold from the bottom of the earth and sea.

Animations ‘One fine day’ (1975), ‘Jingle, my saz, jingle’ (1976), ‘Paw…Ear…Carpet…Thorn’ (1976) by M.Panahi reflect instructive issues.

In film ‘King and servant’ (1976) sourced by Nizami Ganjavi director N.Mammadov animated a story of faithful servant and cruel king.

In film ‘Create your desire (1977) directed by F.Gurbanova in mix technique an experiment was conducted using an actor and animation. It can also be called a film-video.

These years, director H.Akbarov independently created 2 films – ‘Stone’ (1977) and ‘Baby of hedgehog and apple’ (1977). The first one considered for adults calls the nations of the world for solidarity to ban the wars and establish the peace. The second film invites to the protection of the nature.

Animation and cell animation films ‘Toplan and its shade’ (1977), ‘Latecomer disappointment’ (1978) and ‘Enchanted jug’ (1979) by director N.Mammadov talks about charity, diligence, respect to the adult and other human qualities.

Animation film ‘Legend of Maiden Tower’ (1978) was created upon motives of folk legend of Azerbaijan.

In the 80s the film studio produced 38 animation films, including ‘Chickens’, ‘Man is coming to the forest’, ‘Magic tree’, ‘Stack’, ‘Naughty rabbit’, ‘Trunk’, ‘You are such little’, ‘Magic kerchief’, ‘Flying giraffe’, ‘Strange dragon’, ‘Pursue’, ‘Time to sleep’, ‘Little herdsman’, ‘Dream of Humay’, ‘Adventures of silent Yon’, ‘Mother perched on the tree’, cell animation films ‘Well and evil’, ‘Jyrtdan-Wrestler’, ‘Child and wind’, ‘New Year Incident’, ‘Magic patterns’.

In early the 80s director A.Akhundov made an animation film ‘Chickens’ that was hit.

Cell animation film ‘Well and evil’ motived by same-titled work of N.Ganjavi (director N.Mammadov) was made for adults. The film talks of charity of Well in arid desert and hostility of Evil.

Cell animation film ‘Aquarium’ directed by F.Gurbanova is poetic film made by use of trick photography. Except cell animation characters, there is an actor playing in the film. The film was awarded the diploma of the jury of II All-Russian Contest of documentaries and popular science films on nature protection and effective use of its resources held in 1984 in Murmansk, Russia, and Honor Diploma of RSFSR State Cinematography Committee.

Semi-salient puppet was for the first time used in the film studio in film ‘Pupil of astrologer’ (director A.Maharramov). The film, made upon folk stories, talks about a teen wanting to get wealth by easy ways and having got into ridiculous situations because of gluttony.

Film ‘An evening…’ by director and artist F.Gurbanova is the animation, mix, eclair film. Specific style solution and successful music strengthens the public pathos of this film against drunkenness and alcoholism. There is actor play and scenes made by pictures in the film where the events happen in an ordinary room, in front of eyes of the 8-year-old girl. The film got in 1986 the special prize of the jury of XIX All-Union Alma-Ata Film Festival for original solution of the important theme.

Production of animation films continued in the 80s, ones such ‘Spring games’, ‘Story of pomegranate tree’, ‘Anecdote’, ‘Beardless came’, ‘Chrysanthemum leave’, ‘Difficult issue’, ‘Desires…desires’, ‘Selfish baby of elephant’, ‘House in glade’ etc were made.

But artistic quality of Azeri animation films was not in the same level and there were several reasons: personnel professionalism, lack of technical appliances, in particular colors.

Influence of public-political processes ongoing in the country in the 80s on all spheres, including the creative organizations, intention of Azerbaijanfilm to transfer into the new work style stimulated independent actions of unions and sections of the studio. In April 1990 Azerbaijan animators transferred to the rent form of economy for the first time in Soviet Union. Title of the animation film shop was replaced by Azanfilm Creative-Production Union. Azanfilm means Azerbaijan animation films.

In the 90s Azanfilm made 19 animation films, including ‘Once somewhere …’ (director V.Talybov), ‘Dedication’ (director S.Najafzade), ‘Ode’ (director ), ‘’ (director V.Talybov, R.Ismailov), ‘Epos of Serkey’ (director A.Maharramov), ‘Lovely Fatma’ , ‘Caravan’ (director N.Mammadov), ‘Mirror’, ‘Sea journey’, ‘Hope’ (director E.Akhundov), ‘Sohbatul-esmar’ (director E.Hami), ‘Shuala’ (director T.Piriyev).

‘Somewhere once…’ is political satire. Director V.Talybov received prize and diploma of 1993 Baku II Festival-Contest of Azerbaijan films for the best animation film.

Cell animation film ‘Dedication’ is dedicated to the victims of Stalin repression. In 1991 the film was awarded the diploma of Oberhauzen International Film Festival, the most successful debut prize of Kiev KROK-91 International Animation Film Federation (ASIFA) Festival and the best animation film prize of ‘Vision from East’ Baku International Film Festival.

Ode of joy from the 9th symphony of Beethoven is played in ‘Ode’ that reflects philosophical ideas about meaning of the life and creativity.

‘Hope’ made in base of motives of ‘Terrifying stories’ of S.S.Akhundov brought money reward and prize to director E.Akhundov in Film Festival ‘Our Unknown Cinema-2’.

Cell animation film ‘Sohbatul-esmar’ is dedicated to the 500th birth of genius poet of Azerbaijan M.Fuzuli. The film is inspired mainly by works of miniature-artist Soltan Mahammad Tebrizi. Director Elchin Hami Akhundov received prize and diploma of 1995 Baku III Festival-Contest of Azerbaijan films for the best animation film.

‘Caravan’, motived by ‘Caravan’ of composer Soltan Hajybeyov, consists of 3 novels, the first of which talks about ancient habitation Gobustan, the second East and woman, the third the 20 January and Khojaly tragedies.