Azerbaijan’s Animation Films: Today and Yesterday

The creation of animation films in Azerbaijan dates back to the early 1930s. As early as 1933, the crew at Azerbaijanfilm Studio, the leading film production company in Azerbaijan, had done preparatory work to produce this kind of cinema and imported necessary equipment from Moscow. In that same year they produced the documentaries, ‘Lokbatan’ and ‘Oil Symphony’, by using the technical animation. It was fully used in the educational film ‘Jat’ that was shown on the all-union screens by 1938. 

The studio had been preparing to produce the second animation ‘Sindbad the Sailor’ just before the Great Patriotic War, which was to be a sound animation. But with the descent into war, the production of the film remained unfinished.

Later on the studio used animation pictures for producing hundreds of popular science films and documentaries. 

On February 28, 1969, the production of the animation ‘Jyrtdan’ based on the Azerbaijani folk story of the same name was completed. Jyrtdan was the first film produced once the animation film shop at the film studio was reconstructed. In 1969 the film was released and had remained a staple on screens for long time. With the production of Jyrtdan, Azerbaijan saw a booming animation film industry.  

Another animation film ‘The Bear and the Mouse’ was produced in 1970.  Mammadov was the director and animated cartoon artist.  

Elchin Hami Akhundov, Director of Azanfilm Studio, shares his viewpoints on the animation audience, especially about the impact of cartoons on kids: “Today we don’t have enough Azerbaijani animations, therefore our little audience have to watch ones produced in Russia, Turkey or other countries. Animation films play a more significant role in upbringing children. Children watch TV channels every day. So we can raise our kids in a spirit of patriotism and respect for our country through producing our own national animations.”  

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