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Alexander Petrov

Petrov Alexander Konstantinovich – director, designer animator, academician of  the Academy of Arts

Petrov Alexander Konstantinovich – director, designer animator, academician of  the Academy of Arts

Born on July, 17 in year 1957 in Gureyevo rustic unit, not far from Prechistoye village, Pervomaisk area in Yaroslavl region. His mother, Liya Alexandrovna, was a sales worker by profession; his father, Konstantin Dmitriyevich, was a driver. Soon after the birth of Alexander the family moved to Yaroslavl, where he attended school #15.

According to his relatives stories, his first prize – photo camera Smena – future owner of the Oscar Award won when he was ten years old, in the local competition of drawings on the asphalt named Let the Sun Always Shine!

Once the teacher of Physical Education L. Fadeyeva proposed her pupil to decorate the school gym with the drawings of sportsmen. At that time greeting cards were a rare thing to see, that is why Alexander Konstntinovich began copying the pictures from the stamps. He worked hard for a long time, than Alexander looked forward to the end of the summer, because wanted his friends to see his work. Alexander was excited; he dreamt that the school was painted in green. Under the direction of V. N. Chernenko, the teacher of French, Alexander drew the emblems and flags for the club of international friendship. Every teacher recollects in his mind that Alexander Konstantinovich was a quiet, calm person, he liked to draw, attended school at Yaroslavl Art College, where he was taken after finishing the 9-th grade.

One day Alexander celebrated the New Year in the company of his classmates and fell in love with Natasha Malacheval. They got married. Natasha had become not only a wife, but also a friend, companion-in-arms; for her husband’s and children’s sake sacrificed her carrier and thesis.

In 1976 Petrov graduated from the Yaroslavl Art College. In 1982 – art department of National Cinematography University (Ivan Ivanov-Vano studio). His graduate work in NCU were sketches for the film created with a pencil (propter delictum Divine Comedy by Dante). Unfortunately, it has never been ‘brought to life’.

Alexander worked with animation beginning with 1981. His son Dima became seriously ill and family moved to the South. Worked as a production designer of animated films on such studios as Armanfilm in Yerevan (1981-1982) and on Sverdlovsk film studio in Yekaterinburg (1982-1992). Before filming his own motions, Petrov worked as a production designer with Vladimir Petkevich.

In 1987-1988 Alexander Petrov was engaged in the courses for scriptwriters and directors, were he was under the tutorship of Fedor Khitruk. Petrov is a constant participant of film festivals where he was awarded for many times.

Beginning with April, 19 2008 is an academician of the Art Academy. He is the only academician animator.

Creativity

As the characteristic feature of animator’s works one can name the technique of ‘revived pictures’. Technique in which Alexander Petrov works is incredibly complicated, and is called ‘finger pictures’ – i.e. that he works not on the glassy plastic but on the glass itself. Squeezing the paint out of the tube, Alexander paints with his fingers, and only in exceptional cases he uses a brush. One drawing is one frame of the motion, which while watching takes only 1/24 of the minute (it means that to create a minute of the motion one needs to create more than a thousand pictures, and in one day one is able to draw not more than 15 frames). Next moment of the motion is created by means of correction of the preceding picture. In such a way there is nothing practically left, except for the last episode of the motion on glass, the whole motion is recorded. Petrov usually uses rotoscoping, and three-dimensional modeling of the scenes (‘moving camera’ technique taken from cinematography).

Landscapes

Old Cemetery in Armenia is a full of moon light, otherworldly landscape, which with time transforms in almost Roerich ‘oils’. And here come the fishermen on the Ural Lake. It seems that there is only sky and water, but look closer; one can see a tiny figure of a man in a boat. Or let’s talk about the landscape with the haystack: again huge skies, stormy; it seems that somewhere there happens something real and important. It is only the haystack that hints at the presence of person. But it still exists and it exists right inside of this world.

Maybe we should also speak about an orange tree on fire, where one can see brittle seesaws. Unified existence and a person embedded in it, but not yet solute. It is a rare harmony of the world perception, a try to feel the place of a person in it. Universe, where everything is so precious, both the battles in the skies and signs in the mode of people’s lives. A person depicted in Petrov’s landscapes looks like being involved in it but not solute.

Animation

Petrov made his graduation work based on the Cow by Andrey Platonov.

His next motion Dream of a Funny Person is based on one of Dostoevsky work. A person who decided to commit a suicide, was divested from everything and everyone, he is alone, on his own. Such a separate existence is impossible (it is the reason for suicide), unfortunately, the harmony and unity are impossible. Petrov depicts the depravation of the beautiful world precisely: coquetry, first murder, dissociation, building of the fortresses and development of science. There is no more world of happiness and joy. It seems that Petrov is able to depict not only the plot of the story but he shares the mystery of F.M. Dostoevsky philosophy.

Petrov’s next motion was Mermaid, where a novice is responsible for the sin of another man, the non-guilty person becomes guilty. The responsibility of one person before another (it is the connection which holds two people together) is irreversible.

Personification of responsibility is river and its embodiment is a Mermaid. A nominee for Oscar Award – Mermaid – fascinates the viewer with its charming beautiful story about the sin, temptation and forgiveness. Mermaid is a beautiful story about the monk and his novice, who was seduced by a beautiful girl, in order to take a vengeance on the old man for the sins of his youth, for the betrayal. Mermaid was created on the studio Panorama in Yaroslavl established by Alexander Konstantinovich himself. Petrov admitted, that it is one of the most fascinating films for him, moreover, Alexander Konstantinovich confessed that he has one and the same dream all the time: as if he was finishing the creation of Mermaid, creating the last two minutes of the motion.

From 1996 to 1999 Petrov lived and worked in Montreal (Canada), where he filmed The Old Man and the Sea, thanks to which animator was recognized throughout the world. It took Alexander Petrov 30 months of the hardest work to create The Old Man and the Sea. During the whole period of time he lived and worked in Canada. The main character was copied from animator’s father-in-law. In year 2000 The Old Man and the Sea was awarded with Oscar.

In year 2006 A. Petrov finished the work My Love based on the work of Ivan Shmelyov (Grand Prix on the XII Open Festival of Russian Animation A Message to a Person, laureate of the Nika Award 2007 in nomination The Best Animated Film). This motion was also voted for Oscar Award 2008.

In his free from filming time Petrov makes illustrations to the books, for example, The Old Man Hottabych by L. Lagin.

In year 2007 Petrov gathered the students in Alexander Petrov Studio, from the year 2010 he made these courses official. The first work of his students Once More! wasn’t left unnoticed. This film was voted for Nika Award in nomination The Best Animated Film of 2011 (directors Elena Petrova, Tatyana Okryzhnova, Maria Arhipova, Alina Yahyeva, Ekaterina Ovchinnikova and Natalya Pavlycheva, production director Alexander Petrov).

‘I create my motions on the white mat glass. The paint is being spread with a thin layer (or with several), moreover, not with a brush but with the fingers. The working area is approximately of A3 format, which is illuminated with special lamps. We create one frame, film it and then erase, then create the next frame. The background stays unchanged, just like the decorations in theatre. But, for example, like in The Old Man and the Sea, to depict the move of the ocean, one needs to change the background…’

‘Computers… It is very easy to lose control over the whole amount of materials. It sometimes happens that one cannot notice the animator behind the computer animation, though the program, with the help of which the motion was created, can be seen perfectly’.

Премия Оскар

Oscar Award Laureate, year 2000, The Old Man and the Sea cartoon.

National Prize Laureate of the Russian Federative Socialist Republic,

N. K. Krupskaya Prize, year 1990, cartoon Welcome!

National Prize of Russia, year 1995

Honourable figure in Arts of the Russian Federation

Member of the cinematography union in Russia

Member of International Association of Animators

Member of American Motion Picture Academy

My Love – the best Christian film of the year 2007

Jury Prize. Viewers Prize. International Animation Festival Hiroshima (Japan, year 2006)

Motion Media Prize. International Festival of Documentary and Animated Films in Leipzig (Germany, year 2006)

Grand Prix. International Festival of Animated and Short Films in Dresden (Germany, year 2007)

Grand Prix. Award for the best direction. Prize for the best artistic decision. The Festival of Russian Animation in Suzdal (Russia, year 2007)

Grand Prix. International Animation Festival in Teheran (Iran, year 2007)

Nika Award for the best animation film (Russia, year 2006)

Award for the best animated film on the 16-th international film forum Zolotoy Vityaz (Golden Knight) in Kislovodsk (Russia, year 2007)

Grand Prix. International Festival of animated films in Melbourne (Australia, year 2007)

Grand Prix for the best animated film. Golden Centaur Awards in St. Petersburg (Russia, year 2007)

Prize for the best animated motion. Animation Festival Anima Mundi (Brasil, year 2007)

Oscar Award nominee for the best short animated film (USA, year 2008)

1984 – The Cat in the Cap, animator/designer

1984 – Elephant Got Lost, animator/designer

1984 – Vorobyishko (Little Sparrow) animator/designer

1984 – The Night, animator/designer

1985 – A Tale about Kozyavochka, production designer

1986 – Welcome!, animator/designer

1988 – Marathon, animator/designer

1989 – The Keeper, animator/designer

1989 – The Cow, director, production designer, scriptwriter

1991 – Here Comes the Wind Again…, production designer

1992 – Dream of a Funny Person, director, production designer, scriptwriter

1996 – Mermaid, director, production designer, scriptwriter, production director

1999 – The Old Man and the Sea, director, production designer, scriptwriter

2003 – Winter Day (episode ‘The Boy and the Raven’), director, production designer

2006 – My Love, director, production director, scriptwriter

2007 – Schwarzkopf New Year, director

2010 – Once More!, director

2010 – Dostoyevsky (TV series), walk-on-part as an artist Vasiliy Perov

2011 – Presentation reel for the World Cup skiing competition in Dyomino, director, designer

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Alexander Petrov - My love

Alexander Petrov - The Old Man and Sea

   
Alexander Petrov - Cow
Alexander Petrov - One more time!
   
Alexander Petrov - Dream Ridiculous Man Alexander Petrov - Winter Days
   
Alexander Petrov - The Mermaid Alexander Petrov - Welcome!
   
Alexander Petrov - tricks of the trade, the first part Alexander Petrov - tricks of the trade, the second part
   
Alexander Petrov - making the film Alexander Petrov - animation