People around the world who love movies, in general, and animations, specifically, would most likely know some of these famous Russian cartoons like Cheburashka (1966), Masha and The Bear (2009), Luntik (2006), Smeshariki (2004), Nu Pogodi! (1969), and The Snow Queen (1957). You have surely noticed that half of them are classics and started to be produced during the Soviet Union time, while the other half are quite modern and closer to today’s children.
Okay, so we have heard or even seen the cartoons, but what do they have to do with KROK festival? Well, they are the reason KROK is celebrated from the first place. It is Russian International Animated Film Festival that is held every year since 1989. If you are new to the event, take a look at this list of 7 things you should know to celebrate KROK Festival.
1. The History
In 1935, Moscow International Film Festival started to be an annual celebration in Russia to respect the industry and people involved in it. The Soviet Union government allowed this since they took films as good propaganda. All genres and types of films were shown together in the festival. But, in 1987, the board of committee decided to separate the documentary, children’s and animated films from the festival so they can have their own festivals. Then, in 1989, the KROK Festival was held for the first time with Garri Bardin – a Soviet and Russian animated film director – coined the name of the festival which means “step” in Ukrainian.
2. The Festival is taken in Turn
Because KROK is a collaboration between Russian and Ukrainian cinematographers, the both countries take turn in hosting the event. Russia takes the even years, while Ukraine gets the odds. This was an agreement among the co-founders of the festival; the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, the National Union of Cinematographers of Ukraine, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, and the Union of Cinematographers of Russia.
3. It Is a Festival on the Water
Just like its name, KROK – STEP, the festival always moves forward both hypothetically and literally. The number of participants always grows each year with more countries around the world getting involved. Now, the unique thing about how literal the festival moves forward is that it is always held on a cruise ship, different ones – including Taras Shevchenko, Marshal Mishka, Marshal Koshevoi, Vissarion Belinsky, Fyodor Shalyapin, General Vatutin, Georgy Zhukov, Princess of Dnipro, Zirka Dnieper and Konstantin Simonov. On even years in Russia, the ship cruises along the Volga River, while on the odd years it cruises along the Dnieper and the Black Sea. The festival usually takes a 7-to-14-days journey on the water with stops at towns the ship comes across. So, not only the participants of the event can enjoy the films being shown, but also the public from towns the ship visits.
Here are the towns that have been visited by the KROK’s cruise ships for the last 26 years: Kiev, Moscow, Uglich, Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Saint Petersburg, Kremenchug, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Sevastopol, Valaam, Kizhi, Odessa, Goritsy, Gorodets, Plyos, Rybinsk, Myshkin, Tver, Perm, Elabuga, Kazan,Perm, Christopol, Yalta, Kanev, Samara, Saratov, and Volgograd. If you happen to be visiting one of these cities during the time of the festival, there is a chance that you might stumble upon the special cruise ship of KROK’s and get to watch some of the films they have showing.
4. The 26th KROK Festival
By the time this article is written, in 2019, the KROK International Animated Film Festival will celebrate its 30 years of existence also 26th official event. Ukraine will host the event from September 22 to September 30 on the Konstantin Simonov cruise ship which is said to be a ship with a top-notch service that was also used at the 25th festival. The route will start in Saint Petersburg and end in Moscow. The participants are expected to submit their entries by the end of June 2019.
5. KROK is Always Fresh
Going along the mission of the festival, always to move forward, KROK gives special stage for young animators to show their debut work of films to find new trends, fix what the Russian and Ukrainian animations are lacking of, discover novel talents, and embrace qualities that were not seen in the previous events. The board of jury of KROK International Animated Film Festival received around 800 entries from all over the world per last year’s event, and that forced them to really select the best from the best because it turned out that some of them were made with copied ideas and mundane storylines. This is why the festival always encourages students from cinema schools to step up with fresh ideas.
6. The Goal of the Festival
The KROK International Animated Film Festival wishes to showcase the best works of world animation. It is designed to facilitate the exchange of creative experience, the search for new ideas, styles, technologies, and the integration of Russian and Ukrainian animation in the process of the world’s animated film industry.
7. Check These Animated Films Out
If you plan to catch the KROK’s festival cruise ship this year, it would be nice if you try and first watch these short Russian animations that had made it to the event and steal the public’s heart to feel what the spirit of the festival is all about actually:
- ‘Pochemu Banan Ogryzaetsya’ (‘Why the Banana Is Grumpy’)
- ‘Kukushka’ (‘Cuckoo’)
- ‘Jack Prostyak’ (‘Simple Jack’)
- ‘Na Poroge Ilyich’ (‘Lenin on the Edge’)
- ‘Tyoply Sneg’ (‘Warm Snow’)
- ‘Hamlet: A Comedy’
Started off with stop motion way back in the 30’s while the Soviet Union was still strong, Russian animated film industry had made a lot of steps forward and progress to reach the stage they are in right now. Are you ready to celebrate the KROK Festival after reading the 7 things you should know about it above? Sure you are.