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Culture news, 24.12.2003 14:03

Animated film restores confidence in local creativity

New animated film St. Petersburg animation studio Peterburg has prepared a New Year's gift for Russian children and adults - a new animated film "Where Does the Old Year Go?" that is expected to screen on the two leading national channels ORT and RTR on Dec. 28.

The cartoon is one of the first in a new Russian series of 200 cartoons for children called "Smeshariki," or "Balltoons," to be produced by the studio's creative team of 30.

The first screening of the cartoon will be the 24-hour transmission of an episode on the Web site, beginning at midnight on Tuesday.

The new animated series is being developed as part of Peterburg's "World Without Violence" project, which aims to raise public consciousness of tolerance and mutual understanding. All the characters are spherical, which, according to the producers, symbolizes kindness, unlike the irregularly-shaped characters of another current children's cartoon craze, Pokemon.

However, the creators of the new series hope their characters will result in spin-offs, as has happened with Pokemon, including accessories featuring images from the series that will help to fund more episodes.

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