(1882 – 1965)
A director and stop-motion animator, creator of the first world’s puppet animated films, one of the founders of the Russian animated cartoons industry.
He was born in 1882. After finishing high school he worked as a museum attendant in Kovno, Lithuania (Kaunas at present). At the same time he began to make films. In 1909 he came to Moscow where he met Alexander Khanzhonkov, a moviemaker. The man provided Starevich with a dedicated office filled with equipment, along with freedom to create.
In 1910 Starevich decided to make a documentary about a stag-beetle. However, it became clear during the shooting that the beetles stopped moving under the lights. So, Starevich decided to use beetles’ shells for fake characters and to film each scene frame-by-frame. As a result, “Lucanos Cervus” was one of the first world’s animated films.
In addition to animated films, Starevich made feature films as well. His first film was based on Gogol’s “A Terrible Vengeance” and gained international acknowledgement (it was awarded a gold medal at the film festival during the World Exhibition in Milan). Then Starevich made another film based on Gogol’s “The Night Before Christmas” with Ivan Moszhukhin as the devil: it was the first time ever when real acting was combined with “visual effects”.During the Civil War, in 1919, Starevich and his family emigrated to Italy, and later to France. In Paris he was offered a job at once. Starevich began to make animated films and direct them. His main achievement in France was “The Tale of the Fox”, the world’s first fully animated feature film with puppets.