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16 Aug, 2007 14:04

Russian art director of The Simpsons Movie

One of America's most enduring families has finally got a Hollywood make-over with the help of a Russian art director.

The Simpsons are the most famous American family. Cartoons about their life are popular all over the world.

Script work on the Simpsons feature film began in 2001. And when it came time to animate the yellow family from Springfield, creators turned to the renowned Russian art director, Dmitry Malanichev.

“There is nothing usual about the Simpsons. So, the challenge was really huge to, on the one hand, truly follow the legacy of the show and stay as close as you can to the already shaped and glorified look of the Simpsons, yet on the other hand to achieve something a little bit wider, bigger and louder,” Dmitry Malanichev pointed out.

This Simpsons Movie is Dmitry’s fifth Hollywood feature film in a role as art director. His previous U.S. releases include The Wild Thornberrys Movie and The Rugrats Movie. In 1987 Dmitry went to work for the Pilot Animation Studio in Moscow with famed animator Aleksandr Tatarsky. For Dmitry working on The Simpsons Movie was a change of pace from the usual style of Russian animation.

“First of all Russian animation usually is done over a much longer period of time. At least back then there wasn't such huge pressure on timewise, not such a condensed schedule so, you know, you could polish your artwork a little bit more. So, traditionally, even Russian TV animation is much more polished than, let’s say, American, where sometimes the most important thing is the joke and continulity, so the quality of animation is not that important,” Dmitry explained.

Aside from ongoing U.S. projects Dmitry Malanichev often teams up with friend and critically acclaimed director Igor Kovalev, having most recently completed the award-winning short film “Milch”.

“There are several things that go for me at the same time. I do really look forward to working with Igor again, there might be a sequel.  Well, I am pretty sure there is going to be one for The Simpsons. So I would imagine that if they approach me to work on it again I am pretty sure I will gladly accept this offer.”

It is tedious work and takes many sleepless nights to bring the world’s favourite dysfunctional family to the big screen. It took an army of animators directed by Dmitry Malanichev, and a little magic to make sketches live.

The Simpsons Movie has been shattering the box office records since its release. The 18-year-old franchise took nearly $US 72 MLN in its opening weekend in North America alone. Now with the movie set to be released worldwide, movie-goers around the world will have a chance to see America’s #1 family on the big screen thanks to a little help from a Russian art-director.