Russian Animation Studio to Target Chinese, Indian Markets

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Moscow-based Soyuzmultfilm hopes to sell foreign-language versions of films from its library to the world's first and second most populous nations.

MOSCOW -- Russia's top animation studio Soyuzmultfilm plans to dub its library into foreign languages and sell titles abroad, viewing China and India as the most promising markets.

"We will be digitizing [Soyuzmultfilm's library]; we will redub it," the state-run studio's recently appointed general director Andrei Dobrunov was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

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"China and India are the territories that can bring in huge money if Soyuzmultfilm's library, dubbed into the relevant languages, is sold there," he added.

Founded in 1936, Moscow-based Souyzmultfilm was the Soviet Union's main cartoon studio up until the collapse of the empire.

According to Dobrunov, the studio's cartoons used to be overdubbed into other languages back in the Soviet era, but international demand for those was much lower then compared with now.

Many Soyuzmultfilm releases, such as the 1969 children's cartoon series Nu, pogodi! (Well, Just You Wait!), were released in Central and Eastern European countries that were part of the then Socialist bloc, but not elsewhere.

Today, the situation is different for animated films from Russia, and there is a steady global interest in the output of the country's cartoon industry.

Over the last few years, the children's animated series Smeshariki has been adapted in half a dozen countries, including the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Last fall, the Russian company STV, which has several full-length animated features in its catalog, signed a licensing deal with China.

The feature-length animated film Sergi Radonezhski, which is currently in production, co-produced by Soyuzmultfilm and DA Studio, has also already attracted international interest, Dobrunov said.