Russia's Art Pictures Studio to Co-Produce New 'Smeshariki' Films

A character from 'Smeshariki'

The animation franchise, known internationally as Kikoriki, has been adapted in several countries.

The Russian film company Art Pictures Studio, run by Fyodor Bondarchuk, the director of the all-time top grossing local movie Stalingrad, will co-produce new installments of the feature version of the Smeshariki animation franchise, known internationally as Kikoriki and in the U.S. as GoGoRiki.

"Animation is a niche in the film industry that is developing very rapidly," Dmitry Rudovsky, co-founder of Art Pictures Studio, said in a press release. "And Smeshariki is a brand that is well-known in the market and among viewers, so we are very keen on taking part in this project."

"For us, collaboration with Art Pictures Studio is a step toward new achievements in film production," added Ilya Popov, producer of the Smeshariki franchise. "The company has been working in the local and international markets for a long time and has substantial experience in distributing films for a wide range of audiences, including family films."

Smeshariki debuted 12 years ago as a children's cartoon series and has been adapted in half a dozen countries, including the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom.

The franchise's first feature, Smeshariki: The Beginning, was released in 2011. The two new feature installments, Smeshariki: Legend of a Golden Dragon and Smeshariki: Deja Vu, are to be presented at Le Marche du Film in Cannes next month.

Art Pictures Studio belongs to a group of "industry leaders" and has preferences for government funding.