A new Russian feature film is set to bring one of the Soviet Union’s best-loved cartoons to the big screen.
Generations of kids have grown up with Cheburashka, the big-eared, sweet-natured creature coined by the Russian children’s author Eduard Uspensky in the 1960s. The character rose to fame thanks to Roman Kachanov’s animation series in the 1960s and 1980s, which was broadcast across the Eastern Bloc. In 2014, a shot-for-shot remake of the old animation shorts was also released.
After being rejected by a zoo as an “animal unknown to science”, Cheburashka finds employment as a window display for a factory rejects shop. He becomes friends with the accordion-playing Gena the Crocodile and a little girl called Galya, with whom he helps people in need, and fights the ill-natured Lady Shapoklyak.
The animation was so popular across the Soviet Union that its characters have long been immortalised in toys and statues. In the 2000s, Cheburashka was repeatedly made the mascot of the Russian Olympic Team.
Produced by the animation company Russian Soyuzmultfilm, which made the original Cheburashka cartoons, along with Russian channels Russia 1 and STS, the film will be a collab between the Russian independent studio YBA and Disney.
According to YBA’s general producer, Eduard Iloyan, the picture is estimated to cost 600 million roubles (just under £6 million). The film will be shot in 2021 and released in 2022.
Until then, you can revisit the classic cartoons, which are now on YouTube with English subtitles.