Director, artist and screenwriter, teacher, translator
People’s Artist of the USSR, laureate of two State Prizes of the USSR,
Prizes of the President of the Russian Federation, National Prize of the GDR
Fyodor Savelyevich Khitruk was born on April 18 (May 1) 1917 in Tver.
His father, a locksmith, and later engineer Savely Davidovich Khitruk (1887-1983) came from Polotsk, and his mother – Anna Antonovna Khitruk (née Nahamchik, 1893-1985) was from Riga, Latvia.
Khitruk´s parents got married in 1914 in Riga, where their eldest son Mikhail (1915-2007) was born.
In 1917, the parents moved to Tver, where the middle son Fyodor and his younger brother Vladimir (1921-1993) were born. In 1924, the family moved to Moscow. After his father graduated the Plekhanov Academy, he was sent as a representative of Stankoexport on an assignment to Germany to purchase equipment (1931-1934). The family mainly lived in Stuttgart, where the future animator Fyodor studied at an art and craft school.
In 1936, already in Moscow, Khitruk studied at the art college of the OGIZ, later at the Institute for Advanced Studies of Graphic Artists (workshop of Nikolai Vysheslavtsev). After watching W. Disney’s cartoons at The I Moscow International Film Festival (1935), he became interested in animation and, on the advice of an artist friend, decided to enter the “Soyuzmultfilm” Studio, but for a long time he was refused.
In November 1937 he began to work as a trainee animator, and in 1938 – as an animator at the “Soyuzmultfilm” Studio.
In August 1941, after the start of the war, he was sent for six months to study at the Institute of Foreign Languages, which was evacuated to Stavropol-on-Volga. After training, he served as a translator at the headquarters of the 3rd Ukrainian Front. He commanded a radio intercept platoon of the 17th Air Force Army. After the war, he worked as a military translator in Berlin for two years, and then returned to the “Soyuzmultfilm”.
From 1961 to 1983 – Fyodor was working as a director of the studio. His first film “The Story of a Crime” was a great success. Today the film is considered as the beginning of a new style in Soviet animation, different from the canon of the 1950s – 1960s, which was similar to Disney.
Fyodor Khitruk is a director of short animated films for adults in various genres. The most famous are the satire on bureaucracy “The Man in the Frame” (1966), the parable about the loneliness of man in modern society “Island” (1973), the parody “Film, Film, Film” (1968), the parable “The Lion and the Bull” (1984). Author of three animation films about Winnie–the-Pooh.
He was a member of the artistic council of the “Soyuzmultfilm”. In the 1980s, he held the position of artistic director of the “Multtelefilm” studio of the “Ekran” creative association.
In 1956-1981 Fyodor Khitruk taught at the courses of animators at the “Soyuzmultfilm” Studio, and in 1980-2003 at the Higher Courses for Screenwriters and Film Directors, where he was one of the initiators of the creation of a department for training animation directors. Honorary Professor of VGIK Institute of Cinematography (2002).
In 1993, together with Eduard Nazarov, Yuri Norstein and Andrey Khrzhanovsky, Fyodor Khitruk organized the School-studio of Animated Films “SHAR”.
He was a translator of foreign literature on animation, one of the compilers of the international dictionary of animation terms. Author of many articles on animated films, memoirs.
Fyodor Khitruk was the vice president of the International Animated Film Association (ASIFA) (1980-1988). Since 1995 – Honorary President of the Golden Fish International Animated Film Festival. From 1996 to 2000 – Honorary President of the Russian Animated Film Association.
Member of The Union of Cinematographers of the USSR (since 1956). Since 1981 – Secretary of the Board of the Union of Cinematographers of the USSR. Academician of the Russian Academy of Cinema Arts “Nika”.
Fyodor Savelyevich died on December 3, 2012 in Moscow at the age of 96.
Buried at the Novodevichy cemetery.
• 1962 “The Story of a Crime”
• 1964 “Toptyzhka”
• 1965 “Boniface’s Holiday”
• 1966 “The Man in the Frame”
• 1967 “Othello 67”
• 1968 “Film, Film, Film”
• 1969 “Winnie-the-Pooh”
• 1970 “The Young Friedrich Engels”
• 1971 “Winnie-the-Pooh Pays a Visit”
• 1972 “Winnie-the-Pooh and a Busy Day”
• 1973 “Island”
• 1974 “I Grant You a Star”
• 1976 “Icarus and the Wise Men”
• 1982 “Olympians”
• 1983 “The Lion and the Bull”