Fyodor Savelyevich Khitruk

Director, artist, scriptwriter, teacher, translator; People’s Artist of the USSR; laureate of two USSR State Prizes, the
RF Presidential Prize, the National Prize of the GDR

Fyodor Savelyevich Khitruk was born on 18 April (1 May) 1917 in Tver.
His father, a locksmith, and later engineer Savely Davydovich Khitruk (1887—1983) came from Polotsk, and his mother Anna Antonovna Khitruk (née Nakhamchik, 1893—1985) was from Riga. His parents got married in 1914 in Riga, where their eldest son Mikhail (1915—2007) was later born.

In 1917, Khitruk’s parents moved to Tver, where their second son Fyodor and his younger brother Vladimir (1921—1993) were born. In 1924, the family moved to Moscow, and after his father graduated from Plekhanov Academy, he was sent as a representative of Stankoeksport to work in Germany purchasing equipment (1931—1934). The family mainly lived in Stuttgart, where future animator Fyodor studied at an arts and crafts school.

In 1936, already back in Moscow, Khitruk studied at the Applied Arts College of the State Book-Magazine Publishing Houses Association (OGIS), and later at the Advanced Training Institute for Graphic Artists (Nikolay Vysheslavtsev’s workshop). After watching Walt Disney’s cartoons at the 1st Moscow International Film Festival (1935), he became interested in animation and, on the advice of an artist friend, tried to get a job at Soyuzmultfilm Studio, but kept getting rejected.

In November 1937, he began working as an animation intern, and in 1938 – as an animator at Soyuzmultfilm Studio.
In August of 1941, after the onset of the war, he was sent for six months to study at the Institute of Foreign Languages, which had been evacuated to Stavropol-on-Volga. After training, he served as a translator at the headquarters of the 3rd Ukrainian Front, commanded a radio interception 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 Soyuzmultfilm.

From 1961 to 1983, Khitruk worked at the studio as a director. His first film The Story of One Crime was a great success. Today the film is considered the first example of a new style in Soviet animation, deviating from the canon of the 1950s–1960s which was reminiscent of the Disney style.

Fyodor Savelyevich Khitruk directed short animated films for adults in a variety of genres. Among the most famous of them 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). He also created three animated Winnie-the-Pooh films.

Khitruk was a member of the artistic council at Soyuzmultfilm. In the 1980s, he held the position of Artistic Advisor at Multtelefilm Studio of the Ekran Creative Association.

In 1956—1981, Khitruk taught the art of animation at Soyuzmultfilm Studio courses, and in 1980—2003 — at the Higher Courses for Scriptwriters and Film Directors, where he “was one of the initiators of the creation of a department for training animation directors”. Honorary Professor of Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) (2002).

In 1993, together with Eduard Nazarov, Yuri Norshteyn, and Andrey Khrzhanovsky, Fyodor Khitruk founded School-Studio SHAR.

Khitruk translated foreign literature on animation, helped compile the international dictionary of animation terms, wrote numerous essays on animated films, as well as memoirs.

Vice President of the International Animated Film Association (ASIFA) from 1980 to 1988. Honorary President of the Goldfish International Animated Film Festival since 1995. Honorary President of the Russian Animated Film Association from 1996 to 2000. Member of The Union of Cinematographers of the USSR (since 1956). Secretary of the Executive Board of the Union of Cinematographers of the USSR since 1981. Academician of the Nika Academy of Cinematic Arts.

Fyodor Savelyevich died on the 3rd of December 2012 in Moscow at the age of 96 and was buried at the Novodevichy cemetery.


• 1962 The Story of One Crime
• 1964 Toptyzhka – The Little Bruin
• 1965 Boniface’s Vacation
• 1966 The Man in the Frame
• 1967 Othello 67
• 1968 Film, Film, Film
• 1969 Winnie-the-Pooh
• 1970 The Young Friedrich Engels (in collaboration with V. Kurchevsky, K. Georgi, K. Georgi)
• 1971 Winnie-the-Pooh Pays a Visit
• 1972 Winnie-the-Pooh and a Busy Day (in collaboration with G. Sokolsky)
• 1973 Island
• 1974 I Give You a Star
• 1976 Icarus and Sages
• 1982 Olympians
• 1983 The Lion and the Bull