Russian Animation Epidemic
The CHF Wikipedia project is now underway, and it’s been fun tripping back through the years, remembering the hits from 1999 and 2000 that started Flash animation fever.
It was back in 2001 that Oleg Kuvayev started animating ‘Masyanya,’ a series of Flash-animated, comedy shorts about a young Russian woman living in St. Petersburg. His work quickly took off and the series became a huge internet hit, and so began what a recent Russian article called the “epidemic masyanization of the whole country.” A BBC article from 2002 noted that ‘Masyanya’ won 5 of the 22 awards at the 2002 National Internet Awards in Russia.
It was in 2002, however, that Kuvayev’s story took a turn. He decided to share the rights to ‘Masyanya’ with a man who didn’t possess the best of intentions. The result was a ‘Masyanya’ series on Muz-TV, Russia’s version of MTV, but Kuvayev was subsequently cut out of all proceeds by his partner. After a lengthy legal battle that lasted until late last year, when Kuvayev won the rights back, and the courts ordered Muz-TV to stop broadcasting the series.
None of these legal battles seemed to have stopped Kuvayev’s work from further ingraining itself into Russian culture. Besides the continual stream of shorts that he releases on his extremely popular mult.ru website, he’s licensed the brand to create ice cream, t-shirts and ring-tones.
With over 100 episodes under his belt, Kuvayev seems resolved to move past ‘Masyanya.’ He’s launched two other series, ‘Eji and Petruche’ and ‘Magazinchik Bo.’ He even hinted that he’s hoping to produce a feature film.