Period of dreams and hopes
Fall of 1998
Moscow, Radio St., «Argus» producer's office. Vladimir Repin makes a daring decision of shooting his first full-length animation film in cooperation with the film director Tatiana Iljina who has cherished a dream of animating «Nutcracker» since her student years, being a granddaughter of a man who staged this ballet in Mariinsky theatre of St.-Petersburg. They need money, script and experience. None of which is at their disposal yet, all they've got is faith in their creative forces and future success.
December - March 1999
A pilot reel of the future film 2,5 min. long is being made.
The reel wins a World Gold Medal for the best animation at the New-York Film Festival, while «Disney Channel Company» had to content itself with a Silver medal.
«Nutcracker» pilot reel gets an award at the prestigious international festival at Annecy (France).
Discussing the draft script version, the producer suggests to move the action from an indeterminate European town to St.-Petersburg.
T. Iljina gets down to make a continuity.
The film director goes to St.-Petersburg, looking for exterior. Her business trip report is presented in the form of about two hundred pictures of the snowy city.
March - April
The continuity workout goes on. The film structure has been determined: 9 sequences and a denouement.
A contract on the co-production with the German Production company MCOne (Stuttgart) is signed.
Pre-production period begins.
The film crew is formed. Film directors T. Iljina and N. Malgina, art directors P. Kotov and I. Olejnikov start working. Y. Kasparov is composing music for the film.
Renowned American writer Michael Maurer is invited as a script-doctor.
Another studio director D. Kuprijanov is engaged in working out the sequences.
The test animation is being made on base of the first samples.
Y. Kasparov finishes the music outlay based on Chaikovsky» ballet.
I. Olejnikov makes graphic studies of the future film.
November - December 2001
The team consisting of directors A. Turkus and A. Shelmanov, assistant director N. Erykalova and writer G. Kasankina finishes the first draft of the dialogues.
The test animation is produced.
The production begins. Animators are engaged in creation.
Outlay graphics start working.
The first dubbing test. A. Zhigalkin, known as the host of the program «Director just for oneself» is cast for a Long Mouse part.
The famous actor L. Yarmolnik tests for the Mouse King part.
The actor Y. Galtsev is dubbing the Fat Mouse, being in transit from South Urengoj to St.-Petersburg.
As a present to women for the 8th of March, E. Mironov scores the leading part of Prince Nutcracker.
Drosselmeyer's part is dubbed by Russian cinema and theater maître G. Taratorkin. His daughter A. Taratorkina tests for Masha, the leading female part.
The actress M. Aronova scored the wicked witch Mousilde*, impressing the public with her mastery and limitless voice capacity.
Her 9-year old son Vadim successfully tests for Nikolka's part.
Kasparov's music for the film is recorded by an orchestra of 65 musicians in a sound studio of film concern Mosfilm.
Another Studio director A. Shelmanov is engaged in the production.
Music recording is finished.
The film production actually gets All-Russian and international; film studios of Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Byelorussia, Lithuania and Armenia make their contributions to «Nutcracker».
Alice Boitard, French film editor is invited to edit «Nutcracker».
German producers insist on rewriting the finale, thinking it essential to attain the Hollywood scale for world distribution.
The ending is revised and consequently the animation is done entirely anew.
The suit «German producers versus Argus» begins.
A contract for another music version with a young composer A. Vartanov is signed.
September - November
Comprehensive variant of dialogues made by A. Shelmanov and G. Kazankina is accepted as a final one.
Efim Shifrin scores the Mouse King.
January - February
The «actors» score is completed.
The initial recording of the second musical version is realized in the same sound studio of Mosfilm.
The lengthy court hearing of «Argus» versus German producers» ends with an amicable agreement.
A well-known song-writer creates the text for a song by A. Vartanov.
Singers Alexander Marshall and Angelica Markova record the song for the film.
The film is made.
A contract for distribution in Russia and former Soviet republics is signed with a distribution company «Gemini Film International».
Moscow, October 29, 2004
«Nutcracker's» first night passed with great success in a movie-house «Five Stars».