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A very special evening with Russian animator : Yuri Norstein

February 5, 2010, 7:00 PM

Norris Cinema Theater/Frank Sinatra Hall, University Park Campus, University of Southern California

The USC School of Cinematic Arts invites you to participate in a retrospective evening and conversation with legendary Russian animator Yuri Norstein

7:00 P.M. on Friday, February 5th, 2010
Norris Cinema Theatre/Frank Sinatra Hall

The conversation with Yuri Norstein will be guided by Ukranian animator Igor Kovalyov.

Free admission. Open to the public.
Followed by a dessert reception in front of the theater.


About Yuri Norstein

Yuri Norstein is the highly esteemed Russian animator whose critical acclaim in the animation community matches that of Walt Disney, John Lasseter, and Hayao Miyazaki. Known as “the Pushkin of animation”, Norstein’s films have won countless awards at prestigious film festivals around the world.  At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival, Norstein’s Tale of Tales was voted the “Greatest Animated Film of All Time” by an international jury.  

Norstein’s films, Tale of Tales, Hedgehog in the Fog, and Heron and the Crane, demonstrate an unprecedented approach and expertise of animation, while acting as a window into the intimacies of Soviet Russian culture. Norstein eloquently depicts the human condition through the portrayal of Russian folklore, while transcending cultural and generational boundaries. His films are deeply rooted in Russian literature, history, and folklore, yet his messages are layered and complex, designed to elude the artistic censors of the times. His hand-made, cutout animation technique is also multi-layered. Norstein expertly animates his beautifully rendered characters and backgrounds on multiple planes of glass to create sophisticated and three-dimensional environments. 

About Igor Kovalyov

Igor Kovalyov is a world-renowned animator and a former pupil of Yuri Norstein. Both his short films Milch and Bird in a Window took the Grand Prize at the Ottawa International Animation Festival in 2005 and 1996 respectively. He directed The Rugrats Movie and several tv episodes of Rugrats and Aaahh!! Real Monsters for Klasky-Csupo Production Company.

Screening Details

Hedgehog in the Fog

Based on a children’s story by Sergei Kozlov, “a small hedgehog, with a curious nature and a philosophical bent, goes to visit his friend the bear, but on the way, lost in the fog, he meets a horse, a dog, an owl, and a fish."


  • Frunze All-Union Film Festival - Best Animated Film (1976)
  • Teheran Children’s and Youth Film Festival - Best Animated Film (1976)
  • Tokyo Laputa Animation Festival - Best Animated Film of All Time (2003) 
Heron and the Crane

A delightfully absurd, comic-tragedy of “two lonely birds desperately wanting to get together, but unable to overcome the barrier of their differently shaped necks.” Norstein was inspired by a Nikolai Gogol story about an old couple that wasted their lives bickering about trifles.


  • Annecy International Animated Film Festival - Special Jury Prize (1975)
  • New York Film Festival - First Prize (1975)
  • Odense Film Festival - Grand Prize (1977)
Tale of Tales

A non-linear, poetic film about the nature of memory. The viewer is introduced to a “series of ideas - war, peeves, childhood, poetry, philistinism, hospitality” –through the beauty of the natural world “opening up like a concertina, widening out and then finally squeezing down to one simple sound: 'Life'.”


  • USSR State Prize (1979)
  • Lille International Festival of Film - Grand Prize (1980)
  • Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films - Grand Prize (1980)
  • Ottawa International Animation Festival - Best Long Short Film (1980)
  • LA Olympic Arts Festival - Greatest Animated Film of All Time (1984)
  • Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films - Greatest Animated Film of All Time (2002)
The Overcoat

As a special treat for the Norris audience, Norstein will present a preview of his feature-length film adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s Overcoat.  

[Note: All quotations and images are from the book: Kitson, Clare. Yuri Norstein And Tale of Tales An Animator's Journey. New York: Indiana UP, 2005. Print.]

This is event is proudly sponsored by

  • USC Provost Distinguished Visitors Program
  • USC Department of Slavic Languages and Literature
  • USC School of Cinematic Arts
  • USC Graduate and Professional Student Senate
  • Cinematic Arts Student Association
  • Slavic Graduate Association

Kudos and a debt of gratitude to SCA graduate students Elyse Kelly and Konstantin Brazhnik, without whom this event would not be possible. They proposed and received a 2009 USC Provost Visiting Scholars grant to bring Yuri Norstein to USC.

About Check-In & Reservations

All screenings are free of charge and open to the public. The theater will be OVERBOOKED to ensure capacity and the RSVP list will be honored on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no reserved seating. Please bring a photo ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to showtime.

About Parking

USC School of Cinematic Arts / Norris Theater map:

The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $8 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along W. Jefferson Boulevard.

Contact Information

Name: Lisa Mann
Phone: 213.740.2804