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The history of Azerbaijani animation (also called Azerbaijanimation) is so far a nearly unexplored field for Western film theory and history. Most of Azerbaijan's production of animation for cinema and television was created during Soviet times.
Creation of animation film in Azerbaijan goes back to the early 1930s. In 1933, employees of Azerbaijanfilm studio purchased necessary materials from Moscow. The same year, they used technical animation in production of the documentaries Lokbatan and Oil Symphony’. Animation was fully used in the educational film Jat, that was shown on the all-union screens by 1938.
In the late 60s, Azerbaijanfilm studio was provided with facilities to make animation films. A group of 20 artists was created, a special course opened to learn secrets of the animation. On February 28, 1969, production of animation film Jyrtdan motived by the same-titled folk story was completed. Jyrtdan was the first film made after restoration of the animation film shop at the film studio. In 1969, the animation was released and for long time was shown at the cinemas. So, production of Jyrtdan started the second era of history of animation film in Azerbaijan.
Over 20 animation films were produced in the 70s at the animation film section of the Azerbaijanfilm studio. In 1970 animators made 3 animation films, two of which were microfilms Bear and mouse and Lion and bull. The latter was included in all-union anthology ‘Kaleidoscope-71’.
Production of animation films continued in the 80s, ones such Yaz oyunları (Spring games), Nar ağacının nağılı (Story of pomegranate tree), Xrizantema yarpağı (Chrysanthemum leaf), Çətin məsələ (Difficult issue) and many more were made. But artistic quality of Azeri animation films was not in the same level and there were several reasons due personnel professionalism, lack of technical appliances, in particular colors.
After the end of the Soviet Union, the situation for Azerbaijan animators changed dramatically. In the 90s, Azanfilm made 19 animation films, including Bir dəfə haradasa... (Once somewhere...), Oda (Ode), Göyçək Fatma (Lovely Fatma), Karvan (Caravan), Sohbatul-Esmar.
Director V.Talybov received prize and diploma of 1993 Baku II Festival-Contest of Azerbaijan films for the best animation film Bir dəfə haradasa..., which was written in political genre.
In 1991, cell animation İthaf (Dedication), which was dedicated to the victims of Stalin repression was awarded the diploma of Oberhauzen International Film Festival, the most successful debut prize of Kiev KROK-91 International Animation Film Federation (ASIFA) Festival and the best animation film prize of Vision from East Baku International Film Festival.
In 2008, Azerbaijani ministry of culture and tourism celebrated the 75th birthday of Azerbaijani animation.