He was born on July 8, 1905 in Moscow. He graduated from the State college of cinema (now VGIK) in 1928. From 1926, he worked in Mezhrabpom-Rus studio (first as a scene painter assistant, and then as an animator). In 1936 he moved to the newly created Soyuzmultfilm studio. Initially he worked in a genre of politic satire, and then became keen on modern fairy tales (together with Vladimir Polovnikov). The first cartoon that he directed himself was Arrow Flies into a Fairy Tale (Russian: Стрела улетает в сказку, Strela uletayet v skazku). His last was Terem-Teremok (Russian: Терем-теремок, 1971).
His wife Nadezhda Mikhailovna Privalova, an artist, worked with him on many of his cartoons.