Aleksandr Khanzhonkov

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Aleksandr Khanzhonkov

Aleksandr Aleksejevich Khanzhonkov (Russian: Алекса́ндр Алексе́евич Ханжо́нков; IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksandr ɐlʲɪˈksʲejɪvʲɪtɕ xənˈʐonkəf]; 8 August 1877 in modern-day Donetsk Oblast – 26 September 1945 in Yalta) was Russia's first cinema entrepreneur. He produced Defence of Sevastopol, Russia's first feature film, and Ladislas Starevich's ground-breaking puppet animations.

Khanzhonkov was born in the small village Khanzhonkova on the banks of the Seversky Donets River in rural Russia in 1877 (today in Donetsk Oblast in Ukraine). In 1911 he founded Russia's first cinema factory, a limited company, whose main financial backer was Ivan Ozerov, an influential banker and member of the Russian State Council.

During the Russian Revolution, Khanzhonkov left Russia for a while, travelling to Constantinople and Vienna, but returned in 1923 and was appointed director of the new Soviet studio Proletkino. His career in the Soviet Union ended in 1926: he was forced to abdicate after a corruption scandal struck Proletkino, and never worked in cinema again. Khanzhonkov retired and spent the rest of his life in Yalta, living on a personal pension from the state. There he survived the Nazi occupation of Crimea in 1941–1944, and died in Yalta on September 26, 1945.


  • Ханжонков, А.А. 1937. Ранние годы русской анимации. Москва/Ленинград: Искусство.
  • Кузнецова, М. 1997. Александр Ханжонков. Жизнь за кадром. Москва: "Профил" No. 29.
  • Янгиров, Рашит. 2001. К биографии А.А. Ханжонкова: Новый ракурс. Москва: "Киноведческие записки" No. 55.

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