Pilot is a Russian animation studio based in Moscow. It was founded in 1988 by Aleksandr Tatarsky, Igor Kovalyov, Anatoliy Prokhorov and Igor Gelashvili, becoming the first private animation studio in the Soviet Union. They aimed at both auteur and commercial animation.
Aleksandr Tatarsky served as the Pilot's artistic director up until his death in 2007. He was replaced by Eduard Nazarov who held the position until 2013. Currently Igor Gelashvili serves as the studio's director. Pilot produced over 130 animated films.
A subdivision called "Pilot-TV", founded in 1997, produced satirical animated series using 3D motion-captured characters, most famous of them being the studio's key mascots: the Pilot Brothers based on Chief and Colleague from the popular Soviet mini-series Investigation Held by Kolobki.
From 2004 on the studio has been working on Mountain of Gems, its biggest project to date. By this day over seventy 13-minute cartoons were produced with the support of the State Committee for Cinematography. They are based on fairy tales of Russian people and other ethnic groups that populate the Russian Federation and former Soviet states. Each short features distinctive art direction and animation technique, including claymation, stop motion, traditional and computer animation. The project won a number awards.
During the financial crisis of 2008—2010 the studio was close to shutting down due to the lack of money. The four final films of the Mountain of Gems series were supposed to be finished in July 2010, with Goskino paying for them in February or April; however, the money was never received. Studio producer Lev Bubnikov has said that suing Goskino to make them uphold the contract would have been "pointless". Yet in 2012 the studio received further financing and the project was revived. In 2014 an official YouTube channel for Mountain of Gems and its spin-off project Animated Russia was launched where the episodes are uploaded in Russian, English, Spanish and Chinese languages.
- Giannalberto Bendazzi (2016). Animation: A World History: Volume III: Contemporary Times. — Boca Raton: CRC Press, pp. 195-196 ISBN 978-1-138-85482-6
- Larisa Malyukova (2013). Pilot / OVERcinema. Modern Russian animation. — Saint Petersburg: Umnaya Masha, p. 18-43 ISBN 978-5-9904193-1-5
- Films at the official website (in Russian)
- Mountain of Gems project is 15 years old at the Big Animation Festival, 26 October 2018 (in Russian)
- Awards at IMDb
- Russia's oldest private animation studio (Pilot) closes its doors, has no more money at the Animatsiya in English blog, 8 July 2010
- Where Pilot and Bee fly by Vesti, 13 July 2010 (in Russian)
- Mountain of Gems series at the official YouTube channel