Watch the winning student animations created for Vintage’s Russians series

As part of the campaign for Vintage Classics’ Russians series of reissues, students on Kingston University’s animation course were asked to come up with a short film for each book. CR was on the panel to choose a top three – which are featured below

The six-volume Vintage Classics Russians collection is published this month, including new editions of works by Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Boris Pasternak, Mikhail Bulgakov and Vasily Grossman. The publication of the set coincides with the centenary of the Russian Revolutions of 1917.

As part of the campaign for the project – and forming the brief for this year’s Kingston Animation Prize – students on Kingston University’s animation course were asked to come up with an animation for each book that draws upon the look of the series covers, designed by the in-house team at Vintage.

Most of the textiles used in the cover designs come from the collection of Susan Meller, author and founder of The Design Library in New York

According to the Vintage design studio’s CMYK blog, the wide range of styles and patterns (from embroidered flowers to avant-garde theatre graphics) reflect the scope of time covered in the novels – from pre- to post-revolutionary Russia.

Still from Flora Caulton and team’s winning animation for Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago

CR was asked to help judge the animation competition and we’re featuring the first, second and third placed winning animations below – as chosen by myself, Suzanne Dean, Creative Director at Vintage; Matt Hunt, Graphic Designer at The Royal Academy of Arts; Frances Macmillan, Senior Editor at Vintage Classics; and Ruth Waldram, Brand Director at Vintage.

First prize was awarded to director Flora Caulton and her team’s animation for Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago (they receive £1,000). This animation had a great style, with the most sense of drama of the shortlist; elements such as the snow falling and the running soldiers were particularly well done. Director: Flora Caulton; Production Designer: Sarah Hingley; Producer: Kathrin Steinbacher; Sound: Emily Downe; Effects: Rose Woollett.

Second prize (and £500) went to Katy Wang and her team for their animation for Grossman’s Life and Fate. A highly affecting piece of work, the blending of scenes is brilliantly done – with the lingering last scene really well controlled. Director: Katy Wang; Production Designer: Jade Evans; Sound: Ganna Voznyak; Effects: Hannah McNally.

Third prize (and £250) went to Maria Morris and team for their treatment of Bulgakov’s The Mater and Margarita. I thought the POV here was really interesting – a clever way of framing the action and hinting at the (surreal) subject. Director: Maria Morris; Production Designer: Billy Huntingdon; Sound: Luca Bowles; Effects: Denisa Costin; Animation/Producer: Elena Struleva.

Finally, a special mention should go to one of my personal favourites – created for Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. This one was really well realised with a strong graphic sensibility and clever use of the developing cage/prison motif; I also liked the way this hinted at the subject of the book but conveyed the inner experience of the main character largely through gestures. Director: Anna Tökés. Designer: Risa Cui; Producer: Lucy Key; Special effects: Ines Nirkko.

“Continuing Kingston’s rich association with Vintage via the Kingston Animation Award had been an inspirational experience for the students,” says Chris Shepherd, Senior Lecturer, Illustration Animation, Kingston. “They not only do they get a chance to work with top class authors but also develop their pitching skills in a professional context. At Kingston we’ve all been really proud of this incredible project.”

The Kingston Animation Prize is run annually in partnership between Kingston University’s undergraduate animation course – with the help of Geoff Grandfield, Course Leader, Illustration Animation BA (hons) and Senior Lecturer Martina Bramkamp – and Vintage Books. Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, Doctor Zhivago, Life and Fate, The Master and Margarita and War and Peace are published by Vintage Classics.

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