TOKYO, Dec. 20 (AP) - (Kyodo)—Japanese movie director and script writer Makoto Nakamura has brought back to the screen a Russian stop-motion animated series which gained international popularity during the Soviet era.
"Cheburashka," the titular character, is a furry creature with similarities to a bear and a monkey, originating in a Russian book for children and later appearing in a series of films featuring animated puppets.
The four original films gained popularity in the former Soviet Union before capturing a following abroad.
"The pressure was always there because many people in Russia have repeatedly seen 'Cheburashka,' and they will be hard to please," the 40-year-old Saitama Prefecture native said.
After numerous discussions with Russian advisors, Nakamura tried to retain the heart-warming mood of the original piece while utilizing modern technology and production tools.
The actual shooting was conducted at a South Korean studio which has created high-quality puppet animations.
The shooting process for stop-motion puppet animation is very time- consuming, as each frame of the film is shot separately, with the puppets moved in between. The crew was able to capture only 4 to 5 seconds worth of footage per day.
After completion of the project, which was launched six years ago, the film had a positive reception at a premiere screening in Russia.
"Stories capable of touching the hearts of people will cross boundaries of nationality, ethnicity or religion. I started to think that way while making this movie, " Nakamura said.
The film began screening at theaters in Japan last weekend.
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