Andrei Myshev: Award-Winning Animated Productions with Universal Appeal


“Cartoon” is an outdated moniker in spite of the immediate mental images the word conjures. Animated production is a far more apt description of the current state of this genre or type of film/television show. Those productions which favor a family friendly demeanor are among the most popular, beloved, and highest box office grossing productions of any type in present day. While Hollywood has led the foray into modern animation, many other countries are rivaling its production quality while also bringing a fresh influence. Since beginning his professional career at Melnitsa Animation Studio in 2012, animator Andrei Myshev has been involved in a number of award-winning TV programs and films which have found enthusiastic audiences in Spain, Israel, Germany, China, and beyond. Originating in Russia, these creations display certain visual influences from such companies as Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks yet are imbued with a tone in their storytelling which clearly rebukes anything resembling a formulaic “big studio” approach. While admitting to being a fan of the films of the aforementioned American animated studios, the work of Mr. Myshev and his collaborators is authentic in a manner that sets it apart from these in the most benevolent of ways; perhaps inspired by but also retaining a unique if perhaps unidentifiable difference.

Animator Andrei Myshev

As part of the APKIT award nominated series Moonzy, Andrei was recognized at the very earliest stages of his career. Moonzy is an animated series about an extra-terrestrial from the moon who travels to Earth, interacting with its inhabitants. This series was globally praised for its message which highlights social relations and skills among people and creatures who are different yet find common ground. Equally, the look of the program made it beloved by an audience which ranged from China (CCTV-14) to the United Arab Emirates (Spacetoon), Russia (Russia-1, Russia-K, Telenjanja, Karusel, Mult, STS Love), and others. In addition to Moonzy, Mr. Myshev served as a character animator on The Barkers which was nominated for an APKIT Award in 2016 for Best Television Animated Series. The plot revolves around a family of dogs and their friends, focusing on the moral challenges of growing up. The Barkers found audiences in such diverse cultures as Japan, Ukraine, Israel, Germany, and beyond (the series is available in the US on Netflix). In addition to its ethos of respect, a key to success for both of these programs was a visual style that is on par with the most advanced animated productions while possessing a pan-cultural appeal. As an integral part of the animation team for both, Andrei Myshev helped to establish the look of the characters which became so beloved in these international hit shows and would lead to his conscription on animated feature films.

Following his work on The Barkers, Andrei worked on Melnitsa Animation Studio’s first animated 3D film Fantastic Journey to Oz. The elite of the studios animation team was pegged to manifest a strong visual presence for this initial foray. The story follows Dorothy and her friends as they travel to Oz, a land which has unfortunately found itself under the rule of the oppressive Urfin. Andrei’s work on the film was focused on Urfin who is the antagonist of the film and one of its most important characters. Creating the “bad guy” for a children’s film is vastly different from doing so in films of previous eras. There’s an intersect of what children perceive and what their parents perceive in the motives of these characters; demanding artists like Mr. Myshev to imbue characters with layers that resonate on multiple levels. For the character Urfin, Andrei took some historical influences. He divulges, “In my research of references for Urfin, I stumbled upon a video of Mussolini. The movements seemed so theatrical to me, almost over the top. I went to the director and we discussed these gestures. They seemed to work so well for Urfin. It was a bold choice but I think it sparks different feelings in young and adult viewers but all with the same conclusion that this is a person to be concerned about.”

The concept of an animator sitting behind a computer all day and night is far from the experience of Andrei Myshev. He relates, “I’m challenged in so many ways in my work. I need to come to a deep understanding of these characters and get into their manner of thinking. I’ll have discussions with the director about a scene and getting the right result may even involve me being filmed for a reference and animating from there. Characters like Max on The Barkers make me think a certain way; Max is always getting into trouble. Of course, ultimately we’re putting good ideas out into the world for kids to learn about treating others well and trying to come to an understanding of all people. I feel really great about the fact that my creative outlet is aimed at this goal.”

Writer: Arlen Gann

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