“Rus’” Partnership

During the First World War, interest in cinematography was extremely high but owing to the political climate and due to the embargo imposed, foreign film rental in Russia sharply declined. This gave rise to an increase in national film production. In Moscow alone, there were 23 production companies. Amongst them was the “Rus’” partnership, founded in 1915 by Kostroma merchant and Old Believer Mikhail Semenovich Trofimov.


The company was founded in Moscow in 1915 by the Old Believer and merchant from Kostroma Mikhail Trofimov and engineer Moisey Aleynikov. In 1916, filming facilities were built for the studio on Butyrskaya and Verkhnaya Maslovka Street. At the opening of the first of these Trofimov stated: “I’m not in it for the money. Capitalising on art is utter sacrilege! I’ve been able to make a decent living, having fallen madly in love with cinematography and I want to put Russia on the world map for this, just like it is with Russian literature and theatre…”

In line with the principles of its founding father, the company’s particular focus lay in bringing Russian classics to the big screen. In doing so, they invited Moscow theatre actors to take part in films. Ivan Moskvin’s first film role was in the old classic “Polikushka”. Directors Nikolai Malikov, Aleksandr Chargonin, Ladislav Starevich, Yuri Zhelyabuzhsky, Aleksandr Sanin amongst others worked out of the studio.

From 1918-1920 film production was moved to sister companies in Odessa and Yalta. After the fall of Baron Wrangel’s government in the Crimea, Trofimov emigrated. However, in 1924 he returned to the USSR and became one of the informal heads of his “Mezhrabpom-Rus’” cooperative company.



(cinematic body of the Workers International Relief organisation – “Mezhrabpom”).


Founded in 1924 on the basis of Mikhail Trofimov’s “Rus’” film studio and the community cinema division of the Workers International Relief (“Mezrabpom”).

On the 15th of October 1924, a dispute began at the State Academy of the Arts about the film “Aelita” with a statement given by V. K. Turkin. On the 3rd of December at a Central Committee of the Communist Party meeting on political leadership of the work of the “Mezhrabpom-Rus’” film company, the release of “Aelita” abroad was banned.

The company published its own periodical, “Kino-gazeta”.

In 1928 “Mezhrabpomfilm” was converted into a film studio (in 1936 it was turned into the “Soyuzdetfilm” film studio).



“Mezhrabpomfilm” is a Soviet German film organisation, established in 1928 in Moscow on the basis of dissolved joint-stock company “Mezhrabpom-Rus’”.

Well-known classics such as “Potomok Genghis Khan” (Descendants of Genghis Khan) (1928), “Putyovka v Zhizh’” (Road to Life) (1931), “Tri Pesni o Leninye” (Three Songs about Lenin) (1934) were all filmed at the “Mezhrabpomfilm” studio. It was also where Pavel Tager and his fellow workers invented one of the first domestic cinema audio systems.



The Soviet film studio dedicated to films for children and young people came into being in 1936 on the basis of the “Mezrabpomfilm” film studio.


As early as 1930 it was proposed that a studio for children’s films be established. Many considered this to be a premature move. In 1936, the cartoons “Ai-Gul’” and “Troyo s odnoi ylitsoi” produced by “Soyuzdetfilm” appear for the first time on TV screens across the country.

From 1941 to 1943, the film studio was temporarily evacuated to Stalingrad.


Moscow’s Gorky Film Studio

After the war, the question arose as to whether “Soyuzdetfilm” should be acquired by and re-branded under Mosfilm. But director Mark Donskoy sent the following reply to Voroshilov:

“The “Soyuzdetfilm” brand has garnered worldwide recognition thanks to my Gorky trilogy. Nowhere in the world is there childrens’ cinema as good as ours. You can’t seriously want to shut it down?”

Voroshilov got the message and went to persuade Stalin it was the wrong thing to do. This was the response he got: “Well, once the famous trilogy has been withdrawn, let’s rename it Gorky studio and leave it be”.

So it was that in 1948, “Soyuzdetfilm” became the Gorky Film Studio.


From 1963 through 2003, the studio was called the “Maxim Gorky Central Film Studio for Children and Youth”.


It was awarded a Red Banner of Labour Order and came to be known as the “Maxim Gorky Red Banner of Labour Order-awarded Central Film Studio for Children and Youth”.


“Semnadtsat’ mgnoveniy vesny” (Seventeen Moments of Spring)

One of the most popular national TV series of all time – “Semnadtsat’ mgnoveniy vesny” (by Yulian Semenov and Tatyana Lioznova) – was produced at the Gorky Film Studio.


It was awarded a Red Banner of Labour Order and came to be known as the “Maxim Gorky Red Banner of Labour Order-awarded Central Film Studio for Children and Youth”.



In 1975, “Eralash”, a children’s comic was published by the studio.


On the 4th of December 2003 the film studio was incorporated under a different name – OJSC “Maxim Gorky Central Film Studio for Children and Youth”.


The film studio’s centenary

The Maxim Gorky Film Studio for Children and Youth is turning 100 years old. It’s almost as old as the art of cinema itself, and as a result, it’s history is in many ways intrinsically linked to the evolution of national cinematography. It was here where the first motion picture with sound – “Putyovka v zhizhn’” (Road to Life), the first musical – “Garmon”, and the first colour picture – “Grunya Kornakova” were shot.

Over the years the film studio has released over 1000 films, many of which are some of the top-rented films in the nation and without which the history of national cinema would be nothing.

The Gorky Film Studio opens an “Avenue of Stars”

To mark its centenary, the studio is opening its own “Avenue of Stars” akin to the Walk of Fame in Hollywood. It will feature sixteen commemorative plaques. Amongst stars to be commemorated on the Avenue of Stars are Lev Kuleshov, Vsevolod Pudovkin, Alexander Rou, Sergey Gerasimov, Vasily Shukshin and Tatyana Lioznova.