The Brumberg Sisters

Katz, Maya Balakirsky

Born exactly a year apart, sisters Valentina and Zinaida Brumberg worked together their entire careers in the Soviet animation industry, becoming known as the “grandmothers of Russian animation” for their work in the fairytale genre (Katz 2016, 248n1). The Brumberg sisters are notable in Russian animation because they were among the first generation of animators in the country during the Revolutionary years, a unique environment that allowed women—even Jewish women—to make their way to the top of the industry. Perhaps their presence is more notable in the international arena as animation was dominated by men in the early decades and Valentina and Zinaida were among the first women in world animation, alongside anatomized pockets of female artists, such as Lotte Reiniger in Germany, Helena Smith Dayton in America, and Hermína Týrlová in Czechoslovakia. The Brumberg sisters were also at the forefront of many technical and aesthetic innovations, such as the projection of animated segments on theatrical stages, the use of paper cut-outs, the integration of folk styles for the stylization of indigenous tales, and the introduction of sound to Soviet animation.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
December 17, 2019