Request catalogue

Estonian Animation: Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy

Estonian Animation: Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy

<< back
  View all Animation books
Book cover

Estonian Animation: Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy

By Chris Robinson

Publication date: December 2006
Total pages: 288
ISBN: 0 86196 667 8
Price: £ 17.50


"Ever wonder why Estonian animation features so many carrots or why cows often perform pyramids? Well, neither question is answered in Chris Robinson's new book,  A Story of Estonian Animation. Robinson's frank, humorous, and thoroughly researched book traces the history of Estonia's acclaimed animation scene from early experiments in the 1930s, to the creation of puppet (Nukufilm) and cel (Joonisfilm) animation studios during the Soviet era, and right up to Estonia's surprising international success during the post-Soviet era. In addition, Robinson's book includes the discovery of films by four 1960s animation pioneers who, until the release of this book, had been unknown to both Estonian and International animation historians."


Reviews of the first edition, published in Estonia:

“Chris Robinson tells this story in an engagingly lighthearted, slightly sardonic conversational tone. It is deeply researched, tracing an intricate path from early puppetry, through drawn animation and the fall of the Iron Curtain, to the growing pains modern Estonia faces with EU membership.”
Shaun Smith, Montage Magazine

“Robinson's book isn 0146t, despite all of its thorough research, a work that pretends to have an absolute objectivity. It is rather the views of one person, a devotee of Estonian animation – written in a engrossing style and conveying the past and the present, and placing it in a wider historical context.”
Tiit Tuumalu, Postimees, Estonian Daily News

“As I read this book I became more enthralled and my mind opened to the peculiar difficulties animators faced when creating animation under the Communist system, working on two levels like two sides of a coin. The secret to the black humor and unique genius of Estonian animation of this period lies in the lengths to which they went to disguise the political and social themes they had set in their films. In the process, they managed to sneak by some of the most humorous, poignant and subversive work created in the Soviet block.”
Nancy-Denny Phelps, ASIFA-San Francisco

“This is a good book, definitely worth reading. It is interesting, well written and gives a lot for both those who are knowledgeable about the subject as well as those who are unfamiliar with it.”
Heikki Jokinen, Animation World Magazine

“The animation world is like a mountainous landscape. Estonian animation films have successfully conquered many of those peaks. With Chris Robinson’s book there is yet one more mountain-top that has been won. Into the family of worthwhile books on animation, there is from this time forward also one that tells the story of Estonian animation.”
Janno Poldma, Estonian animator, director, 1895 and On the Possibility of Love


Chris Robinson is an Ottawa-based author who has been a Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival since 1994. A noted animation commentator, curator, and historian, Robinson has become a leading expert on Canadian and International independent animation. His acclaimed OIAF programming has been regarded as thoughtful, innovative, and provocative. In May 2004, Robinson was the recipient of the President’s Award given by the New York chapter of animators for contributions to the promotion of independent animation.

His books include Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy: A Story of Estonian Animation (2003), Ottawa Senators: Great Stories from the NHL’s first dynasty (2004) , Unsung Heroes of Animation (2005), Great Left Wingers (2006), and the critically acclaimed, Stole This From a Hockey Card: A Philosophy of Hockey, Doug Harvey, Identity and Booze (2005).

Back to top