1882 : August 8th, Moscow : birth of Ladislas Alexandrowitch Starewitch (Polish nationality).

1886 : Death of his mother.

  • Upbringing in the surroundings of Kovno (Lithuania) by his maternal grand’ parents.
  • Elementary schooling in Kovno, secondary schooling in Dorpat (Estonia).
  • Expelled from school because of his independant and critical mind.
  • Interested in drawning, painting, entomology he collects butterflies, writes in newspapers and acts in theatre plays.

To a great extent Starewitch is a self-taught man who earns his leaving by selling his pictures.

1906 : November 25th : marriage to Anna Zimmermann.

1907 : Birth of their first daughter Irène. As a child she acted in her father’s picture The Lily of Belgium and other films.

  • She was his assistant-director and worked with him from the 1920’s till his death. Then she devoted the rest of her life to preserve his work. Making cadastral surveys he is a civil servant at the Land Registry Commission in Kovno ; he is also a theatre actor and a photographer during his freetime he attends the first film screenings that are organised in the region.
  • He has business dealings with the Kovno Ethnography Museum that asks him to photography the countryside and film folk ceremonies. According to some testimonies Starewitch is one of the two Museum founders. It is for this Museum that he shot his first live action film : Beyond the River Niemen, in 1909.

1910 : Publications of caricatures in Kovienskoïé Ziepkalo (The Kovno Mirror).
   To throw light on the way insects used to live he directed Lucanus Cervus, his first frame by frame picture using artificial stag – beetles made of plasticine and wire - his first animated puppets.
   Encouraged by the success of this first animated film, he writes and directs his first scripts : The Beautiful Lukanida, in 1910, and The Ant and the Grasshopper, in 1911. He works for Alexandre Khanjonkov a well-known film producer. It’s an international success.

1912 : Ladislas Starewitch settles in his own home movie studio in Moscow.

1913 : Birth of their second daughter Jeanne. She will act in numerous pictures of the 1920’s as " Nina Star ".

   When World War I breaks out, Ladislas Starewitch has already directed about twenty films among them feature-films with famous actors like Ivan Mozzhukhin.
   But warfare and the Russian Revolution put an end to this comfortable life to come. He works for diverse producers.

1918-1919 : Ladislas Starewitch leaves Mocow for Odessa and Yalta. The Civil War and economical difficulties force him to leave Crimea. He goes to Italy, stays there for a while and goes to France.

1920 - 21. He arrives in France and definitively settles in the suburbs of Paris ; at first in Joinville-le-Pont and then in Fontenay-sous-Bois.

   Working in his own home movie studio he produces and directs films he has then distributed by various companies. In the 1920’s Ladislas Starewitch only directs animated puppet films. Thirteen short films are shot during this decade some of them include actors.

1925 : The Voice of the Nightingale (1923) is awarded the Hugo Riesenfiels Medal " as the most novel short subject motion picture in the USA during the year 1925 " (Medal inscription).

1928 : Production contract between Ladislas Starewitch and Louis Nalpas.

1933 : Breaching of this contract. All future Starewitch films are co-productions.

  • The early 30’s are still very prolific with The Lion and the Gnat, The Old Lion, the first shorts of the Mascot series and of course The Tale of the Fox (the pictures were shot between 1928 and 1930 but the French sound version was only released in France in 1941 (see more details in Filmography).
  • The late 20’s and the early 30’s can be regarded as the apogee in Ladislas Starewitch’s career. But scoring and colour upset conditions of film production. It was more and more difficult for a lonely author like Ladislas Starewitch to keep his place as well as to finf producers financing films.
  • World War II also brings difficulties.
  • But from the late 40’s until his death Ladislas Starewitch keeps on directing.

1947 : Zanzabelle in Paris is awarded the Gold Medal at the Venice Festival for the best children’s film. Ladislas Starewitch starts directing Midsummer Nightdream, a project he had been working on for ten years but he has to give up because of lack of money.

1949 : Fern Flower is awarded the First Price for the best animated film at the XIth Children’s Film Festival in Venice.

1956 : Death of Anna.

1965 : February 26th death of Ladislas Starewith while working on his last film " Like Dog and Cat ".

1984 : Death of Jeanne, Nina Star.

1992 : Death of Irène.


Starewitch Family in the 1930's.
Irène, Nina, Anna et Ladislas