Vladimir Aleksandrovich Sashin-Fyodorov ('Dobrotvorsky')

Russian comic actor, cameraman, producer

Fyodorov began his acting career in provincial Russian theatres, moving eventually to Moscow, where he also developed an interest in photography. In the summer of 1896 he acquired a Vitagraphe, a combined camera, projector and printer constructed by the French firm Clément et Gilmer, and on 1 September 1896 his first films were announced, which all showed scenes of actors at Moscow's Fyodor Korsh theatre in the course of rehearsals, in their dressing rooms, during intervals, eating and leaving the theatre. Fyodorov also produced similar 'behind the scenes' films for the suburban theatre of Pushkino in the summer of 1897, and again at the Korsh theatre on 1 September 1897, at the opening of the theatre season. At the same time he also produced several films of general interest: Free Fire Brigade of Bogorodsk in Moscow, Horse-Drawn Railway in Moscow and the fiction pieces Playing the Ball and an imitation of Lumière's Arroseur Arrosé with Fyodorov playing the gardener. Although his films received much acclaim in Moscow, by 1898 his name disappears completely from the press reports of film activities. He continued his career as a theatre actor, but returned to films in the 1910s, acting in five films for Aleksandr Drankov and the Moscow branch of Pathé Frères. In 1915 he established the First Sign film company, designed for the film reproduction of famous theatre performances, but whose debut production of Gogol's The Inspector General, though boasting an outstanding cast, was filmed in a wholly archaic manner. Illness overtook Fyodorov after 1916, his film business failed and he left the stage. None of his films is known to survive.

Rashit Yangirov