The Movie Industry Comes to AUBG
If you consider being a filmmaker, you need to learn to be a storyteller first, according to Nikolai Akimov and Silvia Avdala, director and co-director, respectively. When you are involved in big projects such as a movie production, you need to have something meaningful to say.
Akimov and Avdala spoke in front of the AUBG students on Monday Nov. 23, at the lecture “The Story of a Movie-Maker”, which was the first official initiative of the newly endorsed AUBG Movie-Making Club.
Nikolai Akimov is an established Bulgarian screenwriter, director and manager of the documentary film studio Vreme. He has directed both Clinic on The Third Floor, a medical comedy TV series which heals its ‘patients’ with laughter, and А Little Night Fairy Tale, the first musical of its kind in Bulgaria.
The director talked about his project in collaboration with Silvia Avdala, who is a co-director. Even though she doesn’t have a film education, she has the desire and the ideas to make movies, which, according to Akimov, is enough. He believes that you need to have passion to do something significant. “Everything that I’ve learned, I’ve learned by myself,” he said.
The film they are currently working on talks about the rescue of the Bulgarian Jews by the Bulgarian government during World War II. It is going to be a documentary with a bit of a twist. After doing a lot of research and finding numerous documents on the issue, the team decided to restore the documents they had previously found. Their decision was based upon the argument that “documents are not emotional, so we decided to make the documents live”, said Akimov.
The director said that what they found in the documents is “different from what was written in our textbooks.” He played a part of the film, an interview with Abraham Foxman, an American lawyer, who argued that Bulgaria possesses a history that distinguishes it from the rest – something which is worth preserving.
Akimov also talked about his second project, which is concerned with the invention of the Bulgarian alphabet and its creators, the Saints Cyril and Methodius. According to Violeta Nikolova, a fourth-year student, the event was useful. “I believe that it brought value to the liberal arts institution, in which we are part of ,” she said.
At the end of the lecture, the director laid out a suggestion to collaborate with the movie-making enthusiasts from AUBG. Akimov encouraged the students to be engaged, to share their ideas and not to worry about the money, because sometimes great films are done with a low budget. Ilda Kacerja, a third-year student, supported the idea of a joint project.
Mia Redzhova, a first-year student, said that the event “was exciting for me to gain an insight into the film industry, especially since I plan on taking the Film Studies minor here at AUBG.”
At the end, the students could ask questions. However, according to Nikolova, the audience was preoccupied with various events going around campus and the director couldn’t grab its attention. “It became evident at the end of the presentation when the students, including myself, paid little attention to be asking questions to someone, who could give us worthy answers,” she said.