сряда, 8 октомври 2008 г.
The big journey of a story
Komandarev and Kianov’s cinema project is one of the three European productions nominated for the European Film Academy award.
A red carpet, a brass and three all dressed up men named Stefan, meet the guests attending the premiere of the new Bulgarian film “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner” taking place at Arena Cinema Mladost. A lot of guests are late stuck at the traffic jams so typical of evening Sofia. Some, however, seem to be more enterprising and appear two-wheeled instead of four. Stefan Komandarev, the film director, and Vasil Vasilev-Zueka ride the unique tandem from the movie having replaced the lead protagonists Bai Dan (Miki Manojlovic) and Alexander (Carlo Ljubek). Then, Stefan Valdobrev and the producer Stefan Kitanov manage to get the bike for a ride as well. The cinema foyer is largely occupied by backgammon players, perhaps for the first time ever. The overall atmosphere of the movie has overwhelmed the audience even outside the auditorium. In brief, this is a Balkan tragicomic story. To a certain degree it is autobiographic, describing the life of the author, Ilija Trojanov, whose family manages to escape beyond the "Iron Curtain" in 1971 first in Italy, later in Germany. The adult Alexander, after having survived a severe car crash, returns to the former young Sashko. All starts with a game of backgammon where “Fate is the dice you hold in your hands and life is a game played on the edge between luck and skill”. If one is to paraphrase the title of this new Bulgarian movie based on Ilija Trojanov’s novel it would sound like this: “The Production Is Big and A Lot of Teams Lurk Around the Corner”. The story of this movie’s creation is almost as interesting and filled with as many journeys as Trojanov’s plot itself. The idea of a film based on the book “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner”, which has gone through several editions in Germany, started 8 years ago. It took six months to discover the adventurer author who doesn’t like staying at one place all the time. “I managed to find Ilija Trojanov during the summer of 2000 and I wrote him an e-mail while he was in India”, remembers Stefan Komandarev, the director. Several moths later Trojanov replies Komandarev’s e-mail while being on a safari in Africa: “Go on! You have my consent!”
Stefan Komandarev calls Stefan Kitanov (Kita) and at the end of 2000 the two of them meet in Kita’s preferred café for starting cinema projects “Memory café” on Kniaz Boris and Neofit Rilski Streets. Thus, work on the plot is begun, and it is going to continue during the following 8 years. The plot team comprises of four people including the popular Serbian script-writer and director Dusan Milic. The rest are Ilija Trojanov, Stefan Komandarev and Yuri Datchev. After each script is written, discussions and detailed analysis are carried out together with two of the most eminent European scenario consultants - Sabine Pochhammer from Germany and Isabel Blanchard from France. In order to gain a full idea about the precise and hard work of the script team, one has to know that for the period 2001 - 2006 the scenario underwent 17 major versions.
“No one believed that we had managed to fit in the €2 million budget which is considered insufficient according to the European scale”, recalls the Bulgarian producer Stefan Kitanov. “The paradox is that in Bulgaria this was considered an extremely huge budget in 2006.”
“The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner” opened the way for the big money in Bulgarian cinema. It was the first film granted such a large fund by the National Film Centre (NFC). After it the amounts kept rising up”. The other paradox is that NFC granted only 30% of the whole Komandarev’s movie budget.
By tomorrow “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner” is going to lurk Bulgarian cinema-lovers around the whole country’s movie theaters.
The project’s big journey
2001- Emir Kusturica’s German producer, Kim Ki-duk, and Sergei Bodrov liked the title very much on the meeting with Stefan Kitanov during The Berlin International Film Festival.
2002 - “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks...” is the first Bulgarian cinema project approved via an European MEDIA PLUS programme. Right after this the project receives the support of the big fund “South-eastern movie network”.
2003 - The project is introduced on the cinema projects’ market in Leipzig and becomes a personal favourite of the German MDM fund’s director Manfred Schmidt.
2006 – A historic meeting between Bulgarian and German producers – this time in Stefan Kitanov’s favourite roadside pub “Chale Magistrale” somewhere between Niš and Belgrade. There, under the spell of Serbian grill specialties washed down by hot brandy, the team decides that the project has gathered enough speed in order to start shooting.
The end of 2006 - EUROIMAGE makes the important decision to support the film. Other cinema funds from Slovenia also take part.
The beginning of 2007 – The Hungarian co-producers join the team.
April 2007 – Shooting starts and ends in just 8 weeks – 5 in Bulgaria, 2 in Germany and 1 in Slovenia. This is a record-breaking short time for such a large production, filmed in 4 countries.