Manaki Brothers - International Cinematographers’ Film Festival

The documentary of Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova has the theme of the communist past of Bulgaria

Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova are the director duo that stands behind the documentary “The Beast is Still Alive”, which caused a blast and flame of reactions in Bulgaria because of its theme’s specificity – the communist past of Bulgaria.

The two directors were present at the press conference after yesterday’s projection of their documentary and they explained in an interesting manner the road by which their films pierced from censorship to a phase of popularity in Bulgaria.

-A complex subject is at hands here. Almost all progressive people want to see themselves as socialists. I live in England for many years now and I often quarrel with the so-called “champagne socialists”, highly educated intellectuals, who we wonder with if the socialism is even possible and economically sustainable. Our base premise is to merge the stories of the people in Bulgaria of which no one knows together with the study of the Marxist ideas, and the forms of defeat of the ideas of socialism throughout the world. Also, an important subject in the film is the question of why aren’t the communism and socialism studied properly in Bulgaria – explained Mina Mileva.

On the other hand, Vesela Kazakova told us that, besides the film projections in cinemas, they also had a few projections at universities in Bulgaria, which have resulted in heated discussions with the young people who experienced the film very emotionally, especially the young leftists who didn’t know anything of the Bulgarian past.

The interesting thing about this film is that the censorship of the state actually helped them in their popularization. Their first film “Uncle Toni” was openly censored and wasn’t shown anywhere in Bulgaria, so they had simply concentrated on the foreign festivals and put the film on YouTube.

-About this film, the strategy of the establishment was the film to be simply ignored and by not getting the needed attention, the projections to become unsustainable. That was the case until the film was shown in prime-time on TV. That was followed by a flaming blast on social media, on Facebook and Twitter, where there was a real war going on. The Bulgarian Socialist party came out with a statement in which they required us to be censored and abolished… By doing that they actually did us a favor, because if there weren’t any reactions, there wouldn’t have been such a great impact made of the film. Since then, everyone in Bulgaria started attending the projections – explained Mina Mileva.

They detect the problem in the fact that Bulgaria hasn’t yet went through a process of lustration, so, according to them, a great percent of current officials in Bulgaria are staff of the KGB, and their personal contribution towards the enlightenment of the past is their true artistic vocation.

-The film pulled a lot of emotions and reactions with the viewers in Bulgaria. A lot of people started seeing us as activists, which was surprising to us to suddenly find ourselves in that role. But I think that with this film we found the true way in our work – concluded Vesela Kazakova