Snow in Bulgaria
#4 Nonlinear Film School - we're not in control
Three days after I arrived in Bulgaria we started filming the second part of our feature film “Don’t Close Your Eyes”. It’s been an honor to work with fellow professionals in Bulgaria. Our film company Itchy Rodent Films is co-producing. I’m also the Creative Producer on the film.
What I’ve heard around Bulgaria in passing and in conversation:
This Thank You was sincere and not in quotes.
I dipped my feet in hot water and sea salt and broke the fever.
Those who don’t know what to build destroy what was built before them.
Krastio Lafazanov on the swings. Mr. Lafazanov is currently one of the biggest theatre and film actors in Bulgaria.
He has embraced wholeheartedly playing a priest. He lands a wonderful nuance to the role. A tenderness and lightness rooted in faith and service.
I asked Mr. Lafazanov if he has been to the US:
Yes. After a performance we were leaving through a dim alley when I heard high heels trailing us. I turned - there was nobody there. We picked up our pace. Then, I heard them again - tak, tak, tak - this time a Bulgarian woman from the audience brushed my hand and said, “Mr. Lafazanov, I’m pregnant with my first child. I wanted to touch you for good luck.”
Ten years later a woman approached me after a show and said, “Remember me. I touched you for good luck. I have two children now and I’m expecting a third.”
The second part of the first film day we spent on a rented city bus.
An extra on the bus:
I lived in Chicago for twenty years. Nobody warned me that everything they showed us in the movies was owned by the bank. I had to go there to find out.
The next day we filmed in a church.
The main actor Alexander Kanev after singing through the church service:
I don’t know what’s happening, but I’m on the verge of tears.
The retired lady at the church who sells candles, to me and the Production Coordinator:
Father Alexander is the best singer of church hymns in Sofia. 5:30 PM every Saturday is when he sings. Join us if you are free. Many single girls come.
I just got divorced.
We had to reshoot the entire scene above the following day because of a snow storm.
Our 3rd AD with one of Bulgaria’s all time greats - Pavel Popandov.
This is what our location looked like on Friday. Two major scenes take place here during the course of a day in the film.
And this is what it looked like the next morning.
BTW, the director of the film wishes to stay incognito until the film is done. That’s why he is not in the pictures and I’m not mentioning his name.
In the tent, between takes, with the snow falling harder and harder I reminded him:
We’re not in control.
Snow kept falling all day. We had to think on our feet. How do we make the snow work? It was an intense first hour until we figured out where this now snowy scene would fit. We decided to flip the places of the two major climax scenes and reshoot some minor scenes from the day before.
When we quit being in control, a problem becomes a solution.
Our 1st AD put it perfectly:
I don’t see problems, I see situations.
Inside the tent we keep warm while actor Hristo Gurbov freezes.
The 2nd AC cleans the lens from snow flakes.
The next morning Sofia looked like this.
A comic book installation in the town of Plovdiv where I was on “Kaval Park” business.
I saw “Napoleon” during a much needed afternoon break. It lacked direction and felt torn between what story to tell. But then I remembered that Ridley Scott’s original cut is 5 hours. It makes sense. The longer one will be released on Apple TV.
The youngest actors on our set.
Imagine your life as you wish it to be this Holiday season and fill the lives of those around you with light, my friends!
Till next time!