“A movie in hand” – the different kind of movie festival

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Photo: mkino.org

Tired of American blockbusters, of their special effects and huge budgets? Everywhere you look, there are movies like that because they bring in the big money. The question what audiences actually want is something producers and directors do not want to think about because they know that even though we live in a world of consumerism, there are still people who are not thrilled by films with a predictable story and ending. Movies made for such an audience are to be found in European cinema, but also in short films.

There is a short film festival which is rather special – it is for movies made using mobile phones. What is the aim of the festival and how did the idea for the festival “A movie in hand” come about? The answer from film critic Alexander Donev:

Снимка“The idea belongs to the chairman of the board of the Dobri Voinikov chitalishte (community culture club) in Shumen Nikolay Nikolov who is a fan of independent cinema. To my mind there is no clear dividing line between the different kinds of movies – they spill over into one another. In contemporary professional cinema there are a great many films that are funded and created independently, nonetheless they bring in a large enough audience. At this time it can be said that the audience is divided, almost equally, between films which are state-financed and films made via some form of private financing. I think that amateur film-making and the movies people make for their own selves, to demonstrate their ability to express themselves in films, this is a very important opportunity for the society we live in.”

Donev adds that the films are not longer than 5 minutes and that they touch upon subject’s films that state or privately funded do not. The festival was organized for the third year running, once again with the serious participation of movies from Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia, Moldova and Turkey. The jury, which included well-known professionals in cinema, TV and journalism, faced the difficult job of selecting their favourite out of 63 titles. Ultimately, they chose Georgi Martev’s “Going mad”; what impressed them was its minimalism. Even though it was shot inside one room using the minimum of props, and without sophisticated acting or dialogue, the movie reaches out to viewers with the way the author describes someone on the brink of hysteria and the way they see their life and the challenges it brings. Besides the jury, the audience also selected their own favourite – the film by 17-year old Antonina Lozanova from Vidin. “Severozabraveni” – loosely translated as “The forgotten Northwest” - traces the lives of the elderly living in the Northwestern part of the country.


The film was awarded for its social significance. When we talk of the Northwest it is with a heavy heart, because we know that young people – the future of this part of the country – have left it long ago and are either living abroad or have moved to big cities in search of a better life.

English version: Milena Daynova

Photos: mkino.org and BGNES
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