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Tanda – Bulgarian film about love and loneliness is among top contestants for Student Oscars

“Tanda” is a term in tango that means 4 pieces danced with the same partner. This is also the name of the documentary film of Teodora-Kosara Popova - a student at the National Film and Theatre Academy in Sofia, who has every chance to win an Oscar. Her film is among the three nominations for a foreign- language student film for the American Film Academy Awards. The winning titles will be announced on October 16th this year.

Tango is not only a beautiful background of her film, it is interwoven into the stories of her four characters. What do they have in common? "At first glance, this is their passion for dancing, but not only! These are people who have chosen a lonely path in life, they are looking for love, each in their own way!” the film author tells Radio Bulgaria.

For Teodora-Kosara, tango is not just a dance, but a philosophy of life. She herself has been dancing tango for years. This is how the idea for this documentary was born.

"Tango is a way of life," Teodora believes. “It attracts many special people who suffer in some way, who lack something and especially people who are lonely. And in tango they find a very special form of sharing. The film is a mirror of all these human emotions. I believe that a good director is first and foremost a documentary filmmaker who tries to capture reality as it is, and only then can he or she recreate it in feature films. That's why I deal with documentaries. “

Teodora-Kosara Popova

Each of the characters in “Tanda” finds something different in the dance. The author admits that she knew her characters from before she started shooting the 24-minute film. She focuses on their stories because they excited her the most.

"This film was a homework I had to do for the Sofia Film Academy, a well-done homework, but it wasn't meant to be anything more than that. In addition, “Tanda” was filmed literally overnight. I organized an event to which we invited all tango dancers in Sofia. And most of them responded. In fact, we filmed them all the time. I recorded the interviews earlier within several days. Because of the dancing people who had to be closely followed by the camera, we used light equipment instead of heavy cameras.


The news that she has been nominated for a student Oscar came to her “like a bolt from the blue”.

"Honestly, I'm extremely surprised that the film got there at all, because it's not to Hollywood's taste, at least not in my view!" "Tanda" is not some shiny super-production”, Teodora-Kosara says. “And I didn’t expect they would appreciate it. But apparently the film touched them. I believe this is a very different film. The fact that it went so far as to be noticed by the American Film Academy gives me hope. But it's important enough to me that Tanda manages to reach people and touch them."


Teodora-Kosara is currently finishing filming her latest film, “Chereshova Zadushnitsa” (Cherry All Souls’ Day). It was filmed in the Rhodope Mountains and, unlike Tanda, it is a feature film. "Yet it also has elements of documentary film making!" , the young director admits.

English Rossitsa Petcova

Photos: courtesy of Teodora-Kosara Popova and library

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