Film New Europe and Independent Film Foundation are celebrating the 10th anniversary of ScripTeast with a series of weekly interviews with scriptwriters and key players involved in ScripTeast activity. This week we focus on Bulgaria and we speak with the director, producer and scriptwriter Stephan Komandarev from Argo Film, and also with the scriptwriter and director Iglika Triffonova, who won the Krzysztof Kieslowski ScripTeast Award in 2011.
Bulgarian films produced from ScripTeast:
Tilt written by Dimitar Kotzev-Shosho & Borislav Chouchkov – 1st edition, 2006/2007The Corpse Collector written by Juliana Stoyanova & Marin Damyanov – 2nd edition, 2007/2008The Judgement written by Stephan Komandarev & Marin Damyanov - 4th edition, 2009/2010The Prosecutor, the Defender, the Father and His Son written by Iglika Triffonova - 5th edition, 2010/2011- Awarded with Krzysztof Kieslowski ScripTeast Award 2011
Bulgarian scripts selected for ScripTeast currently in production:Gramophone written by Rouzie Hassanova - 4th edition, 2009/2010The Notebook written by Svetla Tsotsorkova - 6th edition, 2011/2012
Other Bulgarian Scripts Selected for ScripTeast:18% Gray written by Borislav Chouchkov &Viktor Chouchkov Jr. - 7th session, 2012/2013The Year of the Kuker (Bulgaria, Serbia) written by Nadejda Koseva &Bojan Vuletić - 7th session, 2012/2013The Young Friends of the USSR Club by Stephan Komandarev &Emil Spahiyski - 7th session, 2012/2013Call Me Shakespeare written by Valeri Yordanov - 8th session, 2013/2014Nanook written by Milko Lazarow &Simeon Ventsislavov - 9th session, 2014/2015A Picture with Yuki written by Dimitar Stoyanovich &Lachezar Avramov - 10th session, 2015/2016Letters from Antarctica written by Teodora Markova - 10th session, 2015/2016
Interview with Stephan Komandarev
By FNE Staff
FNE: What was the most important development in your national cinema in 2015?
Stephan Komandarev: For sure we have development in at least two directions:- Comparing to previous years we have more films and this is really good news. I hope this tendency continues.- Bigger diversity – we have more low budget films, coproductions, more independently produced films, more short films. Some of these various films are in different styles – from art house to audience oriented films.
FNE: Why is ScripTeast important for your country and how do you evaluate its activity so far?
Stephan Komandarev: Very positive. A lot of Bulgarian films were developed at ScripTeast. I already have one completed film developed there – The Judgment (2014). Another project, The Other Men, is in the financing stage. The main result of the participation in ScripTeast is a serious improvement of the script. Working with people and script advisors from different countries is very useful and helps reach an international level and also the spirit of the script.
FNE: How important is for a producer to produce a film based on a script participating at ScripTeast?
Stephan Komandarev: During ScripTeast sessions the producer receives good feedback and advice about the possibilities to produce the project. The participation in the sessions in Berlin and Cannes also helps a lot – the producer has a lot of opportunities to present and network the project. At the end of the programme the result is a good script and many different options to produce the film.
FNE: Do you see ScripTeast as a validation for the quality of a script?
Stephan Komandarev: Of course, the participation of a film project in ScripTeast is a guarantee for a well developed script. And this helps a lot with the financing of the movie.
Stephan Komandarev’s debut feature, Dog’s Home, premiered in Berlinale’s Forum in 2001, while his second feature film, The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner (RFF Intl), won over 35 festival prizes and was shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars in 2009. He also directed The Judgment, which together with The Young Friends of the USSR Club was selected for ScripTeast. He founded Argo Film Ltd in 1999.
Interview with Iglika Triffonova
FNE: What is your most vivid memory from ScripTeast?
Iglika Triffonova: The thing I will never forget is my first meeting with Tom Abrams. I had some fears and doubts about my script and he gave me the feeling that I've met a soul mate. I still remember some details from the conversation we had.
I also remember the wonderful and cosy atmosphere of the final party in Sterdyn and, of course, the podium on the seaside street in Cannes where we had the honor to be standing for a few minutes.
FNE: How important it was for you to participate? Does winning make a big difference?
Iglika Triffonova: For me it was the first and the most important test about how other people view the script, what touches them and what it is they don't understand. Winning the award was inspiring and gave me the courage I needed to talk to the foreign actors when I invited them to work in the project. The award is named after Krzysztof Kieslowski and this fact makes me respect and cherish it even more.
FNE: What was the most important advice you received at ScripTeast?
Iglika Triffonova: I received a lot of meaningful advice and most importantly it was all directed towards my own searches, without being a professional juggling with the text of the script. The most important piece of advice was to use all that advice only if I truly believe in it.
FNE: In which way ScripTeast is different from other script development workshops?
Iglika Triffonova: What makes ScripTeast different is the great respect for the scripts of the participants, the cosy atmosphere in which they are immersed and the brilliant sense of humor of the mentors.
FNE: What are you working on now?
Iglika Triffonova: I'm literally starting a new project, so I'm sitting in front of a white sheet of paper, trying to create a text. For the first time in my life the script will be based on a book and as soon as I manage to write a version, I'll send it to ScripTeast.
Iglika Triffonova’s debut feature, Letter to America (2001, Klas Film), was the Bulgarian nominee for the 2001 Oscar awards for Best Foreign Film and was selected for over 60 international festivals. She also made Investigation (2006, Klas Film), The Prosecutor, the Defender, the Father and His Son (2015, Klas Film). She is currently in postproduction with the feature film Lift for Patients.