FNE at Golden Rose 2020: 18% Grey

    Dolya Gavanski and Ruscen Vidinliev in 18% Grey by Viktor Chouchkov Dolya Gavanski and Ruscen Vidinliev in 18% Grey by Viktor Chouchkov

    VARNA: Viktor Chouchkov’s second feature film 18% Grey will screen in the main competition of the 38th Golden Rose National Film Festival (24 September - 1 October 2020). It is a European coproduction between Bulgaria, Germany, Serbia, North Macedonia, and Belgium.

    The script is a free adaptation of Zachary Karabashliev’s bestseller 18% Gray. First published in 2008, the novel impressed with its boldness in describing the certain American underground from the point of view of a Bulgarian emigrant in the 90s. Bulgarian photographer Zack undergoes a wild trip through Europe, which helps him discover truths about the woman he loves and himself.

    “When I first read the novel, I found topics and questions that really interested me. I saw the possibility of showing a collective state of mind using the form of a geographical and spiritual road film. What I wanted was to show a Bulgarian point of view to profoundly European feelings”, Viktor Chouchkov Jr. told FNE. „As it is rich in variations between white and black, the right colour for doing that was gray. There are so many shades of gray. This is what the film is about."

    “The action does not take place in Bulgaria and this required a lot of effort to assure international funding, casts, and production crews. It also took us a long time to finalise the script. We finished it only months before the first shooting day”, producer Borislav Chouchkov told FNE.

    International star Ruscen Vidinliev and London based Dolya Gavanski are the leads. The international cast includes English actors Ron Cook, Orlando Seale, and Madeleine Cannon; Belgian actors Joke Emmers and Boris Van Severen; Scottish actor Norman Bowman; Austrian actor Susanne Wuest; and Bulgarian/German actor Samuel Finzi.

    The shooting took place in two parts: the first in October 2017, and the second in April 2018 in the UK, Germany, and Belgium.

    The film was produced by Bulgaria’s Chouchkov Brothers in partnership with Germany’s Ostlicht Filmproduktion, Serbia’s Cinnamon Films, North Macedonia’s Sektor Film and Belgium’s Raised by Wolves. The film is supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center, MDM, the North Macedonia Film Agency, Film Center Serbia, Belga Films Fund Taxshelter, and Creative Europe Media Development.

    Purple Rain Film Distribution started the national release on 24 January 2020. According to CEO Nevena Markova, before the Covid-19 lockdown of 13 March 2020 the film attracted over 20,000 admissions. 

    Production Information:

    Chouchkov Brothers (Bulgaria)

    Coproducers :
    Bulgarian National Television
    Ostlicht Filmproduktion (Germany)
    Cinnamon Films (Serbia)
    Sektor Film (North Macedonia)
    Raised by Wolves (Belgium)

    Director: Viktor Chouchkov Jr.
    Scriptwriters: Hilary Norrish, Dolya Gavanski, Zachary Karabаshliev
    DoP: Nenad Borojević
    Composer: Viktor Chouchkov
    Cast: Ruscen Vidinliev, Dolya Gavanski, Ron Cook, Joke Emmers, Boris Van Severen, Orlando Seale, Norman Bowman, Susanne Wuest, Samuel Finzi, Madeleine Cannon