FNE at Golden Rose 2020: The Short Straw

    The Short Straw by Dimitar Petkov The Short Straw by Dimitar Petkov

    VARNA: Dimitar Petkov’s period drama The Short Straw (ARS Digital Studio) will screen in the main competition of the 38th Golden Rose National Film Festival (24 September - 1 October 2020). It is a period drama set 40 years ago, putting the head of a provincial police office and his subordinate officers in a fierce struggle against each other.

    Dimitre Zlatinov, who had emigrated to Australia decades ago, wrote the script. Based on a true story and originally intended for the theatre, the text was developed over three years and finally turned into a film script. The action takes place on the night of 28 December 1979, hours after Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan. 

    “I have always tried to figure out where to find the roots of what happened to us during the first post-communist decade. How did the political class in the 90s emerge and how did it build its vicious relationships; where did fear and blackmail come from and why otherwise responsible people got involved in dirty secrets? Now, after I've shot the film, I know much more about the DNA of that evil we once lived in“, Petkov told FNE. “But in no way did I want to make a heavy drama. The first half is very funny, things get rough gradually, so that by the end the audience can start bristling”.  

    Newcomer Nikola Stoyanov is the lead, surrounded by some of the most popular Bulgarian actors, including Valery Yordanov, Kitodar Todorov and Ruslan Maynov. Most of them were Petkov’s first choices, only confirmed by the castings that were completed afterwards.  

    The film was shot in October and November 2019 in Sofia and at the Kremikovtsi Monastery Lake.  

    DoP Ivan Tonev, who often shoots the films he produces, told FNE, “The film starts with hyperbolised colours and contrasts and passes to monochrome tonalities. Thus, through the vision I tried to paint the transition from smaller details to universal messages. Although the action takes place during the night, there were no night shootings at all, as they were all shot during the day”.  

    The film was produced by ARS Digital Studio with support from the Bulgarian National Film Center.  

    “We organised three test screenings with different audiences and this helped me cut some episodes and storylines. Now the duration of the film is 87 minutes and I am very thankful to the people for the reactions they shared with me”, Petkov concluded.

    Production Information:

    ARS Digital Studio
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    Director: Dimitar Petkov
    Scriptwriter: Dimitre Zlatinov
    DoP: Ivan Tonev
    Production Designer: Rositsa Bakeva
    Costumes: Kristina Tomova
    Composer: Konstantin Markov
    Editor: Ognyan Ivanov
    Cast: Nikola Stoyanov, Valery Yordanov, Kitodar Todorov, Ruslan Maynov, Yavor Borisov, Ivelin Nikolov, Miroslav Petrov, Boryana Manoilova,  Elizabet Marangozova,Vyara Kolarova