PRODUCTION: Bulgarian Scriptwriter/Director Dimitar Stoyanovich Wraps Shooting Debut Feature Flesh

    Plamena Getova & Vesela Babinova in Flesh by Dimitar Stoyanovich Plamena Getova & Vesela Babinova in Flesh by Dimitar Stoyanovich credit: Geo Pavlov

    SOFIA: Scriptwriter Dimitar Stoyanovich completed the shooting of his first feature film Flesh, which is produced by PREMIERstudio and supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center.

    The script penned by Stoyanovich focuses on the painful experiences of Nadejda, who while translating the novel Flesh by the fictional Nobel Prize winner Yukio Kobayashi, finds out she has a head tumor. The plot is built up from three parallel stories: the first one shows the relations between Nadejda and her daughter, the second unveils paragraphs from the novel, and the third one deals with the carcinoma microcosm itself.

    “For years I used to be an on the spot witness of the tragedy of my mother, actress Ani Bakalova, who was diagnosed with cancer. At that time, I did not realise what was coming. We reassured each other with big smiles that we might overcome the disease and that our spirits would prevail over the flesh. But it did not turn out that way. Only the soul was strong to the end. As I had been in love with Japan since I was a child, I invented the writer Yukio Kobayashi and that helped me to introduce a more philosophical concept of the flesh as the main factor of human existence. Flesh is a pure personal story, which I wrote in about 20 days during the summer of 2020”, Stoyanovich told FNE.

    Asked about the casting, the first time director said: “Being the son of an actress, I believe in actors, in their discipline, emotional intelligence and ability to delve into the psychology of what is happening. The script implied working with professional actors, and I had a clear idea on them. Plamena Getova, who plays Nadejda, is a very deep actress and a strong woman. For the part of the daughter I chose Vesela Babinova, a talented representative of the younger generation, whom I already had in mind while writing the script”.

    The rest of the cast includes popular Bulgarian actors such as Julian Vergov, Dilyana Popova, Rashko Mladenov, Rushi Videnliev, Nâzım Karakurt, Stefan Mavrodiev and Nikolaos Tsitiridis.

    Following the director’s preferences, DoP Rali Ralchev used “longer, academic shots, during which the camera mainly documented reality without participating in what was happening”, according to Dimitar Stoyanovich.

    Nikolay Mutafchiev is producing through PREMIERstudio with support of nearly 200,000 EUR from the Bulgarian National Film Center. “The biggest challenge for the production of this low budget film was to recreate the evolution of the main character's illness without compromises and in a most realistic way”, Mutafchiev told FNE.

    The nearly three weeks of principal shooting started on 24 November 2022. The so called “Japanese scenes” were shot in October, and an extra day was added in late December 2022. The main locations included emblematic places in Sofia such as the Saint Catherina University Hospital, the literary club “The Pen”, the Comedy Club Sofia, the Raffy Bar & Gelato restaurant, as well as a TV studio owned by bTV.

    Known for his collaboration with director Lachezar Avramov, Dimitar Stoyanovich co-wrote with him A Picture with Youki (2019), coproduced by Bulgaria’s Chouchkov Brothers and Japan’s Wa Entertainment, as well as Yellow Oleander (2021), produced by PREMIERstudio. In 2014 he wrote the 6-part series On the Border for the Bulgarian National Television, and in 2008 The Stalker, another production of the national broadcaster, produced together with Incomes Project.

    Production Information:

    PREMIERstudio (Bulgaria)
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    Director: Dimitar Stoyanovich
    Script: Dimitar Stoyanovich
    DoP: Rali Ralchev
    Cast: Plamena Getova, Vesela Babinova, Julian Vergov, Dilyana Popova, Rashko Mladenov, Rushi Videnliev, Nâzım Karakurt, Stefan Mavrodiev, Nikolaos Tsitirid