The monograph Short-form Films: Advantages and Challenges. Models and Practices of Bulgarian Short Films faces the challenge to collect, arrange, systematise and analyse Bulgarian short fiction film, which is in want of a comprehensive study. The book offered by Petya Alexandrova shows thorough knowledge of the processes and contains complete information, film analyses of certain works, information about significant directors and important conclusions drawn on the basis of years of observations. The empiric material in the book on the subject is exceptionally extensive and valuable.
The book has four chapters, a concluding section and a list of references, bibliography, filmography, an abstract and an index of names.
The goals set by the author are specified in the opening, clarifying the underlying principle of the book: clarity both of the motives and argumentation, and of expression and conclusions, making easier its reading and understanding. In other words, Petya Alexandrova’s academic monograph is intended for wider readerships, which is an undoubted merit.
The subject of short film is interpreted from as many viewpoints as possible, from the total number of the shorts made to the evaluation of their aesthetic qualities to a synthesised presentation of the culturological context, drawing the respective art historical conclusions. Short films are analysed chronologically, aesthetically and definitionally.
The introduction to the history of film is short, but informative and gripping. Then the term ‘short film’ is clarified: such online sources as Wikipedia are examined in their national versions as well as big encyclopaedias and the significant definitions are given along with the parameters within which short films are defined in their various variants. Special attention is devoted to the running time of a short film according to such institutions as the Academy Awards and other festivals. Significant part of the literature on short film is dealt with and conclusions are made. Different viewpoints of renowned film historians are also offered.
The author provides her own categorisation of short films according to their running tine, seeking to subject and arrange the vast number of various types of shorts. The book makes an effort to defend the independent realm, which short film, though often neglected, attempts to conquer and champion.
The theoretical part is strong and well grounded. The definitions of the used terms are clarified and discussed from various viewpoints, in a broad cultural context and compared to the same terms used in some other arts.
The problems of Bulgarian short film, both productional and distributional, are delicately, but at the same time categorically highlighted.
The opportunities for screening and showing short films, from festivals to platforms, are also discussed and classified. This section is also extraordinarily comprehensive in its scope.
Special attention is devoted to the best choices for short-stories/novels-to-film adaptations, with all their strengths and weaknesses.
In conclusion, I can safely say that the task of the book has been accomplished, fully exhausting the subject in an impressive way. Short film is explored in a generalising and systematising study. This is the author’s undisputed and outstanding contribution for until now Bulgarian film studies and history and theory of arts were in need of a comprehensive study on Bulgarian short film, but also because the style of the book Short-form Films: Advantages and Challenges. Models and Practices of Bulgarian Short Films is high and page-turning.
I believe that the book will be both interesting and helpful not only to students and film researchers, but also to all cinephiles and filmgoers.