Stars of Bulgarian Cinema

Stars of Bulgarian Cinema

On 1 March, the Synthesis gallery and the Bulgarian National Film Archive launched an exhibit of photographic portraits of Bulgarian actors, taken during the shootings of films, most of which have now become hits and turned into classical Bulgarian films [[1]]. Shot in the period between 1956 and 1972, the exhibition showcases over 60 portraits, carefully selected and digitalized by Kalin Ruichev, of stars like Apostol Karamitev, Ginka Stancheva, Georgi Kaloyanchev, Stefan Danailov, Nevena Kokanova, Petar Slabakov, Katya Paskaleva, Grigor Vachkov, Georgi Georgiev-Gets, Doroteya Toncheva and many others. The black and white portraits are accompanied by a text and information about the actors, the films and the photos, that were used as a basis for the portraits. They are Zhenny Valova, Irina Peeva, Lote Mihaylova, Ivanka (Zhana) Karayordanova, Milka Russinova, Donka Yotova.

The presence of a photographer on the shooting site is a long going tradition in cinematography. At Boyana film studio for feature films there used to be a photography department with photographers employed on a full-time basis. In the contemporary wide range productions, there is already a whole shooting team, who also catch the process of work and takes care of the future advertising materials. Quite often among the obligations of the photographers of cinema productions are exactly the portraits of the starring actors during the filming from a camera perspective. Another, always present theme, extremely exciting for the spectators, is the opportunity to ‘peek into the kitchen’ of the filming, of course, going hand in hand with the second, equally exciting topic – the gossips. With the years, gossips turned into a constant ingredient of the PR campaigns, released together with the films. It is interesting how the term changes with the time from Making, via Behind the Scenes to EPK (Electronic Press Kit).

The actors’ portraits and the caught emotions from the filming site in this exhibit bring us back to another era, which for our generation describes the time of our childhood. The impression of a specific naturalness could be seen, which we have lost in our contemporary world. The images on the photos seem to lack the pose and pretense, coming from the famous today. The very atmosphere at the shooting site looks different. One of the things that contributed to it is the absolute documental nature of the photographs, which has also been lost. The overwhelming commercial images are greatly manipulated. The faces of the actors are fully authentic. We remember them also from their numerous roles on the TV screen. They were turned into somewhat ‘stars’ at the time due to the frequent exposure of their faces in the popular then media and of course, due to the popularity of cinema then.

Al materials are from the non-film collection of the Bulgarian national film archive, which stores a huge number of additional number of documents – over 10 000 volumes of books and magazines, 27 000 original posters, 118 000 photos. Within the time of the exhibit the Bulgarian national film archive and Odeon cinema show screenings of many of the films, from which the photos in the exhibitions are included. All screenings are with free entry and the exact dates and times will be announced in the cinema programme.

Odeon Cinema Screenings:

10 March 2022

Tobacco, 1968, directed by Nikolay Korabov

17 March 2022

Two under the sky, 1962, directed by Borislav Sharaliev

24 March 2022

There is no death, 1963, directed by Hristo Piskov and Irina Aktasheva

31 March 2022

Monday morning, 1966, 1988, directed by Hristo Piskov and Irina Aktasheva

7 April 2022

Shybil, 1968, directed by Zahari Zhandov

14 April 2022

The Eighth, 1969, directed by Zako Heskia

21 April 2022

The five from Moby Dick, 1970, directed by Grisha Ostrovsky and Todor Stoyanov

The exhibition is realized with the partnership of the 26th edition of the Sofia Film Fest and will be open until 30th April 2022.


[1] https://photosynthesis.bg/statia/Zvezdi-na-balgarskoto-kino-fotografska-izlozhba.html

Iosif Astrukov

Department of Screen Arts
PhD, Asst, Prof.

Video Dance, screen and stage, photography
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