A few days ago, Adela Peeva celebrated her 70th anniversary. Forty-five years of her lifetime are dedicated to cinema. To this very day, her documentary works "Whose is this song?" (2003) and "Divorce Albanian Style" (2007) are the only Bulgarian films nominated for best documentaries by the European Film Academy (EFA).
Adela Peeva is one of those brave artists who manages to recreate human history in cinematic documents of the time, to discover unique destinies and to turn them into fascinating stories that touch the audience... Among her many documentaries Adela has a feature film as well - "The Neighbor" (1988). It was elected twice as one of the 50 favorite Bulgarian movies by the viewers of the Bulgarian National Television in the "50 years BNT" ranking, and was also elected as one of the hundred favorite Bulgarian films in the "100th anniversary of Bulgarian cinema" ranking.
Adela Peeva was born in Razgrad. She graduated film and TV directing at the Academy of Theatre, Film, Radio and Television in Belgrade in 1970. She worked as a director for television programs in the former Yugoslavia. After returning to Bulgaria, she was engaged with projects at Documentary Film Studio "Vreme" as a director and made over 50 films. "Mothers" (1981) was awarded with the “Silver Rhyton” prize. "In the name of sport" (1983) received the Film Critic award at the National Non-fiction Film Festival “Golden Rython”, Plovdiv. Both films were banned by the authorities and became available publicly only after the political changes in 1989, and have since been shown many times locally and abroad.
"Making the film itself and the fact that you give people a chance to speak out, which nobody had previously given them, acts as a catharsis. Both for them and me. So after that I feel good. I have fulfilled something that I was supposed to do. "
After 1991, the director established "Adela Media” production house, which produced over 30 documentaries in collaboration with partners from Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden and Turkey; and television channels ZDF / ARTE, RBB / ARTE, RTBF, WDR, YLE / TV1, TV-Facta, Synevizion Film. Adela Peeva continues to work actively on different film ideas that receive support from programs such as Eurimages, Media Plus Programme, MEDIA Foundation KulturKontakt Austria, the Jan Vrijman fund and the SOROS documentary fund.
Among the documentary projects by "Adela Media" are "House on stone house on sand" (1998), "Unwanted" (1999), made with the support of National Film Center and in partnership with foreign companies.
Surely, one of the most iconic titles with Adela’s signature is "Whose is this song?" (2003) - co-production of Bulgaria, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands, received the nomination of the European Film Academy for best documentary in 2003. "Whose is this song?" was presented in the programs of 50 international film festivals, including "Tribeca" in the USA and IDFA in Holland, honored with 17 national and international awards. Her next film "Divorce Albanian Style" (2007) was also a great success, with over 30 festival screenings at home and abroad and honored with 12 awards.
"Every film, every project is destiny for itself. When I start to make a documentary, I am always guided by the maxim I learned at the Academy in Belgrade - "if you make a bad movie, there will not be another one after that!" The principle was such - every movie has to be good, because it costs money, if it is not - your chance to get another project is small! With this philosophy, I returned back to Bulgaria. And for real, every film that I start proves to be a challenge that leads me along the way ..."
("The day starts with culture," BNT)
In 2010, Adela Peeva finished the movie "The Mayor", which was shown and received great success at the Sofia Film Festival (winner of the Sofia prize for outstanding achievement in filmmaking, Best director award at the "Golden Rhyton" festival, Best Documentary film award of the Bulgarian film Academy, and "In search of Spisarevski" was made in 2013.
In 2011, Adela Peeva was a special guest at the Cannes Film Festival as one of the twenty prominent European filmmakers invited to celebrate "20 years MEDIA program." Adela is a member of the European Film Academy (EFA) and the Executive Committee of the Federation of European Directors (FERA). She was a jury member at festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Locarno, Sarajevo, Mumbai and European Film Academy for documentary cinema. In 2009 she headed the jury for documentary films at SIFF. She had participated in many meetings, conferences and seminars in Finland, USA, Ireland and Italy and has been a guest lecturer at the universities of Oklahoma and Loyola, New Orleans, USA in 2009.
In 2012, Adela Peeva was honored with the "Golden Age" lifetime achievement award for outstanding contribution to Bulgarian cinema and culture.
In 2015, Adela Peeva created a website dedicated to female directors in Bulgarian feature films (http://jeni-bg-kino.com).
"For me, in documentary filmmaking the human being is the basis of everything - his fate, his history and his story. There are so many people, who seem to have been waiting for me, or waited for someone else but I came to them instead. I have no negative characters. If I do not like someone, even if they are a very positive person, I cannot make them a hero in my film. But even if they are a negative person, if they have Character with capital C, image, this is how their life has been, this is how God has created them - then yes. And if they feel that although they are the "bad"one, I respect them, I put them on the same level as the others and me. "(" 24 hours" newspaper)