Radoslav Spasov with the Sofia Award at the 27th Sofia Film Festival

One of the iconic names in Bulgarian cinema - cinematographer, director, and screenwriter Radoslav Spasov will celebrate his 80th anniversary in 2023. This March, at the 27th Sofia Film Festival, he will receive the Sofia Municipality Award for his contribution to the seventh art. The plaque was created by the famous artist Georgi Chapkanov - Chapa, who is also celebrating his 80th anniversary this year!

Radoslav Spasov was born on the 14th of June 1943. After graduating as a cinematographer from VGIK, Moscow (1971), he started working at the Film Centre as an assistant to Dimo Kolarov. In the 1970s and 1980s, he was behind the camera and co-wrote the films of some of our greatest directors, masterpieces in the history of Bulgarian cinema, including "The Patent Shoes of the Unknown Warrior", "Where Are You Going" and "And Now Where" by Rangel Valchanov, Georgi Dyulgerov's "Examination", "Avantage" and "Measure for Measure", Eduard Zahariev's "Men's Times" and "Villa Zone", Lyudmil Staykov's "Time Divided", as well as documentaries about Gena Dimitrova, Neshka Robeva and Hristo Yavashev-Christo.

"Slavcho does not like to discuss the image," Georgi Dyulgerov says about him in his book "Biography of my films". - He is interested in dramaturgy, in the conflict between characters. That is why he is invaluable during shoots. He knows the essence of each scene and penetrates the actors, watches them with the naked eye from behind the viewfinder, and reacts spontaneously as soon as a sincere and unexpected reaction appears. He often turns the camera on an actor who is off the lens and not observing the pre-rehearsal."

In 1993, Radoslav Spasov made his directorial debut with Sirna Sunday. "Among the local people in Kovacevica, there were two brothers, one wrote poems and the other played the harmonica, and sang. Their family history was amazing. At the beginning of the 50s without any explanation they evicted everyone. Many years later they learned that their sister's husband was the reason. The authorities recruited him to infiltrate into a squad of Gorians on the other side of our border with Greece. To create an alibi for him as an enemy element, they surrounded the village but left a corridor for him to escape. The Goryan detachment was defeated. To hide him, the authorities sent him first to prison, then to Dobrudja, and finally to a village in Kazanlak. I became emotionally obsessed with this story of the bullying methods and disregard for the fate of the common man in the building of the totalitarian state, and later, from it, Sirna Sunday was born. It was difficult because its filming coincided with the Lukanov winter. Total deficit. I remember that we had to provide with great effort heating oil for the hotel in Gotse Delchev to accommodate the team. It was a long odyssey, it coincided with the big reform of the Film Centre," Radoslav Spasov told the newspaper "Kultura".

Recognition did not come late. The film was awarded the second most important prize at the Cottbus Film Festival in Germany, and for the 100th anniversary of cinema it was selected by the European Film Academy for the Local Hero program at the Gothenburg Forum, where works from all European countries are shown.

For his most successful film as a director, "Stolen Eyes", Radoslav Spasov was awarded the Audience Award in Palic, Serbia, and Montenegro (2005), and at the world premiere of the film in competition in Moscow, Vesela Kazakova received the Silver St. Nicholas Award. She won the Best Actress award at the St. George Awards.

"The idea for the film was born when, in the spring of 1989, during the so-called Great Excursion to Turkey, I saw two girls heartbreakingly split up with their girlfriend in the square in Kavarna... This picture cannot be forgotten," says Radoslav Spasov. "Then I heard the story of a schoolgirl who spoke about human rights at one of the first protests... I was already developing the idea when I learned the tragic story of a Turkish woman and a soldier. Committed to a psychiatric hospital, they fell in love but discovered that her child had been crushed by the heavy machine the same soldier had been driving during a village revolt against renaming. I realized that the story was Neri Terzieva's, and I thought it was a good one to tell, so I suggested we work together," the director adds.

The films that followed were The Singing Shoes (Special Jury Award Silver St. George Award at the Moscow Film Festival, 2016) and Living Chimneys (three Golden Rose Awards at the 2018 Moscow Film Festival).

"I am looking for answers to various questions, or rather asking them - what is happening to us now that we are de jure Europeans? Are we trying to reconcile ourselves with a different value system, or are we losing something of our own in this process of incorporation into the previously forbidden or foreign? By the way, all the films I have directed explore the impact of political, ethnic, and social upheavals on our spirituality and morality," Radoslav Spasov summarises to ARTizanin. 

We look forward to seeing you at #CINEMA!