I arrived in college thinking I knew it all. I felt like I had arrived; I knew who I was, who I wanted to be and who I didn't want to be. Then I had four fantastic years of extreme joy and discomfort greater than any I had known. I felt challenged, pushed, hit, rewarded, cared, safe, insecure, belonging, alone, determined, lost, successful, exhausted, strong, weak and fascinated. By graduation I didn't know who I was and I only had some clue who I didn't want to be.

High school

Earth Hour

I was saddened in 2009 that my home town, Burgas, had not participated the year before in Earth Hour, the global climate change awareness movement started by the World Wild Fund, WWF.

Every year, on the last Saturday of March, people across nations turn their lights off for an hour to show support for the need to take action against climate change. I wanted to bring the event to Burgas.

At the time, I was a member (later elected a president) of Interact club Burgas Primorie, a chapter of a Rotary club for youth. I organized ~15 of my fellow members at Interact and we drove the event engaging the municipality, local businesses and non-profits which turned their lights off in a sign of support. We set up an hour-long program of fire performances, step dancing and live music in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Official site

(The original site is in Bulgarian. The translation to English is automatic by Google Translate and accuracy isn’t the best.)

FOLLOW ME (2007)

On a scorching summer night in 2006, Dad took me to his job at the inner secure grounds of Burgas Airport and I was in awe. Imagine a 14-year-old boy hear the roar of airplanes just feet away from the runway. I was fascinated by the symphony of cars, people, buses, trucks, planes and equipment moving in what seemed like a chaos but was a directed masterpiece. I was in love at first with what would later grow into a fascination with the inner workings of complex systems.

FOLLOW ME is a 15-minute film which shows Burgas Airport in the summer of 2006, the busiest in the history of the airport, a decade after the enterprise escaped a near bankruptcy in the 1990-s. Burgas Airport was then Bulgaria’s busiest hub, a gateway for tourists to to the Black Sea and a NATO airbase serving 1.8 million passengers annually.

I shot the film with a hand-held camera and edited it in Adobe Premiere the summer before I started high school, 8th grade. The editing won me a special laudatory mention by the jury at the My Europe Film Contest, an EU-sponsored festival in Germany, which noted remarkable and promising skills for my age. The award motivated me and I went on to do my next film, Clouds Fly West.

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Clouds Fly West (2010)

Clouds Fly West is an award-winning 20-minute documentary. I wrote, produced and directed the movie in my last two years of high-school. The film features 2D and 3D computer graphics, hand-drawn animation and original footage, most of which I shot with a hand-held camera during family trips throughout Europe. Clouds Fly West examines the effects of migration of Eastern Europeans to Western countries like Germany after the fall of the Iron Curtain. I started working on the movie when I was 16 and completed it a few months before turning 18. For a week in the summer of 2011, Clouds Fly West made headlines in Bulgaria’s national newspapers and on the evening news. The film has been shown in the official program of film festivals in the US, Canada, France, UK, Sweden, Poland and Bulgaria, including at Cambridge University and at Newport Beach Film Festival.

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Middle school

The Great Reading of Newspapers

The Great Reading of Newspapers was my first attempt at film when I was 12. The film was technically a PowerPoint presentation with music and carefully timed transitions but, I promise you, no one could tell the difference!

The movie followed my twin sisters and their best male friend, all aged 8, in our neighborhood. One day they found several boxes with old newspapers in the garage. Each newspaper had on its last page an erotic picture of a semi-naked woman. And so, The Great Reading of Newspapers began. You wish you could see the faces of their parents, friends and neighbors when they saw the movie. The first film turned into a sequel. The Great Reading of Newspapers II and 5 Stars at Home followed.

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