– With a screenplay written before the COVID-19 pandemic, the film centers on a scourge of the 19th century
A moment during the filming of Plague
After co-directing Sneakerswhich won a special mention at the Moscow International Film Festival in 2011, as well as the release Scenes from the life of an actress in 2020, Bulgarian director Ivan Vladimirov recently completed production on Plaguea period drama produced by Movie Miramar and represented by Ilian Djevelekov, Matey Konstantinov and Georgi Dimitrov (the latter also being the production designer of the film alongside Vladimir Shishkov).
Based on the short story “Through the Plague” written by the classic Bulgarian writer Yordan Iovkov, Boyan BiolchevThe screenplay of , which was written long before the COVID-19 pandemic, follows various events that occurred in the early 19e century, when a mysterious plague brings out good and evil in various characters who find themselves in extreme situations. The main characters are a father and son from a wealthy family who return from a pilgrimage abroad, to find their country and village ravaged by the titular plague. The two protagonists react to the situation in their own way, while trying to defend their fundamental human values.
The film’s budget is around €640,000, of which around €480,000 comes from the Bulgarian National Cinema Center. Filming took place over 25 days in June and July, in two villages near Sofia. Part of the filming took place in Bulgaria’s largest film studio, Nu Boyana, in which a caravanserai from the Ottoman Empire was recreated. The DoP of the film is Rumen Vasilev (Dany. Legend. God. [+see also:
interview: Yavor Petkov
film profile]), while its actors include Svejen Mladenov, Matey Mitchev, Evelina Bibova, Ludmila Slaneva, Dobrin Dosev, Velislav Pavlov and Lyubomir Bachvarov.
We asked Ilian Djevelekov how it was possible to shoot a period drama on such a low budget, when an average European film set in the 19e century can cost ten times more. “Even though it’s a period piece, a minimalist approach was already felt in the script. The film is more about the personal stories of the characters and the psychological dimensions of the plague. (…) However, we believe our viewers will see great on-screen production value, as we worked with experienced crew members for set construction, costumes, horse stunts, and more. “, explained the producer.
The director pointed out that the screenplay was indeed written before the pandemic: “None of the people involved in the project imagined that the events and fictional relationships of our story would materialize in the real world. The superstitions, fears and aspirations of characters from a bygone era have been confirmed by the actions of modern people. The lack of knowledge about the disease and the unreasonable attitude towards it already existed in the script. During these difficult months, the most important thing for me was to protect my family. I believe that for the majority of people in the Balkans, the survival and continuation of the family remains the most important goals to this day. For us, not achieving these goals is a real tragedy. It is also the main theme of Plagueand the pandemic has made it even more visible and easier to articulate,” the director explained.
The film’s team expects post-production to wrap in the first half of 2023. Domestic release plans are in the works for fall 2023 through Miramaralthough the team is already confident that the film will enjoy as wide a theatrical release as its previous success, Omnipresent [+see also:
film profile] by Ilian Djevelekov.