UNCLE TONY, THREE FOOLS AND THE SECRET SERVICE
“Uncle Tony, Three Fools and the Secret Service" is a feature documentary debut for Mina Mileva“ and Vesela Kazakova,“ made without state funding for production and which dares to scratch the surface of decades of Bulgarian politics determined by the State Secret Service through the unusual topic of animated films.
The film is dedicated to Mina’s animation teacher and outstanding animator Antony Trayanov / Uncle Tony,
Uncle Tony (Antony Trayanov) created pivotal films in a tandem with the talented caricaturist Donio Donev - one of Bulgaria’s most prominent animation directors – that turned history in 1970’s, but Tony’s name remained unknown to the public. Donev made a spectacular career and travelled worldwide while Tony wasn’t allowed to leave the country.
The industrious and ambitious Tony made all effort to break into directing films, essentially to make his own film. But he was being continuously dismissed as an enemy of the state due to his bourgeois background. Forcefully turned working class, Tony embraced these values, making a fine job of everything his hands touched. He even braved working as a builder in a dangerous building site after being expelled from the State Cinema Studio for refusing to obey orders.
Uncle Tony did not live to enjoy the limelight but his students working all over the world adore him for his help and support and also his bohemian bon vivant nature.
Surprisingly, or not, the film caused a huge controversy. It became a mirror for a post Communist society that hasn’t dealt with the role of the totalitarian Secret Service in recent history - a role that commands daily life till nowadays and creates a complex political problem. Donio Donev, whom Uncle Tony worked alongside with, was an informer for the Secret Service and his dossier was uncovered back in 2003. The film was seen as defaming him and ruining the prestige of several other directors from the past. The two filmmakers were attacked on institutional level, within their own Film Guild, and their contract with copyrights society Film Author illegitimately revoked. EDN - European Documentary Network, EAVE, Dox Magazine and Cineuropa published support articles which the Bulgarian Cinema Council now demands to be removed.
This isn’t just attempt to ban a film but a serious threat for the future of two filmmakers. Share this information if you care about documentary cinema.
Despite attempts to discontinue the filmʼs screenings, it was shown in the cinemas in Sofia for seven months, which marks an unprecedented longevity for a homegrown documentary film!
Its International premiere was at Sarajevo Film Festival, followed by East European premiere at Warsaw Film Festival. The film open the prestigeous Baltic Sea Form under the name of this edition “The Power of silence” and attended at more than 30 festivals around the worlrd.
Special thanks to: Marta Studio, BDC, Martichka Bojilova, Rada Sesic, Kevin Molloy, Daniel Godfrey and all the participants who gave us wonderful interviews.
Many thanks to the film crew:
Photography by: Plamen Gelinov; Vasilena Goranova
Editing: Donka Ivanova
Music by: Emilian Gatsov
Animation and compositing: Mina Mileva
Sound Mix: Alexander Simeonov
Cast: Georg Yordanov
Additional production help: Ana Lulkovska; Boyko Cenev; Veneta Sotirova; Dimitar Uzunov
Directed and produced by; Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova
The film is supported by: Bulgarian National Film Centre for Development;
Co-production with the Bulgarian National Television and NOVAfilm
Pitched at ZagrebDox 2010, and selected for the Rough Cut Boutique in Sarajevo 2012
Uncle Tony, Three Fools and the Secret Servic / 86 min documentary
Awards and nominations: Best Director at Berlin International Film Festival, Royal Reel Award from Canada International Film Festival, Bronze Palm from Mexico International Film Festival, Women D/P Finalist Documentary at Florida Movie Festival, an Award of Merit: Documentary Feature from the Accolade Global Film Competition and first place in "Art" category at the International Heritage Film Festival "Idols"; Honorable Mention at TrindieFest Film Festival, Colorado, United States; Best Feature Documentary at Bushwick Film Festival, Best Documentary at Phoenix Film Festival, Melbourne; Country Best Award from International Open Film Festival, Best Feature Film at Arquivo em Cartaz - Festival Internacional de Cinema de Arquivo; 3 nominations at the Bulgarian Film Academy Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Sound.
Official selections: Sarajevo Film Festival, Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries, Astra Film Festival, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Warsaw Film Festival, Cairo International Film Festival, European Union Film Showcase - American Film Institute, Trieste Film Festival, Berlin Independent Film Festival, ZagrebDox International Documentary Film Festival, Millenium International Documentary Film Festival, Flatpack Film Festival, Vilnius International Film Festival, Canada International Film Festival, Mexico International Film Festival, Florida Movie Festival, Beldocs International Documentary Film Festival, International Heritage Film Festival “Idols”, The Accolade Global Film Competition, Hoosierdance International Film Festival, Madrid International Film Festival, Salt Lake International Film Festival, Cebu International Documentary Film Festival, TrindieFest Film Festival, AegeanDocs International Documentary Film Festival, Bushwick Film Festival, BULDOC 2015 - Days of Bulgarian Documentary Cinema, 3rd Phnom Penh International Film Festival, 29th Leeds International Film Festival, 26th Carthage Film Festival, Cutting Edge Film Festival, Lisbon International Film Festival, SEE Film Festival, 1st Lisbon International Film Festival, 6th SEE Film Festival, 2nd Phoenix Film Festival Melbourne, 1st International Open Film Festival, TrueDoc Documentary Festival, Southway Film Fest, 3rd Toronto World International Film Festival, 2nd Hong Kong World International Film Festival, Singapore World International Film Festival.
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