Konstantin Bojanov on his 2017 Rotterdam Film Festival selection

Konstantin Bojanov on Light Thereafter, Rotterdam Film Festival 2017 selection and his future project.

Bulgarian director Konstantin Bojanov, who presented his feature film Light Thereafter in Hivos Tiger Competition at Rotterdam Film Festival 2017 is now working on an international film project called Your Eyes. Today he shares with CineSud Magazine his passion for India, cooperation with French, Luxembourg and Dutch production companies, his out-of-ordinary methods to transfer the inner world of the main character and perception of his films.

“I try to tackle to the best of my abilities while making film.”

Rotterdam Film Festival and impressions from it

“I have always had an incredible respect for the Rotterdam Film Festival, and regarded it along with Locarno International Film Festival as one of the most daring and uncompromising festivals from which many visionary films have found their way into contemporary culture. For that reason, I was very pleased when Light Thereafter was selected in the Tiger Competition. The film has been screened at a number of international film festivals, but due to my very busy writing schedule this past year, I did not have the opportunity to attend most of them.”

Unusual structure of Light Thereafter

“Light Thereafter was always meant to be structured mimicking patterns of memory and being non-linear. Over the past year, I have been involved in the writing of three different screenplays, two of them also follow a non-linear, multi-layered narrative structure, often using flashbacks and flash-forwards as well as parallel narration. The story of Your Eyes also employs flashbacks that span from early childhood to the adolescent years of the main character.”

Pre-production of Your Eyes

“Your Eyes is currently in financing and we are aiming to go into production in late 2018 – early 2019. Due to the fact that it’s an entirely Indian story, taking place in the State of Karnataka, with no European elements, it requires a complex financing structure that will most likely involve the participation of several European co-production countries. As it stands at present, these countries are France, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. We are also in negotiations with a Swiss production company. Moreover, we have a great Indian-based partner, Celine Loop from Travellight Films, with a track record of producing some very challenging independent Indian films. However, due to the controversial nature of the project, we only anticipate minor Indian equity investments. The project began as a four-story documentary, which in 2015 we decided to transition for various artistic reasons into a single-story scripted film. I don’t believe that I have ever had such strong conviction to a project due to the social and existential issues it touches upon – namely, personal freedom of choice within a set of oppressive social and religious dogmas.”

Indian life as an idiosyncratic fascination

“I  have been exploring certain aspects of Indian life and culture for the past 15 years. It’s one of my idiosyncratic fascinations. Yet, it would be very presumptuous on my part to even think that I can make a film about India as a whole. I don’t know if anyone ever set such task for themselves, given the vastness of the country and the diversity of its culture. I simply want to make a film about one specific subject that fascinates me and grew out of my documentary research. I strongly believe in importance of this story and the human condition it concerns itself with. My goal to create a narrate that is universal, transcending cultural specificity, and avoid the pitfalls of exoticism, in which many European and American filmmakers have fallen while trying to tell Indian stories. Buku Sarkar and I started collaborating after the second draft of the script, and our collaboration has been complementary and amicable to date.”

“If I believe that I have made a perfect film, I would simply change professions and do something else.”

Each film as a separate set of challenges

“I don’t approach my films by ranking them in terms of success. Each film presents to me a separate set of challenges that I try to tackle to the best of my abilities while making it. The hope always remains that the next film will be better and that hope is what propels me forward. If I believe that I have made a perfect film, I would simply change professions and do something else. I have an almost impossible time watching my films, as I can never go past the feeling that I could have made them better, and the frustration that the film is already out of my hands, and I cannot change it anymore.”

The most important thing during making the film

“Every stage in the making of a film is important. Yet, in my opinion, most films that fail, fail on paper. The mistakes made in the process of writing can very rarely be rectified during production. Of course, the casting, directing and editing are extremely crucial to the success of the film, too.”

Over de auteur

Sofia Piven

Sofia Piven is currently studying Journalistics and International Relations at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Having always been interested in writing articles, she was one of the editors of school newspaper and author for local newspapers and magazines.

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