PRODUCTION: Bulgarian Director Ivan Vladimirov Shoots Period Drama Plague

    Director Ivan Vladimirov during the shooting of Plague Director Ivan Vladimirov during the shooting of Plague courtesy of Miramar

    SOFIA: Bulgarian director Ivan Vladimirov has started shooting his third feature film Plague, a period drama about an early 19th century plague epidemic in the Balkans. Inspired by a short story by prominent classic writer Yordan Yovkov (1880-1937) and written long before the COVID-19 pandemic by Boyan Biolchev, the script reveals unexpected coincidences in human reactions.

    The plot follows the dramatic return of wealthy Yordan and his son Yolo to their native village after a pilgrimage. During the long and painful travel, they meet different people and witness various forms of fear of the dangerous contagion known as the Black Death.

    Shooting started on 13 June 2022 and will mostly take place in the Ivailovo and Bailovo villages, not far from Sofia. Original historical environment will be largely used, but houses and village squares will also be rebuilt. The Nu Boyana Film Studios' Roman sets will be used. Scenes with over 70 extras represent nearly 20% of the film, there are two production designers and the number of set constructors is quite high.

    “Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by stories from the past. Besides, I like Akira Kurosawa’s work and Japanese historical films from the 60's and 70's. Although Plague will be in colour, I want to maintain a rather condensed style of filming. The reason for this is that my attention is focused on ‘how people react in extreme situations’. No matter what superstitions are in the air, I think that huge collective misfortunes like plague in the past and COVID-19 nowadays, are real dangers. In this sense, my most important personal lesson from what we've experienced recently was to learn how to protect myself, but most of all my closest beings”, director Ivan Vladimirov told FNE.

    Svejen Mladenov plays the wealthy Yordan. Young Matey Michev, who is still a student, is in the role of Yolo, while even younger Evelina Bibova performs the lead female part, Yolo’s bride. Both were approved after several castings.

    The film is produced by Miramar Film with the support of the Bulgarian National Film Center. The budget is around 640,000 EUR.

    Rumen Vasilev, with whom Ivan Vladimirov is working for the first time as a director, is the DoP. “As the budget for such an expensive historical film is rather small, together with the DoP we are looking for creative solutions that will not harm the scale of the production”, Vladimirov added.

    Shooting will last for five weeks.

    Production Information: 

    Miramar Film (Bulgaria)
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    Director:  Ivan Vladimirov
    Scriptwriter: BoyanBiolchev
    DoP:  Rumen Vasilev
    Production designer: Vladimir Shishkov, Georgi Dimitrov
    Art director: Stilen Totev
    Cast: Svejen Mladenov, Matey Michev, Evelina Bibova, Ludmila Slaneva, Dobrin Dosev, Velislav Pavlov, Lyubomir Bachvarov