Binka: To Tell a Story About Silence

Editors' review

December 25, 2016

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Directed by Elka Nikolova
Produced by Vreme Film Studio

Portrait of Bulgarian director Binka Zhelyazkova, one of the first women directors on the Balkans

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Binka: To Tell a Story About Silence opening scene
Genre Portrait, Foreign Worlds, Social Issues, Politics, and Arts Synopsis

Bulgarian film director Binka Zhelyazkova (1923-2011) never shrunk from controversy. A film pioneer, she was at the forefront of political cinema under Bulgaria’s Communist dictatorship. Her allegorical and urban dramas examined human rights, artistic freedom and the legitimacy of the political system itself. While she was well regarded abroad and her work reached such film festivals as the Expo 67, Montreal, Cannes Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Cartagena Film Festival, Moscow Film Festival, Karlovi Vari Film Festival, in Bulgaria she was met with suspicion and distrust. The double standard applied to Binka Zhelyazkova was evident. While openly, the communist government awarded her artistic achievements, behind the scenes she was fired from the film studio, her films were banned and her projects rejected every time she dared to ask questions and not comply with the accepted rules. Four out of her nine films were stopped from distribution and barely seen by audiences after 1989.

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Intercutting riveting scenes from Binka’s films, rare archival footage, and candid interviews with former Bulgarian studio executives and film professionals, this provocative portrait reveals the pressures and complexities that arise when art is made under totalitarianism. Binka's alter ego, a young girl in a white linen dress represents the unrealized dream of the director to make a film about her childhood.

Stage finished Running time 48 minutes
  • Vanyo Georgiev ... Cinematographer
  • Elka Nikolova ... Director
  • Hristo Bakalov ... Cinematographer
  • Ivan Andreev ... Sound Designer
  • Roumen Boiadjiev ... Composer
  • Roumen Boiadjiev Jr. ... Composer
  • Svetoslav Vladimirov ... Editor
  • Vreme Film Studio ... Producer
  • Elka Nikolova ... Writer

Production Details

Prod. Co. Vreme Film Studio Country Bulgaria Years of Production 2005 Locations Sofia Bulgaria, Los Angeles, New York, USA Prod. Partners Bulgarian National Film Center, private funding

Distribution Details

Release year 2007 Festivals April 4, 2007 MoMA, NY US Premiere; South East European Film Festival, LA 2007; Golden Rython Festival for Nonfeature Films, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2007; FIFA International Festival of Films on Art Montrel, 2008, The Brave Film Festival, Poland, 2010 Awards The audience Award SEEFF, LA, 2007; Best debut film, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Golden Rython Festival for Nonfeature Films, 2007; "The bitter Cup"- The award of the department of communications, Sofia University, Bulgaria Broadcast (Acq.) Bulgarian National Television Channel 1 Language Bulgarian, English Subtitles English subtitles

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