The Donbass children won Best Feature Film - Jury Award & Best Cinematographer Award in the 8th Season of MP Film Award Lubomir Dankov Director & Cinematographer of the Film The Donbass children agree to interview with us.
Lubomir Dankov is a Bulgarian amateur photographer. He has been developing an information project on the Donbass war since 2016. The Donbass children is his first film.
About the Film: Synopsis: The Donbass children Film Synopsis:
The Donbass Children is a movie about the Donbas war, first-person stories. You will hear the stories of so-called "ordinary people". These people suffered from irrational from a military point of view strikes on civilian targets. They are victims of someone's desire to wage war on their territory at all costs.
There are no author's comments in this movie and no censoring of the thoughts of the local people. This film was made especially for spectators in Europe, who do not know what is happening in Eastern Ukraine.
The purpose of the film is to arouse interest in the ongoing seven-year armed conflict and to make people to start to think about the responsibility of each of us for peace in Europe.
Trailer of "The Donbass children"
What was your drive behind making this film?
Lubomir Dankov: I went to Ukraine for the first time in 2015, then I realized that extremely serious things were happening there, which were hidden from the people in Europe. I decided to visit the war zone in Eastern Ukraine and find out what was going on there. It was very shocking to me to to find out that the government and the army of the country were committing terrorist acts against their citizens and justifying this with some external aggression, and the whole "democratic world" was silent about it. And all this happening in the geographical center of Europe. I started an information project about the war, which was not very successful, then I decided to make a documentary. The aim was to show the most important thing in this conflict - namely the terror against the civilian population, for which there can be no justification. It could say I am trying to do what the journalists of the big media in Europe, for one reason or another, do not want to do - to show the truth about this civil conflict. I was ashamed that in my country and in the whole EU a parallel reality was being built in the public space, very far from the real one, I felt obliged to try to do something.
How you feel when you are awarded with the MP FILM AWARD Award?
Lubomir Dankov: So far, the film has won 70 awards and honorable mentions from international film festivals. The MP Film Award was the 48th festival where the film received awards - Best Feature Film - Jury Award and Best Cinematographer.
Each award is extremely valuable for our film, especially in a situation where it is totally ignored by the mainstream media and the only platform it receives are film festivals. We are grateful for the MP Film Award and all other festivals that have awarded or selected the film.
Can you tell us about the greatest moment during shooting this film?
Lubomir Dankov: Shooting such scenes is difficult, you meet people who have lost loved ones or children and whose lives have been turned upside down. There were no extreme moments during the filming of the interviews for the film, there were some during my previous visits to Donbass. The most memorable was the half-hour sniper and grenade launcher shelling while I was in the dugout on the front line and then retreating in a bulletproof vest and helmet. The worst thing is the feeling of helplessness that the whole "democratic world" is turning a blind eye to the terrorism that is taking place there, conducted by the Ukrainian authorities, and it is so difficult to do anything against this, because there is some "omerta" truth not to be shown.
How rigorously did you stick to the script while shooting?
Lubomir Dankov: This is a documentary, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do, but there was no script. It wasn't until all the interviews were ready that we started thinking about the arrangement of the film.
Where there any onset problems During the filming of the film & how did you deal with it?
Lubomir Dankov: I managed to capture what I had planned only on my fifth and sixth visit to Donbass. It took me a while to make the necessary contacts and get help filming. On my second visit, I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do, but it was difficult to find the right people. In particular, I needed contacts with people who had suffered much from the war and who were still willing to talk about it. It is difficult to count on any enthusiasm there, many journalists have come to Donbass, watched, asked, and on their return to their countries they have presented some parallel reality that has nothing to do with the truth. You must first prove that you are not doing so, and then you can count on cooperation.
Do you have any advice for young filmmaker out there? Or like yourself?
Lubomir Dankov: This is my first film, it was the first for the cinematographer too. I was very lucky that at the end of the shooting I already knew Zina Nacheva - a lecturer at our Film Academy, who took care of editing the film. It wouldn't be a movie without her. It is very important to have people with experience and knowledge in the team.
Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?
Lubomir Dankov: I guess you can do without it, especially if you work with people with extensive experience and knowledge in the field of cinema, but in any case it is good for a filmmaker to have the necessary knowledge himself.
Which film has inspired you the most?
Lubomir Dankov: Come to think of it, the films that first come to mind are "Flight over the Cuckoo's Nest," which you know very well, "Knife in the Head," by the German director Reinhard Hauff, a documentary I watched many years ago, made in the USSR from 1987 - "The Supreme Court" and "The Cold Summer of the 53-rd" also a film from the USSR and again from 1987.
Which particular film maker has influenced you the most?
Lubomir Dankov: /no answer/
Which book would you love to make a film out of one day?
Lubomir Dankov: If it's a feature film… I have ideas for such, I don't know if they will come true, but I would prefer to work on my own script, not with a book.
If you got the opportunity to go back in time & change something in any particular movie of yours, then which movie & what changes will you opt for? If you were to shoot the film again, what would you do differently?
Lubomir Dankov: “The Donbass Children” is my only film so far. I had ideas to include other things in it, but I'd better leave them for future movies. As I said, it was not very easy for a foreigner who is not a name in journalism to get the necessary contacts, I am happy with what happened. Maybe I would like to make the film with better technique, but this is associated with a lot of costs…
What is your greatest achievement till date?
Lubomir Dankov: You know, I don't think I have any achievements. I have a film with 70 awards, but that in itself means nothing. Too few people have seen this film. I would say that I have achieved something if this or one of my next films on the subject reaches the audience. So far this has not happened, but I do not give up. I will finish my second film about the war in Donbass soon, we will see how things go with it.
How do you pick yourself up after a failed film?
Lubomir Dankov: I don't know if I should consider this one unsuccessful… there is still time, it may turn out to be successful…;)
Where our viewers can catch you (share your social media)?
Lubomir Dankov: I have a Facebook account - https://www.facebook.com/ksietta
I upload materials to YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/user/ksietta.
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