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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Bulgaria

Valery Iordanov in post-production with Shakespeare Like a Street Dog

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- The director’s second feature follows three teenagers facing harsh reality in a Roma ghetto

Valery Iordanov in post-production with Shakespeare Like a Street Dog
Shakespeare Like a Street Dog by Valery Iordanov

After his feature debut, 2011’s Sneakers, Bulgarian actor-director Valery Iordanov is currently in post-production with his second feature, Shakespeare Like a Street Dog. The story of three teenagers living in a brutal ghetto in Sofia, the film is being staged by Chouchkov Brothers, with Viktor and Borislav Chouchkov sharing producing duties.

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The screenplay, written by Iordanov, follows three teenagers, Danko, Eli and Itso, who live in a Roma ghetto in Sofia. Danko, who has been adopted by Eli and Itso’s father, Chavo, is in love with literature, but he is also very good at boxing, a talent he will have to cultivate in order to make ends meet. The boys’ harsh life becomes even harsher when Chavo suffers an aneurysm, and his three sons are willing to do anything in order to get the money for the expensive surgery that may save his life.

Shakespeare Like a Street Dog was shot over six weeks in the autumn of 2019, in Sofia. The film’s budget amounts to approximately €700,000. The Bulgarian National Film Center supported the project with €480,000. Vladislav Stoimenov, Zahari Baharov, Vasil Iliev and Eleonora Ivanova play the main characters.

We asked Iordanov why he chose to make a new film with teenage protagonists, as he did in Sneakers. He answered: “I am interested in this age because it is the most sincere and important part of life. At that age, I was taking risks that today either I miss or I would think twice about. With my films, I am trying to talk with my kids, who will face essential decisions very soon. I am happy when I see talented young people, and it makes me sick when I see wasted talent.”

He went back to the idea of “wasted talent” from the perspective of racism, which is another important topic of his film: “I grew up in a poor neighbourhood, and my best friends were of various ethnicities and nationalities. We talked different languages, but we got along well. Racism is ‘the eighth sin’ and one step towards this ‘wasted talent’,” he explained.

Shakespeare Like a Street Dog will be released domestically at the end of 2020.

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