Chameleon to Screen

The director, Georgi Martev, is president of the ACS short movies club SMACS. The writer, Teodora Vassileva, has talents that range from painting to creative writing. Together, the two ACS seniors have a 12-minute film starring Bashar Rahal, Kitodar Todorov, and Raina Karayaneva.

The flick tells the story of a beggar who is a manifestation of pure evil and has the ability to change his appearance. Using this power he picks a victim whose identity to steal: an ungrateful businessman who has everything but values nothing.

Star and co-producer Bashar Rahal's first note to the young authors of the movie: "You can't have all-evil characters looking to accomplish all-evil objectives. It won't play with audiences." So they changed slightly the concept of the story. They also ended up with completely different dialogue. More on this, below.

The upcoming screenings of Chameleon mark the successful ending a year-long process for Teodora and Georgi. At the end of 2017, they developed the idea and wrote the first draft of the script. Georgi received a gift from his parents: for his eighteenth birthday, they would help him make a film of his own.

But they didn't know any filmmakers. So Georgi browsed the National Film Centre's database for producers. He was surprised when his mass pitch received numerous replies. Bashar Rahal called and said, "I want to do this. Let's meet tomorrow."

After reworking the half-hour script down to 12 minutes – for budgetary reasons, what else? – Georgi and Teodora found an executive producer in Semperia Films. Director of Photography Hristo Lazarov was another invaluable collaborator. Then things died out for the summer.

When August was over – and school about to start – Rahal was in Bulgaria for three days. And the shoot took two of them.

On the set, Georgi says he felt like an apprentice on the first day, and like a director on the second. The first day of directing a film shoot, for a student no less, can be daunting. Especially when one is surrounded by 30 professionals who have more experience, and – as in any artistic endeavor – are not shy to give it to you. A couple of rehearsals with the actors helped a lot. However, Teodora the writer was dumbfounded by the way Bashar the star totally improvised his dialogue. "I imagined the character as more refined," she admits.

The eventful post-production included several nights of editing, shooting additional footage, and a composer calling the filmmakers from Los Angeles and offering to score their film because he liked its IMDB page.

We can't wait to see the result. And we don't have to: the first screening is in Odeon theater on December 5. That one is sold out. The second one, with English subtitles, follows right after that (7 pm on December 5 in Odeon). In case it sells out too by the time you see this publication, there will be screenings in G8 theater on December 7, 15, and 16, so rush that box office right away!