The big premiere is tomorrow but today we play. A morning puppet show (same puppeteers have been at it since Kate was a kid!), Bulgaria’s best Mishmash lunch made by Kate’s gorgeous Granny, late afternoon picnic at God’s Bride with Staci, Yavor and Martin, and a delightful dinner in the Rosa and Toni’s garden with the Vratsa Famiglia. Pass the rakia, it’s time to toast two truly beautiful weeks!

Come one, come all to The Sound We See: Vratsa premiere… Sunday, June 25 at the Vratsa Regional Historical Museum… Everyone welcome! БЕЗПЛАТНО (that means FREE)!!!

Evening soundtrack: crowing, chirping, clapping. And I just saw a kid spit over the balcony and onto the geraniums.

Today we met with the musicians. They ran through a few tunes for us but I’m not going to give you even a single note of advance listening pleasure because a surprise is a surprise and you’ve gotta wait until Sunday when all will be revealed. I can tell you that at one point my soul flew out of my body and danced around the gymnasium for a while.

In the meantime, get a load of this. How much pure joy can one heart stand in a single afternoon?

 

Tonight’s soundtrack: fireflies in the deep blue twilight.

The last hour is edited, the titles and credits created and shot, the last roll of Super 8 processed (in caffenol!) and telecined… Time to celebrate the end of the filmmaking process and the arrival of our dear friends Karel and Kate: the wonderful reason we’re here in Vratsa to begin with!

 

Tonight’s soundtrack: classic Bulgarian folk songs drifting through the warm summer night air from one of at least TWO television channels devoted to airing the most awesome Bulgarian folk music performance videos you can possibly imagine.

And in other news…

 

Shooting complete. Processing complete. Telecine complete. Now we edit. Let’s dance!

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Sunday night village soundtrack: soft summer rain.

A momentous day for The Sound We See: Vratsa — the last two hours of the film shot and the only two hours of the entire project where women took ownership. THANK YOU Aleksandra the Archeologist (who, along with Vratsa Historical Museum colleague Milen, zoomed in on the Rogozon treasure – a mind blowing collection of Thracian silver vessels stumbled upon accidentally in 1985 by a guy digging a well in his garden) and Jackie the High School Student (who captured Dance Formation Magnifika in all their folkloric glory) for injecting this project with some much needed Lady Power!

There probably aren’t too many cities in the world where you can catch a 3D screening of The Mummy in 3D with Bulgarian subtitles and an experimental youth theater piece in Hindi on the same day. Way to go, Vratsa!

Hristo Botev: poet, revolutionary, hero, icon. As we drift endlessly through the streets of Vratsa over an intensive two day production period, we see his image and feel his influence everywhere: the giant statue in the square of course, but also his words printed on apartment buildings, his image painted on the walls of underpasses, his deeds and beliefs spoken with reverence by people young and old. Mixing this imposing presence into a fever dream of deserted streets, stray animals, vexing bakers, Little Dubai at dawn, tagged train cars, singing coffee machines, overgrown cemeteries, poppies nodding with a million buzzing bees, rows of Soviet-style apartment blocks, tiny tot-driven monster trucks, an international folk parade led by Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and a giant baby chicken, a prog-rock band that uses traditional instruments and a laser light show to take their endless jams into the stratosphere, fireworks, disaffected skater dudes and those ever-looming mountains feels like living a delerious Bugarian version of Groundhog Day meets 8 1/2.

The best thing about staying at the glamorous Hotel Hemus (where we’re camped out for a couple of days so we don’t disturb our Zgorigrad hosts during our crazy all-night shooting schedule) is the view of the town square where daily life in Vratsa becomes pure poetry.