- Scriptwriter: Yuriy Arabov, Petar Oda
- Director: Petar Oda (Bulgaria)
- Director Of Photography: Stefan Ciupek
- Starring: Irmena Chichikova, Stoyan Radeev, Kristin Zukkov, Orlin Pavlov, Hans-Uve Bauer, Yana Titova
- Leevandia Entertainment (Russia), Odavision (Bulgaria), High5Films (Germany), Cineplus (Germany), Quasar Film (Macedonia)
- Producers: Ivan Lopatin, Mila Zhilardi, Mike Dehghan, Blazhe Dulev
Russian distribution: “Kino Bez Granitz/”No Boundaries Cinema”.
Bulgary, 1968. Senior national security lieutenant Naiden Naidenov falls in love with a singer Pavlina Marin, whom he must take care of. Naidenov supervises musical bands – students of Conservatory. Most of them are going to perform on the 9th International youth festival in Sophia. During his passionate romance with Pavlina, an opera singer who loves jazz and rock-n-roll, Naidenov opens up his accessory to a security service and even helps his beloved woman to run to the West. But then it turns out to be that Pavlina is an agent of national security herself and she was ordered to take care of Naidenov. For the whole time the national security has been spying on its own agents. Pavlina’s task was to find potential traitors within their agency. After all, Pavlina dies, shot on the border, and Naidenov gets a promotion for his invest in the success of the mission, which he had no clue about.
The film is based on a real story.
Cold war era, Eastern Europe, Sophia, 1968. Senior national security lieutenant Naiden Naidenov falls in love with a singer Pavlina Marin, whom he must take care of. Naidenov supervises musical bands – students of Conservatory. During his passionate romance with Pavlina, an opera singer who loves jazz and rock-n-roll, Naidenov opens up his accessory to a security service and even helps his beloved woman to run to the West. But then it turns out to be that Pavlina is an agent of national security herself and she was ordered to take care of Naidenov. For the whole time the national security has been spying on its own agents. The conclusion is unpredictable.
- Photo shoots
With support from
- MEDIA European Film Fund
- National Cinema Centre in Bulgaria
- The First channel of national Bulgarian television
- Film Studio NuBoyana
- Distribution company HemusFilm in Bulgaria
- Cinema Inc
- Odavision LLC, sub-company of Odavision Studio
- Film company CinePlus in Germany
- Macedonian Cinemafund
- Distribution company «No Boundaries Cinema»
- Film company Doca Film in Russia
- Distribution company Latido Films
The director's notes
Nowadays, when the audience is sick and tired of films about secret service of formal communist governments and this topic has been shown so many times in different shapes from horror movies to romantic moralite, it was extremely hard to find an original way of presenting it.
The film “Sound Hunters” is a trying to find such originality and to suggest a plot where pathos, romantic and morality are replaced by paradox, sarcasm and absurd. There will be a fragment of the society’s history in the film. It is based on all-pervading ideology, conformism and intrigue; the society that puts every smart person in the choice between the lie and the life in the lie; the society in which those who reject both these variants risk their freedom and lives.
Sound Hunters is a film combining elements of grotesque, melodrama, social irony and black humour. The chosen concept is a satiric mix of different genres with a goal to make a cocktail where serious topics go alongside with comic ones. The goal of mixing genres: to show the special aspects of a historian era that is associated both with some romantic idea of freedom and independence and cruel demagogy of totalitarian state. Such a combine strengthened a terrifying duality to the image of “successful society”: it seemed perfect from the outside, with its jazz, pop-music, opera. But from the inside it was the world of betrayals, lie within human relationships. Each character in the film is fighting for saving his personal freedom, but all of them are anyway trapped within the webs of culture and international politics.
The director’s goal was to make a piece with a good style and with a provocative impact; a piece where a political message about the nature of the post-communist period would combine with a twisted plot. And the plot should be fulfilled with a sarcastic discord. The director’s philosophy of making the film seems as a process that should be called “deconstruction”: the director must create a serious narrative with a touch of romantic and political actions and at the same time “to break” the narrative with a black comedy elements. Only with such a way the director will be able to build an interesting polyphonic structure of the mixed-genre film. And here comes a frantic genre allegation.
The genres are combined as it is in the real life. The ending is always unpredictable. The mysteries revealing from the characters’ past shows us that the truth always has two sides. Projecting the events in the film onto our reality we can’t help asking ourselves whether an ideology is worth serving and what it can do to us. We can’t help asking whether the truth is always as it seems and if it is the whole truth we know.
Actors should be on the edge of freedom and the risk of improvisation, sincerely playing in the suggested circumstances and showing a harmony of behavior, immediacy of reactions and a high emotionality due to the situations and dialogues. The goal is in making the intense atmosphere, the anxiety feeling, and bleakness with the rays of hope. In a way it is an absurd life living with a twinkle in the eyes.
The shootings take place in the atmosphere with a specific style, without giving any specific details of the chosen historian era. Mostly it is a handy job of a cameramen: interesting angles, very mobile, with a constant proximity with the actors as if someone is always watching. 35 mm, a wide-format 2.39:1. A measured colour-grade, more soft and intensive at the beginning, with a transition to black and white at the end. Impressive editing, jump cuts allow to show time and space changings during the dialogues.
On the whole the music shows the actions: Coltrane, Miles Davis, Catalani, Mozart. Of course the soundtrack was chosen on purpose: it is predicted by the plot and the characters. The chosen composer is also not a coincidence. It is Eduard Artemiev. Our goal is music to mark the video through the stylistic interpretations of the pieces combining classic and modern musical forms.
The film “Sound Hunters” is a trying to find such originality and to suggest a plot where pathos, romantic and morality are replaced by paradox, sarcasm and absurd. It is a frontier genre, a genre juggling as it is in the real life. The film will combine the elements of political drama, grotesque, romantic narrative, black comedy and musical. On the whole I can consider “The Lives Of Others” by Henckel as a guide of the topic; and Torontino’s “Inglorious bastards” as a guide of chosen narrative. Sound Hunters is an allegation of both. Due to the film’s style we can call it “noir” as it has an interrelation of difficult love subjects, spying and betrayal. That’s why we want to mark it and use the lighting of noir films of forties, but at the same time we are making our own noir film with a gloom light, intensive colour-grade at the beginning of the film (it is a reference to Bertolucci’s “The Dreamers”) smoothly loosening its colours by the end when it becomes black and white (“The Pianist” of Roman Polanski). The lightning will be more ruled and it actually suits the plot where the main characters are musicians. So, we will make it in a theatrical way, paying our attention to soft lightning but making it more clear, saving its shadows and using mirrors. That’s how we will destroy a noir effect. Each character will have his own colour due to his emotions. It also becomes a part of lightning conception. In that case I can mention “Lust, Caution” by Ang Lee. We will also play with vehemence, dividing the foremost from the background using the contrast colours that will collide from time to time. So, instead of “light-dark” we will use cold and warm colour mix. It is our version of “noir”. Speaking of editing, we will use jump cuts, allowing us to feel transitions of time and space during the dialogues (“Breathless” by Jean-Luc Godard; “Breaking The Waves” by Lars Von Trier).