Alberto IORDANOV: ‘Bandit and the Ram’ shows us what we are missing in our lives

Bulgarian documentary film director Alberto Iordanov. Photo: © Personal archiveThis film is about our constant search for something else and dissatisfaction with what we already have, says the young Bulgarian documentary film director.

EDINBURGH. Emily Cullen*, animator and illustrator, meets Alberto Iordanov to talk about his latest film ‘Bandit and the Ram’ (2014) in a sunny Edinburgh café. As a fellow storyteller and collaborator she has a strong interest in the upcoming project and has come to hear more about what Alberto has been up to during the making of the film.

Director, producer, editor Alberto Iordanov (‘Central Station Sofia’, 2013; ‘Into The Space’, 2012, with Anne Milne) is a young Bulgarian nonfiction film director with a MA in Film Directing from the Edinburgh College of Art. His short films have travelled to major international festivals.

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What made you want to start doing this film?

- I was curious about what was happening in the far corners of my country, I wanted to see these forgotten places. The statistics are striking; they show that most of the villages are disappearing. There are forty others like this one in the film, with only one person left. I didn’t want it to be a sad and nostalgic film for a lost way of life. Because this topic could easily be taken in that direction. I wanted to make something that I would like to see myself.

Bandit, aka Doycho is seventy-one years old. Photo: © Screenshot of ‘Bandit and the Ram’I know that you were initially filming someone else…

- We met a lot of different people during the research trip. Originally we stayed with another person and the film was going to be completely different. I wasn’t very convinced or excited about how it was going, so we decided to carry on looking for another character and that’s how we met Doycho.

And how did you find him?

- The locals told us about him and they said that we should follow the footsteps that go up in the mountain. This was in the winter. And so we followed his footsteps in the snow for two hours. When we first saw each other, he thought that I am his son, because he has quite a few children.

He thought you were his son?!

- Yes. Initially he thought I am one of his sons and so he gave us a big hug and we became very close immediately.

‘Bandit and the Ram’ - the poster. Artist: © Emily Cullen* * *

‘Bandit and the Ram’ (25 min, HD Documentary, 2014)

Doycho is the last person inhabiting a remote village in the heart of the Balkan mountains, where his neighbours are animals and best friend is a Ram.

He is a Bandit obsessively searching for Gold and Love, both of which are proving to be extremely difficult. This film transcends the idyllic vision of rural life and challenges the meaning of isolation.

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So then you kind of knew it was the right story for you?

- Yes I knew. But it was very rough there so we only stayed for a day!

Tell me more about the conditions…

- It was pretty tough in the winter as he lives without electricity, running water or even a toilet! The second time we went to film we stayed with him for an entire month, we were more prepared and because it was spring it was a bit easier.

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