In 2020, the Bulgarian National Film Archive became the newest partner of the European Film Gateway platform on the occasion of World Audiovisual Heritage Day – October 27, when the first 5 films from the national collection were uploaded. The European Film Portal has 38 film archives, but slowly there will be provided free access to over 53,000 film titles and over 600,000 images. The film portal is linked to Europeana, the European Union’s web portal, which provides access to over 58 million digitized works of art, books, artifacts, audio and video from across Europe.
The public already has access to 43 Bulgarian titles – documentaries and feature films, commercials and 33 film reviews covering the period 1913-1943.
Streets, squares and people from large and small Bulgarian cities such as Sofia, Ruse, Plovdiv, Burgas, Tryavna, Kotel, etc. come to life on the screen; footage from beauty contests; demonstrations by the Sofia fire brigade, led by the legendary Yuri Zakharchuk, a favorite of Sofia bohemians; advertising of the then famous Shumen beer (1933), created with artistry and a sense of humor, as well as many other places, events and personalities.
Alexander Zhekov’s remarkable documentary The Balkan War (1912-1913) provides an unprecedented look at military action and life in the rear. Zhekov managed to get permission to approach with his camera extremely close to the front line – something that was forbidden according to the then military regulations.
Among the uploaded online collection is the earliest preserved Bulgarian feature film “Love is Folly” (1917) by the pioneer of Bulgarian cinema Vasil Gendov.
The camera captured the ominous reality after the attack on the church “St. Sunday ”in 1925 and the destruction of the bombing of Sofia during World War II.
In the documentary “Our Sea” (1929) you can see the Bulgarian Black Sea coast in the 20s of last century – Sozopol, Nessebar, Pomorie, Ropotamo River, children’s and youth summer camps on the beaches, social events of the Bulgarian sea collusion.
The film reviews of the Bulgarian Work Foundation from the period 1941-1944 document the militarizing reality of the beginning of the world war, the changing way of life of the people, the efforts to continue life in its usual framework – opening of joint art exhibitions, horse farm near Ruse, cooking courses for country girls, sports competitions, etc. The official chronicles also seal Tsar Boris III, Bogdan Filov and other Bulgarian and foreign politicians.
The documentary “Oh, Dobrudzha Region” (1940) is dedicated to the accession of South Dobrudja to Bulgaria.
All this and other treasures of the Bulgarian film cultural heritage can be found on the website at: https://www.europeanfilmgateway.eu/search-efg/bnfa?page=0%2C0%2C0