Aleksandar, Milen, Emanuil and their sense of the city

Alexandar Chobanov lives and creates in Sofia. He had a few filming projects and tight deadlines to complete them, when his sister, who lives in Varna, phoned him and asked him to add another project to the busy daily life of a videographer.  Reezy Rane 1 MinuteVarna is the video, which ranked Aleksandar in first place by choice of the audience and the jury. He combined cinematography skills, personal story, beautiful places, dynamics and expectation. The creation of music for the video was another special moment.


So, your strong connection with Varna is your sister?

Absolutely. She provoked my desire to be part of the contest.  I love Varna and part of it is due to the meetings with her.  I decided to “enter” in 1MinuteVarna the moment I read the terms and conditions of the contest. On the other hand, I didn’t have a lot of time. The same month, I had already agreed upon the production of other projects in Sofia. Regardless, if we have desire, time will make way. I travelled to Varna on purpose because I wanted to see the idea in the moment, to see my participation as a director, to imagine the script, and to walk through it with my own two feet through the city; then film it.

With friends or alone?

Walking along the beach is better when you’re not alone, right? While I was clarifying the idea for 1MinuteVarna, I spoke with some of my friends about the places, which I was going to include. I gathered a team – I filmed the people, they filmed me. Two days planning, two days filming, and three days editing. We fit one week in one minute. I followed the lead emotion of a person, which leads the audience into his own story.


Is love the emotion in your minute for Varna?

It is love. And a lot of adrenaline. I wanted this to be a video for youth, the freedom to be yourself; to film it the way you like it, while you’re in Varna.


You won the big prize. Are you going to invest it in equipment?

No, I will not buy new equipment. This has no end. Whatever it is I buy today, there will always be something new which I don’t have tomorrow…  I will sign up for a skydiving course and I will use part of the prize to develop a private project related to fashion. This is what I want.

In Milen Vichev’s video, “In Motion”, Varna is in constant motion from dawn till dusk. On a bicycle, skateboard, wakeboard, or surfboard, Varna is curious, wild and playful –a representation of what the youth possesses. The video makes top three with the perfect performance and a constant smile.  It is a story, in which two friends (one of them from Haskovo) keep exploring the city and film it together in motion.


How long did it take for you to decide to participate?

One day. Generally we considered the time we had available. In the video, Aleksandar is the boy who doesn’t stop moving. He read on Facebook that there was a contest; the opportunity to create a product following our own concept turned into a desire which lead us the whole time.  The freedom to show the city through our own views was liberating.


Professionals or hobbyists with the video camera?

For us, filming is a hobby; however, we are more dedicated than some professionals. We enjoy telling stories through the lenses of the camera. Apart from that, I am a programmer. Both Aleksandar and I enjoy extreme sports. This is how we came to the idea of presenting Varna in an extreme experience. There are a lot of opportunities here: if you want to go bungee jumping, if you want to ride the waves you can go wakeboarding, if the city is interesting to you, you can skateboard or a ride the bicycle anywhere around. You can see everything your spirit holds within.


In one sentence … What is yours and Aleksandar’s Varna?

It is not just restaurants and bars. Mostly it is the sea.

When he sees #1minutevarna on Instagram, he still doesn't know he will be one of the three finalists of the contest. He doesn't even know yet that he will take part. A month later, his video will create memories in poetry which he writes himself. “It smells like memories”, is a minute which starts its journey from Emanuil Albert to reach anyone who remembers their first step, first friend, first date, first love, in which we live together with the sea.


You are the only contestant who has filmed Varna in all the seasons. 

When I decided to participate, I had two thirds of the footage. The rest was filmed during the month of the contest. I very much liked the idea to show the positive aspects of the city. Other aspects which attracted me were the freedom of style and idea for a story.

You have studied in Tokyo, worked in London, returned to Varna, you travelled, and now you live in Sofia. This movement creates a lot of memories.  Are your memories your leading motive?


Memories are pictures of our emotions in time. We, as people love to come back to the memories we have. In this, we are the perfect “photographers.” I also love photography.


How did you choose the style for this video? Why “It smells like memories?”​

Actually, I could’ve created videos which perfectly show the city like its buildings, design, and architecture. I have done this while serving my marketing internship at the office of airbnb in Tokyo. But this is not my story about Varna. With my first camera I have filmed more than half of the footage in the video. I sat down, reviewed everything I had as a representation of the city and I found memories; my sister's baby, the one year old son of my friend since school; the old man with his poodle who wasn’t alone on the beach on a cold morning because his old friend was there with him. Another cold morning I was rushing to get down to the sea so I could film the sunrise. I was walking down the streets, when on Sevastopol, I met an old man. I wasn’t alone anymore but within him I saw loneliness… I was exploring it, remembering the emotion of every moment.


What about the poetry?​

I wrote “It smells like memories” as moments from different fates and pictures of various emotions felt by all of us.


You could film the summer as a yearlong memory of sun, sand, and sea?​

Feelings do not belong to only one season.

At the end of our meetings with the authors of the three videos, which together with us, you ranked in first, second, and third place, we will add something about the feelings. Feelings do not belong to only one season, but our feeling for the city fits in exactly ONE minute. One minute is enough to start loving a place. And this to be forever. As it is the case for many of us and our connection with Varna.