A Day with Rusalki – Blurry Photos Miss Cryptid 2020 Contest

A Rusalka is a contestant on the Blurry Photos annual Miss Cryptid Contest. We are excited that we were asked to contribute material. You can find this, and more, in our book A Study of Rusalki – Slavic Mermaids of Eastern Europe. Blurry Photos is a great site to check out if you love to “learn something weird.”

You can find the contest and listen to the podcast here: http://www.blurryphotos.org/miss-cryptid-2020-week-3/

The part about Rusalki starts around minute 27.

Here are the other entries in the contest:

Week 1: http://www.blurryphotos.org/miss-cryptid-2020-week-1/

Week 2: http://www.blurryphotos.org/miss-cryptid-2020-week-2/

Roundup (finalists): http://www.blurryphotos.org/miss-cryptid-2020-roundup/

And the winner is… [Winner announced at time – 01:07:19.]

Blurry Photos - Miss Cryptid Contest 2020 - Week 3 - June 6 Nandi Bear, Rusalka, Euroa Beast
Blurry Photos – Miss Cryptid Contest 2020 – Week 3 – June 6
Nandi Bear, Rusalka, Euroa Beast

Mankind’s fascination with the sea has sparked imagination since the first person beheld its mighty waters. Curiosity led people to invent the means to travel across the great oceans and eventually explore beneath them, trying to discover their secrets. Throughout the centuries, millennia in fact, people have created myths and legends about creatures living within the sea’s depths. One of the most alluring and formidable beings to inspire writers, artists, children, and adults is the mermaid, who has been forever immortalized in stories such as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. But there’s more to this sea maiden than that story tells. In Slavic folklore, she’s called a Rusalka and lives mostly in fresh-water bodies or swamps, rather than the sea.

In case you’ve never heard of a Rusalka, she’s a Slavic mermaid. The plural of the word is Rusalki, but if you want to call them “Rusalkas,” go ahead. We’ll cringe, but we’ll know what you mean. She is most popular in eastern and southern Europe: Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, Ukraine, in particular.

She’s not your “Ariel” type of mermaid, because she has no tail. In fact, she was once a living, breathing human girl, but she died before she married—often the cause of her death was drowning. I know this sounds odd in today’s world, but the people who believed in them lived in a rural, farming society. Fertility of both the land and people was critical to them for survival. They believed if girls died before they married and had children, then that fertility was lost, and the girls became part of the “unclean dead,” that is, they were cursed. People did have many rituals, though, to entice the Rusalki to return that fertility to them.

Not everyone can see Rusalki, but those who can will tell you they look like normal girls, except they are extremely pale, and they have long, green hair. They can also shape-shift into geese, swans, snakes, silver fish, or frogs. Or they can appear as birds, like the Sirens, and entice men with their songs.

They don’t really eat anything, because they are … well, dead, or undead, after all. But some stories said they like wheat bread with salt, cheese, butter, and eggs. What they are more interested in is getting clothes. They were buried in wedding garments, even though they never married. That’s all part of the whole fertility mindset. So, eventually, those clothes wear out and the Rusalki are left wearing rags, or nothing at all. They beg girls to leave them even a small rag to cover themselves with. Rather sad to think about, really.

Rusalki weren’t always thought of as dead girls, though. They were once considered goddesses or nature spirits. Talk about your kick-ass heroines; they weren’t wimpy, sidekick-to-men-only goddesses, but powerful ones, who ruled the land. But then, the Orthodox Church intervened. They didn’t totally wipe the Rusalki out, but the Church authority repressed the role of these goddesses as much as it repressed the role women played in society. And Rusalki lost their goddess status. Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

You can understand they probably didn’t care to much about this demotion. From goddesses to dead girls, and unclean, cursed dead girls at that. All because some supposedly holy men thought they weren’t worthy of the goddess status. So, they revolted and started their campaign of torturing men… especially any man who jilted them when they were alive, because it was men who decided Rusalki weren’t worthy of exalted status.

Being dead really wasn’t so bad. If they had lived and married, the girls would have lost what the Russians called their “volia,” their freedom. As Rusalki, they could be wild and FREE of male dominance.

They usually didn’t bother women or girls, unless they were jealous of their happy life. And they left children alone, unless they had an overwhelming desire to nurture a child, since they couldn’t have one of their own… they were DEAD after all, but still retained the feelings of the average rural girl. So men were their main targets.

They would either drown them (typical mermaid fashion) or tickle them to death with their breasts… which, I forgot to mention earlier, were huge, even if they had been small during their lifetime. This was just another sign of their unused fertility.

All right, stop laughing. Have you ever been tickled? If so, you know it can be quite painful, especially if prolonged. And a Rusalka most often was accompanied by other Rusalki, so you’re talking about several of these mermaids tickling you…

When you consider that some stories say the Rusalki had iron-tipped breasts, well, just ouch. You wouldn’t want someone to tickle you that way. Okay, laugh if you want to, but I’m glad I’m not male (says Ronesa), so I wouldn’t have to endure that torture.

They also loved to dance, and would flatter … or force … a shepherd to play his kaval, a flutelike instrument, for them all night long. He was fortunate if he survived and only had holes in his shoes and blisters on his fingers.

Geeze, you might ask, is there any hope to escape their attention? How could men protect themselves from these assaults? Well, the Russians would tell you to wear your baptismal cross, especially if you go into the forest or near water. You could also wear ferns in your hair when you go swimming; this prevents them from pulling you under. Magical chants are also useful to keep them away from you. Other methods are to prick the Rusalki with a pin or throw wormwood in their eyes. Be sure you DON’T carry anything that ATTRACTS Rusalki, like parsley, roses, birch, and especially not their favorite plant rosen (which is burning bush). You’re just asking for trouble if you do. They’ll think you WANT to be tickled.

Rusalki also love telling riddles. If you have the correct answer, they’ll leave you alone. But if you get it wrong… well, be prepared to be tickled to death.

As to whether or not they do any of this torture maliciously is up for debate. Some people say they are bent on destroying men. Other people claim they’re innocent maidens who are only trying to find the love they never had while alive…

Outside of folklore, Rusalki were often portrayed as tragic figures. Antonin Dvorak’s opera has similarities to Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid. The mermaid in this story, called Rusalka, falls in love with a prince, but must lose her voice before she can have the opportunity to meet him as a living being.

Rusalka and Prince. Illustration by Nelinda. © Bendideia Publishing.

Act 1

Rusalka has fallen in love with a human prince who often steps into the water where she lives. Although she can caress him, alas, he cannot see her, because she is merely part of the watery element herself. She wants to become human so she can embrace him and feel his arms around her as well. She asks the witch, Ježibaba, to help her. Witches are witches and demand much of their supplicants. Ježibaba tells Rusalka that she will lose her ability to speak if she becomes mortal; on top of that, if the prince doesn’t love her, he will die and she will be eternally damned. Rusalka agrees and drinks the potion the witch gives her. The prince finds her, immediately becomes infatuated with the speechless woman, and takes her to the palace. So far, so good for Rusalka. The prince wants her.

 

Act 2

But fate can be cruel. Although the fickle prince summons guests to his pending marriage to Rusalka, he soon pays more attention to a visiting foreign princess… who can speak and flatter him, while mocking the mute Rusalka.

Poor, poor Rusalka.

It doesn’t take long before the prince professes his love to the foreign princess and rejects Rusalka. Her eyes filled with pain, she returns to her watery home. The foreign princess, however, is disgusted with the prince, even though she’s achieved taking his affection away from Rusalka.

 

Act 3

Poor, poor Rusalka. She doesn’t know what to do. She returns to the witch for help. Ježibaba gives her a dagger and tells her she must kill the prince in order to be free and return to her former life. Horrified, Rusalka throws the dagger into the lake. Never will she kill the man she still loves. She dissolves into the water, forever alienated from her family. And now she has become something vile, a spirit that lures people to their death in the water.

The prince, having been touched by Rusalka’s love, can’t erase her from his mind. He frantically searches for her where he first found her. He calls to her, and she appears. “Kiss me, please,” he begs. “I can’t stop thinking about you. I regret being a fool.” She tells him that her kiss will mean his death.

To which he responds, “Kiss me, kiss me, give me peace! Your kisses will redeem my sin! I die happy; I die happy in your embrace!”

They kiss and … yes, he dies.

Rusalka kisses her dead lover one more time, thanking him for letting her experience human love. She releases his body and sinks into the lake, forever condemned to bring death to those who come near.  Yes, poor, poor Rusalka.

Well, you must have a bad impression of the Rusalki by now. But, even though they cause pain and death, they have a benevolent side. They’re magical healers. Every year, several weeks after Easter, on a holiday called Spassovden, or Ascension, they ride through the night sky in a golden chariot made of human bones. Their green hair sparkles in the moonlight, and their transparent clothes billow around them as they hasten their way to a field full of white, pink, or red rosen. They’re here to plunder the flower.

Magical Night of Healing. Illustration by Nelinda. © Bendideia Publishing.

Not only is this their favorite flower, it’s also magical and used by witches and healers, as well as Rusalki. It’s said that if a lit match is brought to the flowers in hot and sunny weather, a flame will explode in the air. Black smoke is released, but the plant remains unaffected by the fire.

Below the Rusalki, in the field of rosen, lie the ill, the crippled, the maimed, the childless women. Each person lies on a white blanket. At their head, they put a white cotton towel, a bowl of water, and a ritual bread as a gift for the Rusalki.

Spassovden is a time for “impossible wishes” to come true. Each person there hopes the Rusalki will accept their gift and give them a cure. At midnight, as the Rusalki stir up a whirlwind in their frenzied flight, they bestow cures upon those below at their whim. To the crippled or maimed, they give new limbs; to the blind, they give sight, hearing to the deaf, speech to the mute; to the women who cannot conceive, they give fertility. It’s said that if any woman conceives on this miraculous night, it’s believed to have happened in a magical way and is not interpreted as scandalous behavior.

Does everyone receive a cure? Sadly, no. In the morning, people check to see what’s floating in their bowl of water. If it’s a green leaf or flower, the person will be healed. If the leaf is dry, or the water is filled with dirt, however, the person won’t be cured, and may even die soon.

Regardless of the outcome of the Rusalki’s visit, everyone must leave the healing place in silence, to keep the Rusalki happy and make sure their wish will be granted to those who were favored by the mermaids.

Are they good? Or are they bad? I guess you’ll only ever truly know when you meet one for yourself.

 

Spassovden

An excerpt from A Study of Rusalki – Slavic Mermaids of Eastern Europe.

Spassovden (or the Ascension) is a zadushnitsa, one of many days throughout the year associated with the dead, although not specifically those who are “unclean dead” like Rusalki. Women pour wine or water over the graves of relatives, and give food to other people visiting their deceased loved ones.

In Bulgaria, Spassovden happens forty days after Easter. The name comes from the Bulgarian word spassenie (спасение, “salvation”), and so it’s the day of salvation of souls. It’s the last of the seven “Great Thursdays,” the first being Maundy Thursday (three days before Easter).

The official Orthodox holiday relates to the day Christ ascended to heaven after spending his first forty days with the apostles after he had risen from his tomb. In the same way, on Easter, God releases souls of the recent dead, so they can wander for forty days to the places they’ve known in life. Their wandering concludes on Spassovden, and the souls remain on Earth until they return to the other world on Pentecost.

In folklore, souls can appear as flies or bees, visiting flowers on trees, in meadows, and along riverbanks. If you want to hear the dead speak in their graves, all you have to do is put your ear to the ground; you’ll hear them buzzing like bees. They also appear as white butterflies that arise from the water and live only on this day. Windows remain open on Spassovden so these souls aren’t trapped inside homes. Another belief is that if you’re quiet enough when you go to a well early in the morning and peer into the water, instead of seeing your own image, you may see the reflection of a loved one you’re thinking about.

White Butterfly Souls. Illustration by Nelinda. © Bendideia Publishing.

A Day of Bread and Fertility

Spassovden is also a day of bread and fertility. Sveti Spas or St. Spas (the Holy Savior) is the saint associated with this day, although he doesn’t exist as an actual Orthodox saint. He’s a made-up saint to go along with the name of the holiday. On this day, people walk around the fields to ward off drought, praying to the saint, who “unlocks the sky and the Earth to let the rain through so there may be bread throughout the year.”[i]

Ritual traditions forbid both men and women from working on any of the Great Thursdays. If you work in the vineyard, no grapes will grow. If you work in the fields, no grain will ripen. On Spassovden itself, women avoid touching anything green, because it will bring hailstorms in the summer instead of rain. Every drop of rain that falls on this day is considered “a piece of gold,”[ii] because it means the harvest year will be rich and fertile. On the other end of the weather spectrum, to avoid a drought, women are forbidden from doing laundry and hanging clothes outside to dry.

[i] Bezovska, “St. Spas or Ascension Day.”

[ii] Bezovska, “St. Spas or Ascension Day.”

Symphony of Color and Light – A True Hymn of Harmony and Love

Orpheus

Bulgaria is known as the birthplace of the ancient singer and musician Orpheus. We don’t know exactly where his birthplace was, but tradition indicates it was somewhere in the beautiful Rhodope Mountains in southeastern Bulgaria, which was part of ancient Thrace. Legend has it that he lived there around 1400 BC.

According to Greek mythology, Orpheus was the son of the river god Oeagrus and the nymph Calliope. His unwavering love for his beloved wife Eurydice has inspired poets, writers, and artists in the past and to this day. His music enchanted everyone, and his sad songs made even the gods and nymphs cry. The heart of Hades, the god of the underworld, softened at Orpheus’s song, and the god agreed to allow Eurydice to return with Orpheus to earth. But she failed to survive the journey and disappeared forever, a brief but strong love.

Orpheus and Eurydice

Legend says The Muses carried Orpheus’s lyre to the sky after he died and placed it among the stars. His soul returned to the underworld, where he reunited with his wife.

Many visual artists, have taken up the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. I find those of Francois-Louis Francais, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and Edmund Dulac to be especially moving. But nothing can compare them to the renderings of the talented Bulgarian visual artist Keazim Issinov, who has more than 400 paintings devoted to Orpheus.

Magical Music

The light and love in his works are amazing. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet him and spend time to learn and explore his art. He is not only a master of the brush, but a humble person, born ahead of his time. His art demonstrates much philosophy and prophecy and an awakening message to humanity. If life on Earth is ever destroyed, surviving future generations could use his paintings to recreate nature and humanity, a type of Noah’s Ark embedded in canvas. It’s no surprise he was given the Artist of the Century award in 2005 in the competition Millennium “1001 Reasons to Love the Earth” held in the Netherlands.

Orpheus’ Music

His paintings tell the story of Orpheus. Examine each of them, imagine their world, make up your own stories and dreams, and travel to the unknown.

Orpheus and Eurydice

I would like to close the article with few quotes about Keazim Issinov’s art

“Keazim Issinov is closely connected with the world of folklore – with its poetry of the legend which turns into a strange and thrilling fairy-tale not only the sagas but also the every-day life of the people. The essence of his style could be defined by the often used now term ‘magic realism’. For Keazim Issinov it is an organic combination of mythical and fairy-tale content, rich and striking imagination, primary ecstasy for nature and events, curios details while in technical aspect – of a calligraphic drawing, precision of the plastic form, magic lighting. In any case he is a gifted and productive artist who has a lot to say and knows how to say it to the people – in an unforgettable way.”

Kiril Krastev  

Orpheus’ Dream

“Great artists are always prophets. All of them, as well as Keazim Issinov, work with the past to create ideals of beauty that lead us to the future.”

Dr. Meter, Director of the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna

A Whiff of Antiquity

“Without losing from its depth, the art of Keazim Issinov fulfills a rare mission nowadays – to both delight and ennoble.”

Boris Danailov

 

If you’d like to buy an original or a reproduction or his art, you can contact the artist directly at https://www.facebook.com/issinov/ or by email at issinov.fine.art@gmail.com.

Eternity

BIOGRAPHY

Keazim Issinov was born in the village of Sadovets, Pleven region on April 16, 1940. He graduated from the National Art School in 1960, and in 1968 graduated from The National Academy of Art, the class of Prof. Nenko Balkanski in Painting. After graduation he worked as a restorer at the Institute of National Monuments of Culture. In 1969 he started work at the National Research Institute of Psychology and Neurology as an art teacher.

AWARDS & EXHIBITS

1971

Competition “1300 Years Bulgaria” – Shumen – 3rd prize for his work “Sava Dobroplodni”

Individual exhibition at the Union of Bulgarian Composers – paintings and sculpture

Individual exhibition at the Central House of the National Army

1973

Exhibition – competition in Bulgarian Sports Union – 3rd prize for his painting “Portrait of Maria Gigova”

1974

Exhibition – competition at the Union of Motorists – 3rd prize  

1975

The painting “A Television Fairytale” was printed by UNICEF

Second prize by the Bulgarian Sports Union for the painting “The Flying Dimo”

1976

Exhibition in Berlin

1977

Competition ‘’Portrait of Sofia’’, 2nd prize

International painting competition “Humor and Satire” Gabrovo – 1st prize

1978

Individual exhibitions in Sofia, Blagoevgrad, Razlog, Gotse Delchev, Razgrad

1980

Individual exhibition in Lovech

1981  

Exhibition in ‘’Sredets’’ Hall, Sofia

Japan – 1300 Years Bulgaria, Tokyo, Odawara, Nagoya

1982

Varna – Days of Fertility

Exhibitions in Pleven, Gotse Delchev

1983 

Sofia – May Literary Days

Szczecin – Poland – 10th Biennial of Painting – Honorary Diploma

Exhibitions in Zlataritsa, Veliko Tarnovo

1984

Exhibition in Dolni Dabnik

1985

Exhibitions in Algiers, Prague – Czechoslovakia, Veliko Tarnovo

1986

Exhibition in the Bulgarian Cultural Center Wiigenstein in Vienna, Austria

1987

Exhibition in Sofia

1989

Exhibition in Vienna, Austria at Lenderbank

Exhibition in the Embassy of Russia in Sofia

1990

Exhibition in Sofia gallery “Art 36”

1991

Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan

1992

Exhibition in Sofia

1994

Exhibition in Pleven

1997

Exhibition in Sofia

1998

Included in the manual of the International Bibliographical Center of Cambridge 

Exhibition in Bursa, Turkey and “Sredets” Hall, Sofia

1999 

Plovdiv – Culture Capital of Europe – exhibition in ‘’Vazrazhdane’’ Gallery

2000

Exhibition in Sofia Earth and Man Museum

Registered in the 2000 World Foundation, Netherlands

2001

Exhibition in Sevlievo

Entered in the publication of the American Bibliographical Institute of North Carolina

2002 

Exhibition at the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sofia

Exhibition in First Investment Bank, Pleven

2003

Participated in general exhibitions in Germany, Denmark and Great Britain

Exhibition in Razgrad

2005

Artist of the Year in the 10th Art Salon in the National Palace of Culture

Honorary Sign of the President

Awarded Artist of the Century in the competition Millennium “1001 Reasons to Love the Earth” held in the Netherlands

2006

Awarder the order “Cyril and Methodius” 1st degree

2009

Exhibition in Sofia gallery “Arte”

2010

Jubilee exhibition at the National Palace of Culture, Sofia

First Prize – Art Salon

2012

Exhibition in the Bulgarian National Radio

Exhibition in London, Great Britain

Awarded the prize of the national campaign “Guardian of Tradition”

Exhibition in Dupnitsa

2013

Exhibition in Sofia gallery “Minerva”

2014

Exhibition in the Palace “Vrana,” Sofia

2015 

Awarded by the Ministry of Culture the Order “Golden Age”

During the 50 years of creative work the author has participated in Bulgaria and abroad in many events, connected with charity.

~~~

Симфония на цвят и светлина – истински химн на хармонията и любовта

България е известна като родното място на древния певец и музикант Орфей. Не знаем къде точно е родното му място, но традицията сочи, че той е бил някъде в красивите Родопи в Югоизточна България, която е била част от древна Тракия. Легендата гласи, че той е живял там около 1400 г. пр.н.е.

Според гръцката митология Орфей е син на речния бог Оеагр и нимфа Калиопе. Непоколебимата му любов към любимата му съпруга Евридика е вдъхновявала поети, писатели и художници в миналото и до днес. Музиката му омагьоса всички, а тъжните му песни са накарали дори боговете и нимфите да плачат. Сърцето на Хадес, богът на подземния свят, се смекчава от песента на Орфей и богът се съгласява да позволи на Евридика да се върне с Орфей на земята. Но тя не успява да оцелее в пътуването и изчезна завинаги в подземният свят, кратка, но силна любов.

Легендата казва, че Музите пренесли лирата на Орфей на небето, след като той умрял, и я поставили сред звездите. Душата му се върнала в подземния свят, където отново се събрал с любимата си жена Евредика.

Много художници са черпили вдъхновение от историята на Орфей и Евридика. Намирам тези на Франсоа-Луи Франсе, Жан-Батист-Камил Корот и Едмунд Дюлак за особено трогателни. Но нищо не може да ги сравни с магическите платна на талантливия български художник Кеазим Исинов, който има повече от 400 творби, посветени на Орфей.

Светлината и любовта в неговите картини са невероятни. Щастлива съм, че имах възможността да се срещна с него и да отделя време, за да се запозная отблизо и изследвам неговото изкуство. Той е не само майстор на четката, но един невероятно духовен човек, роден преди времето си. Изкуството му демонстрира много философия и пророчество и едно силно събуждащо послание към човечеството. Ако животът на Земята някога бъде унищожен, оцелелите бъдещи поколения могат да използват неговите картини, за да пресъздадат природата и човечеството, те са един вид Ноев ковчег, вграден в платната му. Не е изненада, че през 2005 г. той получава наградата „Художник на века“ в конкурса „Милениум – 1001 причини да обичаш земята », проведен в Холандия.

Картините му разказват легендата за Орфей. Разгледайте всяка една от тях, представете си техния свят, съставете свои собствени истории и мечти и пътувайте към непознатото. Оставам платната му да говорят.

Бих искал да завърша статията с няколко цитата за изкуството на Кеазим Исинов.

Много художници са черпили вдъхновение от историята на Орфей и Евридика. Намирам тези на Франсоа-Луи Франсе, Жан-Батист-Камил Корот и Едмунд Дюлак за особено трогателни. Но нищо не може да ги сравни с магическите платна на талантливия български художник Кеазим Исинов, който има повече от 400 творби, посветени на Орфей.

Светлината и любовта в неговите картини са невероятни. Щастлива съм, че имах възможността да се срещна с него и да отделя време, за да се запозная отблизо и изследвам неговото изкуство. Той е не само майстор на четката, но един невероятно духовен човек, роден преди времето си. Изкуството му демонстрира много философия и пророчество и едно силно събуждащо послание към човечеството. Ако животът на Земята някога бъде унищожен, оцелелите бъдещи поколения могат да използват неговите картини, за да пресъздадат природата и човечеството, те са един вид Ноев ковчег, вграден в платната му. Не е изненада, че през 2005 г. той получава наградата „Художник на века“ в конкурса „Милениум – 1001 причини да обичаш земята », проведен в Холандия.

Картините му разказват легендата за Орфей. Разгледайте всяка една от тях, представете си техния свят, съставете свои собствени истории и мечти и пътувайте към непознатото. Оставам платната му да говорят.

Бих искал да завърша статията с няколко цитата за изкуството на Кеазим Исинов.

„Същността на неговия стил може да бъде определена от често използвания сега термин „магически реализъм“. За Кеазим Исинов това е органична комбинация от митично и приказно съдържание, богато и поразително въображение, първичен екстаз за природата и събитията, подробности за любопитството, докато са в технически аспект – на калиграфска рисунка, прецизност на пластичната форма, магическо осветление. Във всеки случай той е талантлив и продуктивен художник, който има много да каже и знае как да го каже на хората – по незабравим начин“.

Кирил Кръстев

 

„Великите художници винаги са пророци. Всички те, както и Кеазим Исинов, работят с миналото, за да създадат идеали за красота, които ни водят към бъдещето“.

Д-р Метер, директор на Академията за изящни изкуства, Виена

 

„Без да губи от своята дълбочина изкуството на Кеазим Исинов изпълнява една рядка в днешно време мисия – едновременно да радва и облагородява“.

Борис Данаилов

 

Ако искате да купите оригинал или репродукция или неговото изкуство, можете да се свържете директно с художника на адрес https://www.facebook.com/issinov/ или чрез имейл на issinov.fine.art@gmail.com.

БИОГРАФИЯ

Кеазим Исинов е роден в село Садовец, Плевенска област на 16 април 1940 г. Завършва Националното училище по изкуствата през 1960 г., а през 1968 г. завършва Националната художествена академия, класа на проф. Ненко Балкански по живопис.

 

“The Witcher” Connection

The Witcher Connection

Have you seen Netflix’s The Witcher? Although it’s received poor reviews from critics, fans are loving the show. We are excited that these types of shows are beginning to become more popular. It’s a move into a new type of fantasy realm. By now, fantasy lovers know about elves, gnomes, goblins, and such creatures. But what does the world, the western world, know about the creatures that haunt the lands of Eastern Europe?

Like Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, whose fantasy works are the basis for the series, we have a connection to The Witcher. It has been our goal to promote this rich folklore and mythology to readers. Some of the creatures you’ll discover in The Witcher are the inspiration for our fiction and nonfiction books. You can also meet other fascinating creatures such as the dragons Lamia and Zmey in our books.

At the beginning of The Witcher, you’ll meet a Kikimora. Although she’s not portrayed as the traditional folkloric creature, she’s still quite scary and fascinating. Time magazine referenced our work on household spirits (A Study of Household Spirits of Eastern Europe) when talking about the show.

Here’s what the TIME article had to say about the KIKIMORA:

Kikimora

When we first meet Cavill’s Geralt in episode 1, he’s emerging from a blackened swamp, in the middle of a terrifying battle with a multi-limbed kikimora.

Kikimoras are a mainstay of Slavic mythology, though the one shown in The Witcher may not exactly line up with the traditional depiction.

Throughout Eastern Europe, according to A Study of Household Spirits of Eastern Europe by Ronesa Aveela, kikimoras are believed to be female spirits that haunt houses. They can appear either young or old, but usually as deformed humans, thin and scraggly. Though they can be useful, they are largely troublemakers and occasionally dangerous.

“Do you hear creaking, scratching sounds coming from the walls and floors, or the clatter of pots at night?” Aveela writes. “All these may be signs a Kikimora lives in your house. This female spirit causes havoc from dusk until dawn.”

She posits that the origin of the name, as well as the myth, may stem from an old Finnish word, “kikke mörkö,” which roughly translates to “scarecrow.”

In The Witcher TV show, the kikimora appears as a very large, spider-like monster who tries to drown Geralt and bite his head off with a large maw full of sharp teeth. Not quite the type of monster that would be clattering pots in Slavic homes.

Still, the show’s depiction does match up with the some rarer aspects of the kikimora legends. Aveela writes that kikimoras have been associated with Baba Yaga witches who often appear in Russian fairy tales. They are contorted, long-limbed women who live in the deepest parts of the forest. Kikimoras also traditionally have bird feet, like the claws shown in The Witcher. And finally, many sources, including Aveela, say that a variation of kikimoras live in swamps and are married to Leshys, a Slavic woodland spirit.

You can read the full writeup here: https://time.com/5753369/the-witcher-history-folklore/

A Spirit Here, a Spirit There, a Spirit Everywhere!

Up until the nineteenth century, it was common belief throughout rural areas of Eastern Europe that spirits lived everywhere in the world of the peasants. Every home and every place outside of the home had its guardian spirit: springs, old trees, fields, vineyards, boundary lines, and so forth.

Household spirits had different names. In Russia and other Slavic countries, he was called the Domovoy. He was most often friendly, and was treated like a member of the family. He’d warn you if trouble was coming, and he’d make all kinds of noises if your house was on fire, in an attempt to wake you up.

Domovoy image
Domovoy, house spirit by Evelinea Erato, © Bendideia Publishing

Among the Bulgarians, the house spirit was called the Smok. He frequently took the form of a snake. This spirit was revered and wouldn’t be killed. To do so would cause disaster and even death for the family. Give him a bowl of milk and some eggs, and he’d be happy and protect you and your home.

Smok image

In addition to these helpful spirits, many evil spirits also occupied places.

The Ovinnik lived in the barn (ovin), and often appeared in a catlike form. He tried to be good and helped with the threshing process. But, at other times, he might also be in a bad mood and burn your barn down.

Ovinnik image
Ovinnik, house spirit by Evelinea Erato, © Bendideia Publishing

The Bannik lived in the bathhouse (banya, which is similar to a sauna). He was known for peeling the skin off of those who annoyed him, especially anyone who lied to him.

Bannik image
Bannik, house spirit by Evelinea Erato, © Bendideia Publishing

Even worse than these spirits was the Vodyanoy or Vodnik, who lived in the water (voda). On occasion, he might help fishermen catch more fish. Most often, however, he was a demanding being, requiring horrific sacrifices: live horses cast into the water, and even drunks or strangers who happened to be around. His cruelty affected his family as well, and he was known to murder his own wife or children.

Vodyanoy image
Vodyanoy by Ivan Bilibin, Public Domain

If you’d like to learn more about the Vodyanoy, you can download a FREE ebook from Book Funnel. Follow the steps and once you verify your email, your file will be available.

Link to free ebook: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/1rq3ku0fa9

Be Kind to Our Friend, the Bee

In the continuing series of posts about Mom’s Favorite Reads authors, today I’d like to introduce you to Sylva Fae, renowned children’s book author.

Sylva Fae

Beautiful lady, and she looks sweet, doesn’t she? She is all that, plus a feisty woman who has a tenderness for those innocents we share this world with. This includes the fae and other beings you may or may not believe in.

(You can find her full bio at the end of this post. Also make sure to visit Sylva on each step of her blog tour this week. Click this link to find out who’s hosting her. )

One of those critters Sylva has written about is the bee. You’ll want to pick up her book, Bea & Bee if you haven’t already done so. She gives you tips on how to treat these wonderful insects.

Bea & Bee

You’ll want to take care of them. Read the excerpt below to find out why.

Did you know…?

Bees are essential for many species of trees and plants to exist. If all bees died, much of our ecosystem would become extinct and our lives would change drastically. Consider a quote attributed to Albert Einstein: “If the bee disappeared from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.”

I’ll leave you with a folktale story about the bee that you can find in my book Light Love Rituals:

Blessed Bees

Maria returns home to discover Baba telling her children a story.

“In the ancient world, bees were messengers between our world and heaven. One day God decided to marry the Sun. He invited everyone to the wedding except Satan.”

“Yah, he’s bad,” Niki says. “I wouldn’t invite him either.”

“Only that made Satan angry, so he came anyway. He joined a group of guests and laughed while pointing at God. This made God curious what Satan was planning. ‘Faithful bee, you are light of wing and swift of foot. Please find out what my adversary is saying.’ The bee flew away and landed on Satan’s hat to listen.”

“Rada tells me it isn’t nice to eavesdrop,” Niki says.

“In this case it’s okay, since God told the bee to do it,” Rada says. “It’s only wrong when you’re listening to my conversations.”

“Do you two want to argue or listen to the story?” Baba taps her fingers against her leg.

“Sorry, we’ll be quiet. Right, Niki?”

“Yes, sorry, Baba.”

“The bee was shocked at what she heard,” Baba continues. “Satan was saying God was stupid to marry the Sun. ‘Look how hot it gets in the summer with only one Sun in the sky. If they have children, all those extra Suns will burn everything.’ The bee flew to warn God not to marry the Sun. Unfortunately, Satan saw the bee and chased her.”

“Oh, no! Does he catch her?” Niki asks.

“No, but he shot an arrow. It hit her in the waist, almost breaking her body in half. Even wounded, the bee made it back to God and told him what she heard. God thanked the courageous bee and called off the wedding.”

“Let’s hope no bees show up at Helena’s wedding on Dimitrovden,” Rada says.

“I was her age when I got married, but it seems so young now.” Baba sighs. “But to finish the story, the bee was ashamed. Not because she was hurt, but because she had been so afraid of Satan she had wet herself. God told her, ‘Don’t be humiliated. I’ll turn your shame into a blessing. The mess you made will turn sweet-smelling and be given to others as a gift.’ The bee asked, ‘What about my body?’ God told her, ‘It will remain broken, but you’ll always be happy and sing.’ And that’s how the bee came to make the precious gift of honey.”

Sylva Fae – Mini Bio

Sylva Fae is a married mum of three from Lancashire, England. She grew up in a rambling old farmhouse with a slightly dysfunctional family and an adopted bunch of equally dysfunctional animals. She spent twenty plus years teaching literacy to adults with learning difficulties and disabilities but now lives in Cheshire, juggling being a mum, writing children’s stories and keeping up with the crazy antics of three naughty rabbits.

Her earliest memories are of bedtime stories snuggled up close to mum to see the pictures. It was a magical time, those last special moments before dozing off to sleep would feed dreams of faraway lands and mystical beings. She now wants to share that love of stories and inspire children to create their own magical adventures.

Sylva and her family own a wood and escape there at every opportunity. Adventures in their own enchanted woodland, hunting for fairies and stomping in puddles, have inspired Sylva to write stories for her girls.

Sylva published her first children’s book Rainbow Monsters, in 2017. She has since published four other children’s picture books, an anthology of Christmas stories, and has a short story published in the IASD charity anthology, You’re Not Alone. Two of her books have won Best in Category for children’s books at the Chanticleer International Book Awards. She also writes a blog, Sylvanian Ramblings, and enjoys doing developmental editing as part of One Stop Author Services. Recently, Sylva joined the editors’ team at Mom’s Favorite Reads and regularly contributes articles to the magazine.

Books to date

Rainbow Monsters – Winner of 2017 Chanticleer Little Peeps Award

Mindful Monsters – Shortlisted for 2018 Chanticleer Little Peeps Award

No Place Like Home

Yoga Fox – Winner of 2018 Chanticleer Little Peeps Award

Bea & Bee

Elfabet – Illustrated by Katie Weaver

Children’s Christmas Collection – With authors Kate Robinson, Paul Ian Cross and Suzanne Downes

That Pesky Pixie – a series of stories for a story app

  • An Itchy Situation
  • A Stinky Start!
  • A Dastardly Plan
  • A Feast for a Fairy Queen
  • Three Pesky Pixies and a Monstrous Mouse

Links

Blog                 https://sylvafae.co.uk/blog/
Amazon         author.to/SylvaFae
Facebook      https://www.facebook.com/SylvaFae
Twitter          https://twitter.com/sylvafae
Pinterest       https://www.pinterest.co.uk/sylvafae/

5 Entertaining Activities for the Whole Family to Learn about Different Cultures

January 19, 2019

Why is understanding culture important?

If you take away all the national pride, political agendas, and religious (not spiritual) dogmas, you have the core of who we are. Not that these ideals are wrong when properly understood and implemented, but they can promote so much hate and antagonism by extremists that they really don’t define who we are as individuals or as a community.

Think of all the wars started on the premise of each of those three ideologies.

Learning about cultural diversity can be such a wonderful adventure. The common experiences that people share influence their perception of the world and consequently how they behave with each other and those outside their community.

Learn about other cultures

Learn about other cultures

Since we live in a world without borders, maybe you can go outside your comfort zones by learning about different cultures!
I write about Bulgarian mythology, folklore and cuisine, so I can offer a few ideas for the summer.

Dine at an ethnic restaurant

I’m sure your first idea is to dine at an ethnic restaurant and this is perfectly fine, we all love food. This is your chance to expand your palate! See if there are any ethnic restaurants nearby that you’ve never been to. If you can’t find a Bulgarian restaurant, you can prepare your own ethnic Bulgarian meal.

My favorite is called banitsa, but since it’s summer, I think you need to try my other favorite for the summer: Zucchini with yogurt-dill sauce

Also yogurt is a known Bulgarian specialty, healthy and tasty.

Visit Maria’s Kitchen to explore more recipes and learn about different Bulgarian and Mediterranean dishes; try the taste of Bulgaria and the Balkans. To discover more recipes, you can get a copy of my book: Mediterranean and Bulgarian Cuisine: 12 Easy Traditional Favorites.

Experience ethnic music and dance

There are plenty of ways to learn more about music in other countries. Here are some suggestions:

  • Sign up for a dance class to learn flamenco (Spain), polka (Scandinavia), or the jig (Scotland or Ireland)
  • Attend a concert or music festival that showcases music from different parts of the world
  • Check out CDs of ethnic music at the library

Bulgarian Music and dance

Bulgarian folk music and dance are quite different from what Americans are used to. Dances are performed by men and women in lines or circles (horo).

Bulgarian Horo

“Na Megdana” by Nelly Tonchev-Nelinda (Nelinda.com)

I’m sure you’ve heard about some in the movie 300 (Message for the Queen) and other Hollywood movies.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-Uxqt1Hai4&index=3&list=RD6PP-c_-lxus

“Go down, go down, bright sunshine
Go down, hide your light
Mourn for your leafs, you forest”

To learn more check my article on Bulgarian Music and Dance.

In my book Light Love Rituals, you can learn more about the Horo and also when the dance is performed.

Learn about your heritage

Doing a little genealogical research with your family allows you to spend time together and reach out to distant family members. Creating a family record is a pursuit you can work on for a long time, and you never know what you might discover!

Even if your heritage is not Bulgarian, maybe you have a friend who is and you want to learn more. Visit my blog or my author page where you can find different books inspired by the rich Bulgarian traditions and mythology.

You can see all my books and the various retails to purchase them from here: Ronesa’s Books.

My latest book, The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village, is a good summer read to travel to the mystical world in Zmeykovo (Dragon Village) and also learn about different mythological creatures.

Learn about Mythology and Folklore of other cultures while making crafts

Bulgarians celebrate name days, birthdays and they observe and practice many more rituals and traditions. In my Baba Treasure Chest series, I’ve described some of them.

My favorite tradition is making a Martenitsa, the white and red amulet of friendship. In the short story The Miracle Stork, I have activities and also steps on how to make your own.

If you’re traveling, some of my book are available on Audible, a perfect way to entertain the entire family until you get to your final destination. You can have an awesome trip while learning about another culture.

Coloring Books for the entire family

Coloring can reduce stress and be fun for the whole family! When you’re coloring, you’re not checking your smart phone, flipping channels or tweeting. In addition, my coloring books (Mermaids Around the World and More Mermaids Around the World) can help you learn more than 50 different mermaid legends.

Do you know any other ways to learn about different cultures?

Mermaids Around the World coloring book   More Mermaids Around the World coloring book

Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine December 2018

Hannah Howe

Earlier this year, in partnership with authors Ronesa Aveela and Denise McCabe, I created Mom’s Favorite Reads, one of the highlights of my publishing year.

A81D7DF4-3E32-4D97-ADBD-C43F61D246EB

What is Mom’s Favorite Reads?

*It’s a community of book lovers

* A monthly magazine featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment world alongside the best in modern publishing

*A book catalogue containing over 400 books, including many bestsellers and award-winners

*A website with dedicated author pages

*A reading group where readers can discover new authors

*A partner to major businessness including The Fussy Librarian and chess.com

* A fun way to promote books with items like our Advent Calendar and nominations to the Apple News Channel

* A community to support literacy amongst adults and children

This weekend, we published our December magazine. The magazine is available from all major retail platforms, including Amazon. You can also read the magazine, for free…

View original post 82 more words

Santa’s Name Day

December 14, 2018

Did you know St. Nick (more formerly known as Saint Nicholas or Saint Nikolas) had a name day? This is not the Santa Claus version you are familiar with, but the saint from long ago.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “name day,” it’s a festivity like a birthday, but is more popular than a birthday. Each day of the year has several related names assigned to it.

The name day in his honor, Nikulden (Никулден, St. Nicholas’ Day), is celebrated on December 6. What many people know him for is his reputation for giving gifts. The most famous story about this was that he secretly threw three purses of gold coins through the window of the house of a poor man who had three unmarried daughters. In those days, women needed a dowry to marry. Without one and with not much hope of obtaining employment sufficient to live on, most poor women ended up as prostitutes. Thus, from this generous act, Santa Claus came into existence.

Less known is the fact that St. Nicholas is the patron saint of fishermen and sailors. Since the eastern side of Bulgaria borders the Black Sea, this is an important holiday for Bulgarians. As a sign of respect to the saint, men don’t go out on the sea.

A fish — in particular the carp — is an important part of celebrations in his honor. It is called the servant of St. Nicholas and is considered sacred because a bone inside its head is shaped like a cross. The bone is often used as an amulet, sewn inside the hat of a newborn, to protect the infant.

Bread is the center of the Christmas feast. It has a coin or fortunes hidden inside. Whoever finds the coin inside his bread is certain to have luck throughout the year.

The_Christmas_Thief_CoverThis tradition is incorporated into my children’s short story and coloring/activity book, The Christmas Thief, where a seven-year-old boy named Christopher is determined he’s going to catch the Winter Monster who steals food from his family’s porch every Christmas. What he discovers instead is the meaning of sharing.

Go to The Christmas Thief page to find more information about the book.

Samodivi – wind, water, and fire, all those elements that awaken human freedom

October 7, 2018

Dear friends, readers and fans, I would like to present to you an interesting project, the film “Samodiva.” I had the pleasure of meeting the talented Olga Docheva and Nikol Kostova, who are behind this project, and I wanted to share with you more information about it.
(Bulgarian version below)

How was the idea for the script and the movie “Samodiva” born?
The original idea of ​​a “samodivi” film was born in 2016 when I was taking a script-writing course at the New York Film Academy led by Golan Ramras. Of course, the initial idea had nothing to do with the current version; the only thing that is the same is the “samodivi”. From the first version of this idea, we attempted with my colleague Nicol Kostova around five or six different variations until we reached the final story we are working on now. When we met Nicole, she liked the idea very much, and we began to develop a new story together, keeping some of the characters enriched, but some of them drastically changed.

How did you select the team?
The vast majority of the ship’s crew, “Samodiva,” as I like to call it, has come naturally. There were people who were enthusiastic at first and then dropped out, and those who had joined at the last moment took off like jet engines and became part of the group.

Samodiva Movie

Samodiva Movie

The selection was a cosmic feeling, as we say; it attracted the right people at the right time, and this is an indisputable fact that our experience showed us. We are far from believing that we did it on our own; with a clear purpose and being proactive, we moved toward our objective. Enough on that subject. There are enough literature and videos available for anyone auditioning who wonders how to be selected. For those who don’t believe this, I can only say that if they want a break, they have to reach out and grab what they want in life.

Which actors did you choose and how did you find them?
The Samodivi were chosen first by their appearance, because we had predetermined what they should look like. For the main female roles (as well as males), we had auditions and we knew in advance which Bulgarian actors would fit them best. What’s intriguing is that long before we knew we could get in touch with some actors, they appeared after our initial wish. One of them is Stefania Kocheva, whom it is an exceptional privilege and joy to work with. She is a true incarnation of a Samodiva.

Samodivi

Samodivi

We also work with Ralitsa Stoyanova; her character is Magda, the most powerful and terrible Samodiva, both beautiful and magnetic, but she veers away from your typical exotic beauty. Of course, the skills of the professionals were taken into account for each of the cast; they are actors, not mannequins. We all had the pleasure of working on the Meisner technique during rehearsals.

Why exactly did you choose “Samodivi” for the main characters in your movie?
Because we want to bring out folk mythical beings and started with the samodivi; because they are beautiful, fabulous and unseen on the big screen. The Samodivi themselves wished and allowed themselves to be shown. It’s time for them.

How did you come up with the idea for the script and the film Samodiva?
In the early autumn of 2017, Olga and Nicole met; perhaps this meeting was fateful and predestined. We created a magical and fabulous story based on the idea of ​​preserving nature and how each person can believe in his abilities.We have been pondering, prodding, and digging into myths, legends, and tales to build our insights into the samodivi and how they rescue nature from pollution and external influences.

In fact, she was joking about the whole story – Olga often traveled to London, and from there she discovered more and more interesting stories.

Samodivi

Along with Olga, we decided that this is history and this is a movie that can touch both children and adults as an unforgettable adventure. Of course, its very creation is a much bigger adventure in which we both believe we will succeed. And here we gathered a team of friends of professionals and actors with whom we rehearsed and conceived a proof of concept in a few shooting days, and the magic happened.

Who is the designer of the costumes?
The costume designer is our wonderful designer Velina Kokalova, who has been a stage designer for 10 years and who graduated from the National Academy of Arts and then photography. She participated in many performances in our theaters, in our well-known Bulgarian feature films from the big screen as well as abroad, constructed and created costumes and decorations as well as a poster design.

For a very short period of time, Velina made ten suits, entirely inspired by fairy tales and folklore, to ride the vision of the samodiva. Our other designer is Nikolay Gerata – he designed a concept for the boys’ vision. Nikolay Geranliev – Gerata, is engaged in hip-hop music and clothing.

 

Which actors did you choose and how did you find them?
Each of the actors did not happen accidentally in our project. We held an audition for the boys; we watched we discussed and we decided that Todor Berov is best suited for the character of Damien, typical and curious.

Kiril Nedkov was Jay’s best friend Daimian from the university, an explorer who is hungry for adventure. They themselves do not know what awaits them when they go to Jai’s father among the splendid peaks and forests; mystical creatures expect both of them.

Where did you shoot the scenes?
We took pictures first at Pancharevo with only three samodivi, then we had a photo shoot at Krushuna Waterfalls with Stefania Kocheva as Dana and Ioana Dralchev in the role of Sevda.

 

The proof of concept itself was shot in several locations – Prohodna Cave, more commonly known as God’s eyes, Topolnitsa Dam.

Samodiva Movie

Samodiva Movie

After visiting many lakes and dams, we found Topolnitsa, a magical place surrounded by fabulous flora and fauna and ecosystem. We also shot near the dam the scenes that are in the woods.

 


What connects you to Samodivi?
The intriguing thing that connects us to Samodivi is freedom and nature. Everyone knows or has heard of the samodivi that kill men, but we do not kill men. The Samodivi are the closest fairy-tale creatures embodying forest beauties in Bulgarian folk tales. Samodivi are the guardians of the forest; both in animal and in human form they communicate with plants, trees, wind, water and fire, all those elements that awaken human freedom.

Thank you, Nikol and Olga. We all wish you good luck with this awesome project, sending powerful message to the world.

Photos are selections from the movie.

The painting is mine. It’s called “Samodivi.” I painted it when I wrote “Mystical Emona,” inspired by the legends of the Samodivi and their dangerous charm. As you know, all my books are inspired by Bulgarian legends and myths. They help us understand the world around us.

Mystical Emona: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M9FEYF6

Please share and support this unique project with friends and other admirers.
Support Samodiva Movie:https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/samodiva-fantasy-movie-development-stage

Ronesa Aveela (aka Nelly Toncheva and Rebecca Carter)
Ronesa Aveela Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Ronesa-Aveela/e/B00N02ZS20


Самодивите  – дърветата, вятъра, водата и огъня, всички онези стихии които будят свободата у човека


Скъпи приятели, читатели и почитатели с удоволствие искам да ви представя един интерес проект, филмът “Самодива”.
Имах удоволствието да се запозная с талантливите Олга Дочева и Никол Костова който стоят зад този проект и да споделя с вас повече информация.

Как дойде идеята за сценария и филмът “Самодива”?
Първоначалната идея за филм за самодиви се роди през 2016, когато бях на курс за сценарийно писане при преподавателя от Ню Йорк Филм Академи – Голан Рамраз. Разбира се, тогава историята нямаше нищо общо със сегашната й версия, единственото което е същото са самодивите. От първата версия на тази идея преминахме заедно с колежката ми Никол Костова през пет-шест различни варианта, докато достигнахме до финалната история по която работим. Когато се срещнахме с Никол темата за ‚Самодива‘ сякаш си дойде сама. Тя много хареса идеята и започнахме да развиваме заедно една нова история, като запазихме някои от персонажите, обогатени рабира се, а някои от тях коренно променени.

Как подбрахте екипа ?
По-голямата част от екипажа на кораба ‚Самодива‘, както аз харесвам да го наричам, си дойде някак естествено. Имаше хора които много искаха в началото и после отпаднаха, и такива които се включиха в последния момент като реактивни двигатели и станаха част от цялото.
Избора беше на космическо усещане, както ние казваме, има реално привличане на точните хора на точното време и това е неоспорим факт, за който опита ни говори. Далеч сме от идеята, че става от само-себе си единствено, става с ясно намерение и проактивни действия в посока на намерението. Толкоз по темата. Има достатъчно литература и видео материали в пространството на варианти за всички онези, които четат тези редове и се чудят ‚как?‘,  а за онези които не вярват – мога само да кажа, че това им е основната и вероятно единствената спирачка да не осъщесвят това което желаят.

Кои актьори избрахте и как ги намерихте?
Самодивите ги избрахме първоначално по визуални характеристики, тъй като образите, които пресъздават са предопределени от преди нас. За главните женски роли (също както и мъжки) си имахме кастинги и предварително знаехме кои от българските актьори биха се вписали по най-добрия начин. Интресното е, че много преди да знаем, че ще успеем да се свържем с дадени актьори, те присъстваха в първите ни желания. Една от тях е Стефания Кочева, с което е изключителна привилегия и радост да се работи. Тя е едно истинско превъплъщение на самодива. Работим и с Ралица Стоянова, която на първо четене не е типичната ‚самодива‘ във визуално описание, но персонажа й – Магда – най-властната и страшна самодива, същевременно красива и магнетична, предполагаше да излезем от типизирания образ и да изберем по-скоро екзотична хубост. Разбира се акьорските умения бяха взети под внимание за всеки един от каста, все пак това са актьори, а не манекени. С всички имахме удовослвието да работим по техниката Майзнер, по време на репетиции.

Защо точно самодиви избрахте за герои във филма?
Защото искаме да изкараме на яве фолклорни митични същества и започнахме от самодивите; защото са красиви, приказни и невидяни на големия екран. Самите самодиви пожелаха и позволиха да бъдат показани. Време им е.

Как дойде идеята за сценария и филмът Самодива?
През  ранната есен на 2017 Олга и Никол работиха и се срещнаха в един и същи магичен проект, може би тази среща е била съдбовна и предопределена – започнахме да излизаме редовно и да си говорим за проекти, обикаляхме различни горски места и Олга сподели че има започнат сценарий за самодиви. При което аз реагирах уау самодиви и така започнахме неспирно и с цялото си вдъхновение създадохме една магична и приказна история крепяща се на идея за опазване на природата и как всеки човек може да повярва в способностите си.  Дълго размишлявахме, копаехме и се ровехме в митове, легенди и приказки за да надградим представите ни за самодивите и как те спасяват природата от замърсяванията и външните влияния.  Всъщност малко тръгна на майтап цялата история- Олга пътуваше често до Лондон и от там докарваше все по-интересни истории.
С Олга решихме че това е историята и това е филма който може да докосне и деца и възрастни като едно незабравимо приключение. Разбира се самото му създаване е много по-голямо приключение в което и двете вярваме, че успяваме. И ето ни събрахме екип от приятели професионалисти  и актьори с който репетирахме и съсздадохме Proof of concept в няколко снимачни дни, и  се случи магията.

Кой е дизайнер на костюмите?
Дизайнер на костюмите е нашата прекрасна сценографка Велина Кокалова  сценограф от 10 години завършва Националната художествена академия и след това фотография.Участва в много представления в театрите ни, в наши познати български пълнометражни филми от големия екран както и в чужбина, конструирала и създавала костюми и декори както и дизайн на плакати. Велина за много кратък период от време изготви  десет костюма, изцяло вдъхновени от приказките и фолклора за да съсзде визията на самодивите.

Другият ни дизайнер е Николай Герата – той ни изготви концепция за визията на момчетата. Николай Геранлиев – Герата, се занимава с хип-хоп музика и облекло.

Кои актьори избрахте и как ги намерихте?
Всеки от актьорите не е попаднал случайно в нашия проект, направихме кастинг за момчетата, гледахме обсъждахме и решихме че Тодор Беров най-добре се вписва в персонажа на Деймиян, типичен и любопитен. Кирил Недков в ролята на Джай най-добрият приятел на Деймиян от университета, авантюрист който жаднее за приключения. Те самите незнаят какво ги очаква когато отиват при бащата на Джай сред прекрасните върхове и гори, мистичните същества ги очакват и двамата.

Къде направихте снимките?
Снимките направихме като за начален старт бяхя на Панчарево, само с три самодиви, след това направихме фотосесия на Крушунските водопади заедно със Стефания Кочева в ролята на Дана и Йоана Дралчев в ролята на Севда.
Самият Proof of Concept заснехме на няколко локации – Пещера Проходна или по-позната като Божиите очи, язовир Тополница, след многото огледи на езера и язовири попаднахме на Тополница, едно магично място обградено от приказна флора и фауна и екосистема. Снимахме и близо до язовира сцените които са в гората.

Какво ви свързва със самодивите?
Интересното което ни свързва със самодивите е свободата и природата, всеки знае или е чувал за самодивите, че убиват мъже е ние не убиваме мъже. Самодивите са най-близките приказни същества олицетворяващи горските красавици в българските народни приказки. Самодивите са пазителките на гората, както в животинска така и в човешка форма те общуват с растениятя, дърветата, вятъра, водата и огъня, всички онези стихии които будят свободата у човека.

Снимките са фрагменти от филма.

Картината е моя, казва се “Самодиви”, рисувах я когато писах “Mystical Emona” история вдъхновена от легендите за самодивите и тяхният опасен чар. Както знаете всичките ми книги са вдъхновени от Българските легенди и митове. Една неостаряваща тема, която е неизчерпаем извор на идей.
Mystical Emona: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00M9FEYF6

Моля споделете и подкрепете този уникален проект с приятели и други почитатели.

Support Samodiva Movie: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/samodiva-fantasy-movie-development-stage

Ronesa Aveela (aka Nelly Toncheva and Rebecca Carter)

Ronesa Aveela Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Ronesa-Aveela/e/B00N02ZS20