The unique Jackie, Johnnie and Charlie to present new film at Sofia International Film Festival

The unique Jackie, Johnnie and Charlie to present new film at Sofia International Film Festival

Three of Bulgaria’s most artistic and unconventional film artists to receive Sofia Municipality’s honorary Sofia Award at the 20th Sofia International Film Festival

Jackie (Georgi Stoev), Johnnie (Johnnie/Georgi Penkov) and Charlie (Hristo Iliev-Charlie) have been friends for over 50 years! What they have in common, except for their love of cinema and art, is their different, cheerful perspective upon the world and life, presented to the broader audience through their amusing stories told in many common projects, both cinematic and literary. The three of them have worked together on dozens of comic films, documentaries and features ranging in length from 5 to 90 minutes. None of the three ever studied film making but they have received, individually and collectively 43 prestigious international awards!

One of Jackie, Johnnie and Charlie’s most discussed and popular projects is their book “Nadali ama a dano/ A dano ama nadali” [Hardly but Lets’ Hope So/ Hopefully but Hardly] published in 2015 which can be read either backwards or forward and contains various amusing political and sexual interpretations of life’s issues, recreated by the three authors.

Jackie Stoev has for years been universally recognized as one of Bulgarian cinema’s great characters. He likes to joke that one of the reasons for this is his education – he graduated biology at the Sofia and Dresden universities. All his projects are built on talent, curiosity and an relentless sense of humour. His more famous films include Zhivot v tarbuha na edna krava [Life in the Belly of a Cow] (1977), Rituali na lyubovta [Rite of Love] (1977), Animal Hierarchy (1971), Broeni dni – a documentary that won the Golden Rhyton at the National Festival in Plovdiv in 1977 but had not been shown to broader audiences until 2015; Itsko (1983) as well as feature films Nashiyat Shoshkanini [Our Shoshkanini] (1982), Patilata na Spas i Nely [The Adventures of Spas and Nelly] (1987) – an enthralling fairy tale about a happy cat and dog who one day cause too much trouble and find themselves wandering through the city without a home; Letete s Rossinant [Fly with Rossinant] (2007). In 2010 the three friends made the film Otetz Ivan i negovite detza [Father Ivan and his Children] awarded a Golden Rhyton at the festival for Best Non-Feature Film in 2010 in Plovdiv.
You can only ask me about funny things because I’ve never been serious. I hope I never grow serious, there’s no time for it anyway”, Jackie Stoev shared with the media.

Georgi Penkov, better known as Johhny Penkov was born in sofia in 1933. In 1966 he graduated Radio Engineering at the Lenin Polytechnic School and specialised Electroacoustic in Franace in 1972. He is one of Bulgarian cinema’s most exacting (and inventive) sound engineers – it is absolutely no coincidence he is known as Senior Research Fellow Candidate of Technical Sciences Engineer Georgi Penkov! Johnny’s academic titles are actually real! As an actor he stared in "Ritsar bez Bronya" [A Knight without Armour] (1966), "Jessie James vs. Lokum Shekerov” (1966), "Razvodi, Razvodi" [Divorces, divorces] (1989), "Nemirnata Ptitsa Lyubov" [The Shrew Bird Love] (1990), "Operation Shmenti Capelli" (2011).

Hristo Iliev-Charlie was born in 1941 in Sofia and in 1960 he graduated the Polytechnic High School. He is the script writer of many Bulgarian films, many of which were directed by Jackie Stoev. Half of the top ten Bulgarian documentary films of all time, selected on the occasion of Bulgarian filmmaking’s 100th anniversary, have their script written by Charlie He is also the author of the script for some 20 animated films many of which are winners of prestigious national and international awards. Charlie is the author of the legendary Mosaics – newsreels that used to be shown before the main film years (many by now) ago. Often viewers would watch the Mosaics and the walk out… They included a 1-minute section with Senior Research Fellow Candidate of Technical Sciences Engineer Georgi Penkov.

The three laid the foundations of a new style not only in Bulgarian but also in world film – CINEMA VARIETE. And, as Jackie Stoev ironically remarked, “Sometimes finding a name for the style you’re working in is actually more important than what you’re doing!” If anyone wants to learn more about this unique trio, I recommend watching our young colleague Nikola Boshnakov’s film Jackie, Johnny and Charlie are not Pet Dog Names.

Since 2010 the three have been making documentary films and they’ve created something of a trilogy although the films don’t have a common subject – "Otetz Ivan i negovite detza" [Father Ivan and his Children] (Golden Rhyton for best film), "Hlyab i zrelishta" [Bread and Circuses] (presented in the 18th Sofia International Film Festival program and Sofia International film Festival on the Road, its premiere was a special event at The Cinema House in late May 2015, Goden Rhyton Award for Best director) and the upcoming "Dobro Utro, Kapitane" [Good Morning, Captain] (2016) which will premiere at the 20th anniversary Sofia International film Festival. The latter is, in the authors’ own words, “the first documentary musical.” The film was shot in Tsarevo where the three like to pass the summer and the main role is played by a real captain but we’re not telling who he is just yet – come watch the film!
The premiere will be part of the festival in March!