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Routes, passengers, movies
Routes, passengers, movies

Author(s): Nikolai Yanakiev
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts, Film / Cinema / Cinematography
Published by: Институт за изследване на изкуствата, Българска академия на науките
Keywords: the Balkans; means of transportation; itinerant exhibitors; travelling filmmakers; documentary footage

Summary/Abstract: Balkan civil aviation was just gaining momentum at the outbreak of World War II. To get to Bulgaria a visitor had to cross another Balkan country on board a train or a ship, or in a motorcar or a horse-drawn carriage. The same was the case for goods, including movies and filmmaking equipment. Some of these trips were known. Still, there are many more that are unknown, lost in the mists of time. Johan Fišer and Konstantin Drndarski, who were brought together in a fatal case on whether a cine projector was stolen or legally acquired, set off from Ruse to Vienna and Giurgiu in 1897. Louis Pitrolf de Beéry arrived in Sofia from Belgrade in 1913. In 1924, Major F.A.C. Forbes-Leith, driving an automobile from London to India, visited Zagreb, Belgrade, Sofia, Plovdiv, Edirne, Istanbul, Ankara, Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran to reach as far as Pakistan’s Quetta, which at the time was within India’s borders. The expedition was filmed by Montague Redknap for British Pathé. Dr. Harold B. Allen, who had worked a decade in Greece for the American Near East Foundation, set off on a trip in 1935 to shoot in Bulgaria. In 1937/38 Swiss company “Tem-films” made a series of films in Greece, including Athens (650 m), The Peloponnese (560 m), Views of Crete (450 m), The Port of Piraeus, etc. The team showed interest in shooting in Bulgaria too. These are just a few examples. The paper will introduce some facts about foreign travelling filmmakers passing through the Balkans. This is a post-mortem publication of a paper, presented by Alexander Yanakiev at International Conference Early Cinema in the Balkans and the Near East: Beginnings to Interwar Period. Athens. Greece: 5–7 June, 2015. The text of the paper reproduces the original version found in the author’s archive.

  • Issue Year: 2022
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 5-11
  • Page Count: 8
  • Language: English