Vesela Kazakova and Mina Mileva

Source: Screen File

Vesela Kazakova and Mina Mileva

Need to know: Bulgarian filmmakers Mina Mileva, a high-profile actress, and Vesela Kazakova, a creative working in UK animation, set up Activist 38 after Bulgarian National Television snapped up the pair’s first documentary Because Of Her (2008). Uncle Tony, Three Fools And The Secret Service (2014), about a tussle over animation credits in communist Bulgaria, was the first documentary produced under the Activist 38 banner. It nearly landed the pair in jail and remains banned in the country. In 2016 came The Beast Is Still Alive, about the consequences of communism, which played festivals before airing on Arte. The company broke out internationally with Brexit Britain-set Cat In The Wall, which premiered at Locarno in 2019; their follow-up Women Do Cry premiered in Un Certain Regard in 2021. Last year, Activist 38 joined forces with Spanish producer Rosa Bosch.

Key personnel: Mina Mileva, CEO and producer; Vesela Kazakova, CEO and producer; Rosa Bosch, producer partner.

Incoming: Activist 38 is a minority partner on Spanish filmmaker Avelina Prat’s debut feature Vasil, with Barcelona-based Distant Films. In post, the film stars Ivan Barnev as an idiosyncratic chess player. Mileva and Kazakova are also developing their third feature and eyeing a move into international high-end TV drama.

Vesela Kazakova says: “We want to bring our humorous point of view to perfect satire, remain cutting edge and critical, and work with big budgets on large, high-quality productions involving major players. We’re fed up with being neglected as documentarians or as women.”