1st Bulgarian Female Movie Director Dies at 88

Society » OBITUARIES | July 31, 2011, Sunday // 14:18
1st Bulgarian Female Movie Director Dies at 88: 1st Bulgarian Female Movie Director Dies at 88 Binka Zhelyazkova. Photo by 24 Chassa daily

Bulgaria's first female movie director and one of the country's most prominent filmmakers, Binka Zhelyazkova, has passed away Sunday at the age of 88.

Zhelyazkova was born on July 15, 1923, in the southern border town of Svilengrad. At the end of the 50s of the 20th century she was one of the very few women in the world making motion pictures.

She has directed seven such pictures, most in collaboration with her husband, screen and play writer, Hristo Ganev – "Life Is Running Quietly" (1957), "And We Were Young" (1961), "The Tied Balloon" (1967), "Last Word" (1974), "The Pool" (1977), "The Big Night Swim" (1982) "Front Side and Inside Out" (1982), "Lullaby" (1982)  – the last two have never been shown, "Nighttime on the Roofs" (1988). She has also directed two documentaries.

The movies have received numerous awards at festivals in Moscow, Cannes, Montreal, Brussels, Berlin, Cartagena, Karlovi Vari, and at local festivals all while the Communist censorship stopped four of them – "Life Is Running Quietly," for example, was shown for the first time in 1988 as was "The Tied Balloon."

In 2007, Zhelyazkova and Ganev were bestowed with the award for extraordinary contributions to the Bulgarian cinema and culture, but the director was already suffering from Alzheimer and could not attend the ceremony.

Their daughter, Svetla Ganeva, is one of the very few female camera people in Bulgaria and is married to the renowned Bulgarian director and cartoonist, Anri Kulev.

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Tags: Bulgarian, female, movie director, Hristo Ganev, awards, festivals, motion pictures, Alzheimer, Binka Zhelyazkova
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