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ANTON HRISTOV: “Sofia Underground: Pandemic Edition captures pure gold”

With Tony – soul-man and multi-kulti-talent, we talk about the success of his film, the Berlin underground and the artistic challenges facing the free souls.

Interview with Alexandra Terziyska

Hello, Tony! In what role do I find you today?
– I’m a secretary at the moment, sorting through paperwork and answering emails. Boredom, but there are days like that.

Your latest artistic project is the film Sofia Underground: Pandemic Edition. How is a film made during a pandemic, how were you able to fund it? What was your inspiration?
– The pandemic and the following “house arrest” affected everyone differently. All my gigs were cancelled, I was able to “float” for several months. A two-week break is okay, but I can’t do more than that. I had to do something. I started looking for options what else could I do. That’s how the idea came to me – some time ago I had made similar documentaries, I decided to further develop my concept and hop! – Sofia Underground: Pandemic Edition was born.I applied for the Creative Initiatives program of National Culture Fund and received funding for the implementation of this project, I am grateful. The topic that I focus on in the film is also close to my heart – the Bulgarian underground artist and his struggle to survive in such an unprecedented situation. The concert industry which we are all part of, is one of the most affected ones. I wanted to do something about it, to make sure that everyone on and off the stage was heard.

Was it difficult to choose the bands?
– The audience was in charge. I had organized a democratic vote, nowadays this topic is especially relevant! Haha. This was not that easy, as there were manipulations attempts – that’s why I later made voting possible only with a Facebook account.

What were the obstacles on the way? Were there any unexpected twists?
– The result of the voting was unexpected for me. Quite solid bands failed to awaken their fan base, at the expense of younger bands, which obviously did not lack enthusiasm. Life is a lesson and everyone draws their own conclusions. The challenge was to interview some people that I haven’t met before. It turned out interesting and fun. Some moments are pure gold! Haha. I’m so happy as it turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

If the film had a sequel, how would it be titled and what story would it tell?
– This project will certainly have a elongation, the film is a compilation of over 13 hours of video recordings. I plan to upload the full musical performances and interviews soon.Some time ago I made a film about the underground scene in Plovdiv. This movie is still in my digital drawer as I couldn’t release it due to a few spicy moments in it. But I think it’s safe now and if I find the time I’ll put it together. Interestingly, some of the bands no longer exist or look very different. But I guess this will contribute to the extra boutiqueness points! Haha.

You live in the capital of Germany. How are the German underground musicians doing? What is “underground” in a metropolis like Berlin?
– I have not yet researched the topic of German underground musicians. I have to interview them too! In Berlin, of course, there is an underground scene, but it is not the same as in Sofia. In Berlin, everything is more segmented, more specialized, for example, a punk club will only play punk, the staff would be a bunch of volunteers and everything in this place will scream with its essence: “We we deny capitalism! ” There is a brutal conceptuality. And in Berlin, if you search, you can find everything – every style is covered. That’s why I love this city!

Watch “Sofia Underground: Pandemic Edition” here:

Sofia Underground: Pandemic Edition - The Film

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