Vitosha has its own life. It is Noah’s Ark, really..., say the people who live close to the oldest nature park on the Balkan Peninsula, the craddle of Bulgarian tourism. The gorgeous silhouette of the Vitosha Mountain is inseparable from the image of expanding capital Sofia, to which it is dangerously close. Lyubomir Mladenov portrays Vitosha as a crucial element in the lives of many people – such as the park’s executive director, the chairman of the Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism and a number of alpinists and environmentalists – who decide to come together when the park is threatened by new development schemes backed by secret arrangements between oligarchs and politicians. In the post-socialist countries of the region, nature conservation is often regarded as an obstacle holding back development and marketization. New, often ruthless developers tend to take advantage of the relative lack of environmental regulations of the former socialist countries in the region and the limited public awareness of environmental concerns. Vitosha captures a crucial moment of awakening of the civil society in Bulgaria. The exceptional, lush cinematography only adds weight to the film’s argument for preserving the park for the benefit of future generations. You will surely notice aspects that will remind you of Romanian contexts and conflicts – yet another proof that we are not alone neither regarding our achievements nor our drawbacks as a civil society.
AWARDS AND FESTIVALS
2013 - Sofia International Film Festival, Bulgaria