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VIFF 2016 Interview: BLIND VAYSHA director Theodore Ushev

by Jason Whyte

"Imagine a girl who was born with a left eye that can only see the past and a right eye that can only see the future. This is a "What if?" story for kids between the ages of 9 and 99." Director Theodore Ushev on BLIND VAYSHA which screens at the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival.

I am thrilled to welcome you to VIFF this year. Is this your first VIFF experience and will you be in Vancouver to attend your screenings?

VIFF have been good to select all my films before and I'm really happy being able to show my films in Vancouver. Paradoxically, I have never been in Vancouver! But for me, the most important is that my films have been shown there. My films...that's me.

Tell me a bit about yourself and your background as a filmmaker?

I'm not sure who I am, honestly. A famous Bulgarian poster artist and graphic designer turned Canadian animator now making his first live-action film. I am mostly an immigrant in Montreal. I am an emigrant from my childhood.

How did this movie come together from your perspective?

It started with a short story by Bulgarian writer Georgi Gospodinov. The script and the development of the film continued at Fontevraud Abbey in France. It was heavily influenced by that place, the medieval art and the old manuscripts. And after that, it was developed using digital technologies. Like my heroine, I melted together past and future so that I could find the essence. The message. And it is: live now!

While you are working on a movie, what keeps you going? What drives you, creatively?

What keeps me going? We are all animals. All we need is Food, Success, and a Woman. That's what drives me. "Creative" is a dirty word. My problem is how to be less creative. Otherwise, I'll be making 10 films a year, and this bad.

What was your biggest challenge with this project, and how did you overcome it?

To find the right voiceover. But here, my producer Marc Bertrand came up with the brilliant idea of asking Caroline Dhavernas. And she is the perfect Vaysha!

If you had to pick a single favourite moment out of the entire production, what would it be?

My single favourite moment was the entire production. I knew that the film would be OK from the beginning.

For the aspiring filmmakers who read our site, I would love to know about the technical side of the film and how you got the look of the film.

It is an animation. I used different tricks to make it as much as possible an analogue work, though I used every available digital technology to achieve this feeling of ancient linocut graphic prints.

Where is this movie going to show next?

Up next are many festivals, a US tour with the film, also a limited theatrical release in Montreal, and VOD. If I could, I would screen my films everywhere and for free! That's what the cinema should be!

If you could show your movie in any theater in the world, which one would you choose and why?

I would show it in Times Square. Or screen it on the moon. A screening in Syria at an ISIS military camp might be an option too!

What would you say or do to someone who is talking, texting or being overall disruptive during a screening of your film?

Say? I would take their phone and throw it on the floor.

There are many aspiring filmmakers reading us for our articles and reviews on If you could offer a nugget of advice to them on how to get their start, what would you say to them?

Make a film. Period.

And finally, what is the best movie you have ever seen at a film festival, and why?

I remember when I was on a jury once. The film that I was watching was extremely boring and predictable. I fell asleep and I dreamed a story and it was the best film I have ever seen! When I woke up, it was the best feeling I have ever had. We gave the film that made me fall asleep the Grand Prize. That was for me the best film. Of course, I don't remember the name of the film, and I don't remember what it was about either.

This is one of the many films screening at the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival taking place in beautiful Vancouver from September 29th to October 14th. For more information on this film screening times, point your browser to

Jason Whyte,
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jason.whyte

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originally posted: 10/07/16 03:41:44
last updated: 10/07/16 03:46:26
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