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Costa wins Canadian gay film prize in Chechnya and soon becomes a doctor (Video)

As an 18-year-old, the Bulgarian was the youngest participant in the Vietnamese Dancing Stars

Six minutes, a dance and a few stories – emotional and shocking for gay people in Chechnya to be gay is still considered a crime, this is the documentary about the 24-year-old Bulgarian Costa Karakashian "Waiting for Color". He won the Lumiere Grand Prix at the Ottawa Cinema Festival.

The idea for the film came to him two years ago while he was still studying dance and choreography at Columbia University in New York. "I am also part of the LGBT community. When I learned about the situation in Chechnya, I felt bad about what was happening there. Although there are many international organizations trying to help, there is no adequate answer," says Karakashian. begins to read a lot of journalistic material on the subject. "Everywhere the situation was presented very clean – just like the facts, there was no emotional charge. I told myself that as a dancer and director I wanted to do something that would reach more people, show how sad it was and in some way make them empathetic, ”the artist recalls.

It was a coincidence when he had a lecture course at the university – choreographed a dance to be shot with a camera. He came in contact with other talented artists he knew would be involved in the project for free. To create the choreography in Waiting for Color, he is inspired by

real interviews of

people who were

tortured in Chechnya

They are received by the Russian LGBT organization. "It was these, I think, there were 37 anonymous interviews. I did a collective picture of them. It has stories for both men and women," explains Karakashian. He then meets the crew to shoot the short film in an abandoned warehouse in Brooklyn.

The dancer is originally from Plovdiv, and although he has been practicing sports for 5 years, he initially planned to study medicine. "However, as an 18-year-old, I was hoping for the opportunity to go to Vietnam and participate in their Dancing Stars as a dancer and choreographer," Karakashian said. The show already has seven seasons and all dancers are mostly Bulgarian. One of them – Daniel Denev, invites young Costa to join season five.

"I was the youngest in

the show and yours

I said I could

I'm doing this


I saw how many people can go out and dance and profit from it. I changed my specialty at university. Gradually, I focused more on film directing, so that the dance we do can reach more people, "Karakashian said.

His parents always supported his artistic ideas. Nor do they betray him when he refuses to study medicine, even though his mother, his father, his two aunts and grandmothers are doctors. "They were very happy that someone would continue the tradition, but when I eventually decided to dance, they again absolutely bumped me. In January, when we presented" Waiting for Color "in Bulgaria with the" Single Steps "Foundation, my parents came to the event, it was called "Where Are We: LGBT Community in Chechnya, Bulgaria and Western Europe", says Karakashian.

The documentary's name is chosen because of the symbolism of the different colors of the LGBT society and their flag (it contains the colors of the rainbow, each color has its own meaning – BA). "The situation in Chechnya is still doomed. All activist groups and international organizations have simply focused on evacuating people and helping them to settle elsewhere, for example in the Netherlands, Germany or Canada, rather than trying to make a radical change there. I think that through positive examples it can be so. In fact, throughout the film I did a master's degree in human rights in Italy, with which I want to explore how positive examples of LGBT society, which is reflected in the media, can gradually make countries more tolerant and empathetic, says the dancer.

"There is now a huge campaign of misinformation in Bulgaria by people and politicians who are simply trying to give some fear, whether it comes from migrants, whether it comes from the gay community or from any other group. Just to create a sense of fear so that others can be more easily manipulated, says the dancer, adding: "To have more tolerance, people have to see that there is a difference around them and that

their difference is not

something scary and gone

reason to sue

for him

In Bulgaria, there is also no positive example from the LGBT community – we do not have singers or actors who openly say that they are not heterosexual, and that can show that there is nothing wrong with the difference, ”Karakashian said.

He is preparing a new movie called "A Look From the Edge". He has collaborated with choreographer and filmmaker Stephanie Handziska. "The idea came while we were in Egypt. We did some dance videos on the streets. We told ourselves, 'Wouldn't it be very cool in Bulgaria to make a dance movie that would show how diverse our nature and society are,'" the artist recalls. The two write a project for the National Culture Fund, which funds it. "Composer, cameraman and editor of Waiting for Color, my classmates at Columbia University, came to Bulgaria specifically for the new project," says Karakashian.

"A Look From The Edge" is a short film that tells the story of 6 people looking for their place and themselves. "We see these characters constantly jumping from one place to another. What drives them is always an emotional moment," explains the artist. The film was shot at 12 cultural and historical sites in Bulgaria.

"After the end of post-production, after the New Year, we have developed a very ambitious program for applying for festivals. We hope to have an international premiere, after which we will return it to Bulgaria in the fall," says Karakashian.

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