The Cinema, One Hundred Years of Youth project, thanks to the French National Cinematheque (Cinematheque Française), enables students from 7 to 18 years to experience the experience of creating a short film, to gain valuable experience, and also to get acquainted with the projects of their peers from different countries, as well as to exchange experiences. The Bulgarian participation this year is realized with the partnership of "Meetings of the Young European Cinema".


The Paris international meeting in June will host 45 groups from 15 countries around the world to present their projects on a common, pre-set theme. What will be the highlights this year and what are the talented children who will present their project, will be told by Daniel Simeonov - Head of Travel Group.


Daniel graduates in film directing, but instead of staying in the capital or seeking a job abroad, he decides to move to live in the village of Uglen (Lovech District), where there are more children in need of quality education. In 2016, she applied to the Together in a Hour program and began teaching English at the Neofit Rilski Primary School, Dermantsi village, where she successfully runs a theater club with students from different classes. Here is what he shares about the project.

For the second consecutive year, students from Bulgaria will participate in the international cinema program, One Hundred Years of Youth. Who are they? Tell us about them!

The students are aged 11 to 14. They are all from Neofit Rilski Primary School in the village of Dermantsi. They are very emotional, colorful, different and difficult to describe. Dermantsi is a pretty and small village, but on the other hand the dreams of our filmmakers are big. And because the seventh art connects all times, manners and people, they sincerely believe that there is something to show to this great crazy world.

What is the topic that students will be working on this year?

The theme of this year's edition of the project is "Places and Stories" - the place that brings them together and is a generator of many of the stories they want to tell the world is our school. Many of our film exercises are on this topic.

What motivates students to participate in the project and how do they handle the tasks?

The world we live in sometimes calls for a new perspective and revisions to the teaching and teaching methods and stereotypes that our teaching community has perceived over the years as working and useful. Informal strategies for integrating and involving students fully in the educational process are directly linked to students' motivations. Children love to express themselves, to find an outlet for their fears and emotions. Cinema offers a huge set of tools and messages to address these needs.


It is an endless journey and is a frontrunner with so many cultures and points of view. My students love to discover new worlds. Interestingly, out of all the cinema tasks they have hitherto, they are most excited about the common projects rather than the individual projects. There are constantly stories and stories to be shot. Even sometimes their enthusiasm is unbearable. From now on, we are eager to shoot the short film to be presented in Paris.

In the village of Dermantsi you run a theater club. What is the advantage of theater in education over other arts?

I graduated in film directing before becoming a teacher, and by going to teaching the countryside by default, it was realized that if both are arts and there is an acting role, they are almost not the same thing, which is not quite the case. Their means of expression are quite different. I don't know much about theater and had to study with the students on the go. At the end of last school year, our Diamanti Theater Club presented to the public the fun and innovative version of Romeo and Juliet - Ivancho and Mariyka. A lot of rehearsals and work fell.


The theater school helped students develop their emotional intelligence. Throughout the stage work, discussions on texts and role-playing games make children aware of themselves and their boundaries. This is very useful for them, because they realize that these activities have a very clear end goal - "performance". And they are motivated to walk toward it - something that is sometimes difficult to achieve in the classroom. The ratings are not as motivating as the applause and the energy coming from the audience.

Poland, Italy, Germany, Sweden had their reformers in pedagogy. Do you think that Bulgaria also needs its own?

I do not know about reformers, but reform is certainly needed. There is an urgent need to revise some bureaucratic misconceptions. I personally do not believe in taking a model and applying it directly just because it is successful somewhere or because it meets some high foreign and non-authentic criteria for us. On the other hand, I believe that there are strategies and practices that can be adapted to our context and may be implemented appropriately. However, it takes courage and determination, and our education cannot yet be rid of its simultaneous scholasticism.

What does Bulgarian education need today?

Bulgarian education must be adequate for the needs of the children! More attention should be paid to quality rather than the quantity of tests and analyzes performed. I do not believe in scrupulous measurements of knowledge, skills and attitudes, not because I am skeptical of reporting tools, but because there is simply no perfect benchmark. Bulgarian education needs a clear and specific vision and strategy, because it currently fails to meet not only the needs of our specific context, but also to deliver the knowledge and skills of the 21 century, without which the future life realization of students will not be guaranteed.

What places Bulgarian students will study and what unread more stories they will come across to tell us, through the expressive means of cinema, we expect to find out. Because every place has a story that can be read in thousands of different ways, and imagination is the main driving force that turns a single stone into a podium or place of worship. As long as we invent it and turn it into one. Sometimes a school keeps a lot more hidden subjects than we imagine, and children are the best discoverers of the different, unnoticed so far.

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