Impressions of hard reality...
Whether as a patient or as an accompanying person, Ilian Metev has already visited a number of Bulgarian hospitals. In addition to the buildings and the medical equipment, the entire health care system in Bulgaria has been left to decline and decay. Using the example of the remaining ambulances whose number has dropped from 140 to 13 in the last 20 years, Ilian Metev documents hard reality in the EU's poorest country in his film "Sofia's Last Ambulance". "If you have a heart attack in Sofia, you might have to wait up to five hours for an ambulance," reports Metev.
... and humanity
The focus of the documentary is, however, on the people who are not prepared to join the general prevailing corruption and who are willing to selflessly fight for humane and good medical care despite chaotic circumstances. Krassi Yordanov is one of these people who represent a genuine exception. The doctor in the small emergency team, which Ilian Metev followed, has two other jobs to support himself in addition to his night shifts in the ambulance. "Meeting people like him inspired me to make this film," says Metev. The focus of the film is neither on sensationalism nor on the accident victims and patients but on the emergency response personnel who give their all to save lives day and night despite insufficient resources and very poor pay.
Optimal weight and fast handling
In the ambulance, the cameras which documented the drive to calls and the work afterwards were securely installed. Outside of the ambulance, one mobile hand-operated camera followed the team. Capturing the faces, eyes, and gestures of the emergency team played an important role in profiling the personalities. For example, the Sachtler tripod system was used in key scenes outside the ambulance, where precision was required. It also enabled even and smooth panning when taking landscape footage to capture the atmosphere of the city. "The tripod system has exactly the right weight. It is not too light and not too heavy, and the set-up, in particular, is lightening-fast. This was especially important because every second counted for the doctors as well as for our film team," explains Metev.
Dependability and precision
Shooting was done during every season. For this reason, the equipment was put to the test when filming outdoors in a variety of weather conditions. "The tripod and the fluid head easily resisted snow and cold as well as rain or heat in summer. The Sachtler equipment consistently worked precisely and dependably," says Metev. "The combination of robust construction and high technical quality have completely won me over. The professional equipment as well as the protagonists' unwavering humor and tremendous confidence despite all of the adverse conditions helped make filming a lot of fun."
At the moment, "Sofia's Last Ambulance" is in post-production and will be submitted to renowned international film festivals such as the Sundance festival and festivals in Toronto, Berlin, Venice, and Amsterdam. In addition, the film team would like to make the documentary accessible to a broader audience and will distribute it to channels that broadcast international documentaries, among them ARTE, WDR and VPRO.
, follow the company on Twitter or contact Sachtler directly +49 89 32158 200, firstname.lastname@example.org