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WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS WHEN YOU ARE 18 AND WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS?

A DOCUMENTARY BY VIKTORIA ERSHOVA

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Children of the Silent Revolution follows the lives of a tight-knit group of classmates from Bulgaria over a period of two decades, spanning the transition from communism to democracy in their country.

The film has screened in a number of festivals and audiences across the U.S. and Bulgaria have been moved by its authentic personal look at one of the most significant, world-changing events of the 20th century.

The film is a meditation on youth and the process of growing up. It is a powerful memoir and love letter to [the filmmaker’s] classmates, as well as a compelling historical document about Bulgaria’s recent history.” ~Chris Boeckmann, True/False Documentary Film Festival

SHARE THE FILM WITH YOUR COMMUNITY, STUDENTS OR ORGANIZATION

More than a dozen organizations have screened the film to their communities, providing audiences with an inspiring and thought-provoking experience.

The Children of the Silent Revolution Screening Kit gives organizations, educators and individuals an easy resource for showing the film and leading a discussion about coming of age during a turbulent time, the choice of remaining in one’s country or immigrating, and the history of the transition from communism to capitalism.

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THE SCREENING KIT INCLUDES:

  • DVD Disc – feature length movie, plus bonus features
  • Planning and discussion guide
  • 10 postcards and 3 posters
  • Appropriate license to exhibit the film

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

"As a Business Law and Ethics Professor and former Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Bulgaria for 27 months, I can honestly say that this film encompasses the pure and raw emotion, sentiment and internal conflict that many Bulgarians faced during the tumultuous transition from Communism to Western style capitalism. It approaches issues of a complex and dynamic country through the eyes of ordinary and yet quite extraordinary Bulgarian nationals. Regardless of your familiarity with this small country you will leave the theater with a visceral connection to the citizens who have suffered, persevered and overcome the period following the fall of the Berlin Wall."

~ Chad Chernet, esq.,
Professor, Business Law and Ethics
Rollins College

"A portrait of a generation - gritty and heart touching in equal measure. Children of the Silent Revolution takes us on a deeply personal journey through time, space and memory. A must-see for anyone interested in the politics, societies and culture of post-communist Europe. Buckle up: it's a bumpy ride."

~ Dimitar Bechev
Research Fellow, UNC Chapel Hill & Nonresident Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council, Author of Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe (Yale)

COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES

NONPROFITS & Community Organizations

Public libraries & K12

If you have any questions about the licenses, please see the Licensing FAQ.

Meet the filmmaker

Viktoria

Viktoria Ershova was born and raised in Kazanlak, Bulgaria until she went to the United States at age 18. Children of the Silent Revolution is her debut feature film. Viktoria is based in Los Angeles, but returned to Bulgaria for a year to finish the film.

Viktoria has presented Children of the Silent Revolution in person at numerous events and film festivals. The discussion and Q&A following the screenings are always lively and engaging, including stories of the making of the film, how it affected her life, what she learned and updates on the characters. Learn more about inviting her to present the film at your special event or screening. Contact viktoria@viktoripictures.com.

Testimonials

Dimitar Bechev | Research Fellow, UNC Chapel Hill & Nonresident Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council, Author of Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe (Yale) 

A portrait of a generation - gritty and heart touching in equal measure. Children of the Silent Revolution takes us on a deeply personal journey through time, space and memory. A must-see for anyone interested in the politics, societies and culture of post-communist Europe. Buckle up: it's a bumpy ride.

Chad Chernet, esq. | Professor, Business Law and Ethics, Rollins College

As a Business Law and Ethics Professor and former Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Bulgaria for 27 months, I can honestly say that this film encompasses the pure and raw emotion, sentiment and internal conflict that many Bulgarians faced during the tumultuous transition from Communism to Western style capitalism. It approaches issues of a complex and dynamic country through the eyes of ordinary and yet quite extraordinary Bulgarian nationals. Regardless of your familiarity with this small country you will leave the theater with a visceral connection to the citizens who have suffered, persevered and overcome the period following the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Gordana P. Crnković | Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media, University of Washington, Seattle
Author of Post-Yugoslav Literature and Film: Fires, Foundations, Flourishes

Informative, suspenseful, and deeply moving, Viktoria Ershova’s creative documentary, Children of the Silent Revolution, tells the story of the post-communist transition in Bulgaria through the personal stories of Viktoria and her high school classmates and best friends, all of them followed in the twenty years after their 1995 high school graduation. Viktoria’s camera and friendship stayed with the friends who remained in Bulgaria, like Luki and Tanya, but also travelled abroad with those who left the harsh situation in the country and followed their dreams, ending up in Norway, Dublin, London, New York, Houston—or else American Midwest, like Viktoria, who then moved on to Chicago and finally California. The film gives multiple perspectives on Bulgarian and East European post-communist transition, combining a voice-over commentary providing a useful historical background with the words of Viktoria and her friends who talk about their lives and the private and social realms they have lived in during some twenty years.

Children of the Silent Revolution should be a required viewing in the college and potentially even high school classes on contemporary documentary, auto-biographical, or ethnographic film; in classes on East European film, society, and history; and classes on contemporary migrations and hybrid identities, to mention only a few. Fast-paced and expertly done, the film features some of the most painful episodes of recent Bulgarian history, such as the February 2013 self-immolation of young and charismatic Plamen Goranov and the after-effects of his act, one of the score of self-immolations that shook the country and initiated new waves of change. But the film that brings out tears also provokes much laughter, not least with its inclusion of some hilarious animation, and with the witty and original words of Viktoria’s friends. Including some beautiful and poetic images, Children of the Silent Revolution is a poignant ode to the friendship of a group of teens who did not allow their maturing into the middle age—deeply shaken by the dramatic post-communist transition of their country, and their living far away from each other—to weaken the strongest ties of love and support that bond them together.

Pavlina Yanakieva | Community leader and CEO, Aspire Digital Group

Viktoria Ershova's film Children of the Silent Revolution premiered in San Francisco on 1/11/18, the date Bulgaria took over the Presidency of the European Union Council. I assisted with the organization, marketing and promotion of the film and was pleased of the turnout of more than 300 viewers in two days. Most of the audience were Bulgarian-Americans and other supporters of Bulgarian arts, history and culture. The film was a creative compilation of historical facts and personal journeys, and it was focused on the effects the fall of communism in Bulgaria had on people's lives. Skillfully woven into a compelling narrative, the stories of the characters in the documentary created an emotional connection with the audience and translated into a powerful culmination at the end. Viktoria is a gifted storyteller, whose passion for the arts and dedication to perfection translate into her work, and leave the audiences wanting more every time.

Nadia Jeliazkova | Bulgarian Cultural Center Magura

We are all deeply connected to our roots, regardless of what kind of memories we carry with us. Whether good or bad, sometimes revisiting the past can be an unusual experience. Perhaps a bit bitter sometimes, but somewhat sweet as well. Watching the documentary Children of the Silent Revolution is an enticing experience. Some of the questions and answers might rush through your mind while watching... Do you remember the past? Do you associate yourself with someone from it? Do you miss those days? Do you want to learn more about what happened or someone you knew in another time, another world?

The audiences at the screenings we hosted in Chicago and Arlington Heights connected deeply with all of these questions and were moved by the film to explore the answers for themselves. The events were very emotional and inspiring, including the wonderful Q&A sessions with the filmmaker after the film showings; This documentary will captivate you... it’s a must see!

Thank you Viktoria, for sharing your talent with us!

Vanya Kramer | Bulgarian Cultural Center Magura Associate

I have always liked documentaries that were shot over a long period of time. Children of the Silent Revolution is one of the best examples of how we can try and take a picture of our dreams. In June 2018, there were two screenings in Chicago, organized by the Bulgarian Cultural Center Magura. The auditoriums for both were full and the viewers participated with interest and curiosity in the discussions after the film. Chicago is a unique city, because it is home to the largest Bulgarian community outside of Bulgaria. For me, it was extremely exciting to hear and see the reactions of people from several generations of immigrants who live here. All of them were deeply moved by the authenticity and humanity of Children of the Silent Revolution. The movie prompted us to examine our realized plans and unfulfilled dreams, friendship and distance, the little ways in which we settle and the big compromises we make. Children of the Silent Revolution is a very genuine and deeply human story, which touched many viewers in Chicago. I strongly recommend it.

Kalin Kroumov | Bulgarian Education and Culture Society Pchela

The Bulgarian Education and Culture Society Pchela presented the Los Angeles premiere of Children of the Silent Revolution. I was happy to host this inspiring event. The movie took us on a nostalgic journey back in time. We were reminded of the dreams and hopes of our generation in the last decade of the 20th century, in the exciting and controversial times of changes in the Eastern Bloc.

Seeing the parallels between now and then, here and there is inevitable while watching the film. It brought up questions and opened an interesting discussion during the Q&A with the crew and the director Viktoria Ershova. It will definitely make you think of the challenges the young generation is facing today in the U.S. and those that the young generation back in Bulgaria had to overcome almost three decades ago. Watch it with friends and have a discussion. It will make your experience complete. We truly enjoyed it.

Vessie Kazachka | Bulgarian Education and Culture Society Pchela Associate

I had the pleasure of leading the Q&A with director Viktoria Ershova at the Los Angeles premiere of Children of the Silent Revolution – a personal film that's both a story of a close group of friends and an individual view of recent Bulgarian history. I was pleasantly surprised at how the audience related the stories in the film to their own experiences and reality and created unexpected parallels. The film provoked a lively discussion and generated much food for thought in the viewers.

Ana-Maria Georgieva | Bulgarian Community Organizer, Seattle

Children of the Silent Revolution documents the lives of a group of Bulgarian youth in the 1990s. As one of the participants in the story and someone who left her native country, the filmmaker examines the paths of her friends as a way of finding a deeper meaning for the societal changes that they experienced, raising questions on globalization, nationalism, identity, money, and politics. Because these questions are so universal and ever so pressing today, the audience at the screening in Seattle, which I moderated, felt closely engaged with their own understanding of these topics.

I can strongly affirm that, regardless of our individual stories and relationship to Bulgaria, each of us felt connected to the storyline in a very intimate and profound way. Motivated by the film, many of us left the auditorium with greater inspiration to reflect on the ways we view our relationship to Bulgaria - with Bulgaria "then" and with Bulgaria "now." I strongly recommend this film!

Dessi Dinov | Vasil Levski Foundation

In the documentary Children of the Silent Revolution Viktoria Ershova recounts her experiences and those of her high school classmates. The story begins during the communist regime in Bulgaria, follows through the transitional period, and ends with the present day democratic society. Ershova skillfully depicts the similar emotional challenges of the characters, albeit their newfound personal freedoms as a result of Bulgaria’s transition to democracy. Ershova’s film presents an interesting take on the challenges and new choices many Bulgarians had to face during these drastic societal changes. It provides a captivating personal account of the impact of these changes on the individual and provokes the viewer to consider what he/she would have done if placed in these same circumstances.

Our Bulgarian Foundation Vasil Levski showed Viktoria Ershova’s documentary Children of the Silent Revolution to the community in San Diego. It was a very successful and emotionally stimulating event. The viewers saw their own lives in the stories of the characters and were inspired to reflect on their dreams, friendships, and the changes they have gone through. The comments and questions after the screening created a great dialogue, reflecting the spirit of the film and the meaningful personal and political issues that it raises. I highly recommend this documentary because of the thought- provoking material and the essential message of perseverance in the face of drastic life changing events.

Bridey Phillips | Hohm House Community Organizer

Children of the Silent Revolution is an important and relevant must-see film for any generation. While it's an introspective look into the lives of the filmmaker's schoolmates over the course of two decades, it lends the opportunity for self-reflection in one’s own aspirations. I think about this film often as I make life decisions; contemplating the power of personal desire and the very real confrontation of societal discord.

Hosting the film in our community was an inspiring opportunity. The intimate Q & A afterward brought insightful dialogue and empowering communal-minded connections. Highly recommended as a positive influence towards the individual and community spirit.

Jose Alaniz | Associate Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Washington, Seattle

Among other things, the film marries the personal to the historical very well and very smoothly. The animation sequences make the political complexities of Bulgaria accessible, while the subjects' interviews and exploration of their lives over time give a good sense of the challenges faced by Bulgarians since the collapse of communism. In general I think the film could work well in an academic setting, such as an area studies course on Eastern Europe or a documentary course.

Michele Aoki | International Education Administrator, Seattle Public Schools

Children of the Silent Revolution moved me in ways that I had not expected. You could say I was a child of the “noisy revolution” – the 1960’s. In fact, I was in Bulgaria just days before the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and then traveled through again just days after. The contrast in how we, as Americans, felt in Bulgaria in those two weeks was striking. We had sung American protest songs in Sofia, the capital, about the War in Vietnam when we first came through. But we had no inclination to sing them on the return visit.

The film begins almost thirty years later with young high school graduates in Kazanluk, Bulgaria, in 1995, joyful and eager to pursue their dreams. It traces their lives in the ensuing twenty years as they spread out to countries from Norway to Ireland to the USA, yet, always drawn back to their homeland, Bulgaria. Interwoven are scenes of Bulgaria’s journey from dictatorship to… well, that’s the question, to what? The film does not provide an answer other than perhaps in its title “the silent revolution.” One senses that these (and other) young dreamers have much to say about Bulgaria’s future but have not yet been emboldened to say it.

Children of the Silent Revolution offers American students a look at something different, yet something familiar. Compared to the noisy 1960’s, today’s generation of young Americans is also experiencing a kind of “silent revolution.” Perhaps they will see themselves in these Bulgarian youth. Perhaps they will even unite with them one day for the sake of the future of the earth.

Children of the Silent Revolution provides a unique resource for educators to share with students in courses on contemporary issues, immigration, environment, and political change. We often teach about such topics from a theoretical point of view without showing the connection to young people’s lives. This film makes that connection. Students anywhere in the world could relate to the idealism of the young people in the film and the realities they face as events unfold around them in their homeland and beyond.

Boryana Kanidu | Association for Contemporary Art and Culture Razlichniyat Pogled, Stara Zagora

Children of the Silent Revolution, the documentary by Viktoria Ershova, was received with interest by the audience in Stara Zagora. The screening spurred the curiosity of different viewers, representing various generations from the Transition and before, as well as younger audiences, barely familiar with this period of our history. The open discussion after the screening created a good atmosphere for an intimate and honest meeting with the filmmaker, who is a witness and a social commentator of the “silent revolution” presented in the film. The movie encouraged intentional, creative thought regarding the restrospective story, which is also relevant in the present, thought that puts into perspective and also defines the values of the human experience.

Nadejda Grueva | Director of Regional Library Zahariy Knyajeski, Stara Zagora

One of the first showings of Viktoria’s film was in Stara Zagora in April of 2016. A bashful young woman from Kazanlak stepped through the doors of the Regional Library and asked us to believe her… And she showed us a whole universe of facts from the recent years of the Transition through the prism of the emotions and the sensitivity of the “children of the silent revolution”, of our children, in a film about the times and the mores, the hopes and the faith, which none of us should forget in order to follow the path we have chosen.

Josh Galitsky | Artistic Director, The Sacred Actor

Children of the Silent Revolution is a deeply heartful, sometimes bittersweet and ultimately hopeful narrative about the dreams of youth, the loss of childhood innocence, and the never-ending fight to hold fast to our ideals in a world corrupted by its own desire for power and influence.

I was quite touched and chord struck by this story of friendship amidst the backdrop of the fall of communism, the rise of capitalism (in the guise of democracy) and the undulation of the intimate personal search for lasting happiness and peace amongst the changing times and the changing of the guards.

While shedding a nostalgic glow on her own past and a candid spotlight on her country’s history, filmmaker Viktoria Ershova frankly and often poignantly juxtaposes the fresh, blushing virtue of adolescence with the vividly stark vice of burgeoning regime, a straightforward and pointed comparison of inner individual faith, collective national optimism and greed in its purest forms.

Ershova introduces us modestly and humorously to a cast of characters from her own youth that we quickly become fond of and concerned for. It is by cataloging, in five-year intervals, hers and their personal trials and triumphs (a growing up and into the real world as it were) that Ershova unveils the sadness and tenderness of the passages of time while highlighting the dishonest nature of authority and bureaucracy that envelops each of her dearest inner circle.

In light of a U.S. election that has witnessed the best and worst of us as a people, and has shadowed our distinctive expectations and faith in ribbons of doubt, Children of the Silent Revolution gives us a vital and essential spiritual message delivered with a light hand and a melancholy yet buoyant heart: “If there is hope, it lies in the proles and in the hearts of the child within each of us."