Artist Spotlight: Tanya Kostadinova

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Allow us to introduce another Barclay Award winner, London filmmaker Tanya Kostadinova, who took top honors last December with her Unofficial Video for Boney M's "Daddy Cool."

Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live? Present occupation? Goals and ambitions?

I have just recently graduated from Richmond, The American International University in London (as a) Film Studies major.   

How did you first connect with film and video as a medium?

The first time I truly connected with film was in my 6th form when I ended up taking a Film Studies class because not much else was available. Even though I took it just fill in my timetable the class ended up being life changing. 

Did you have the song "Daddy Cool" in your mind when filming, or did it suggest itself later on?

I started of looking for a 1970s Disco song and was drawn to Boney M immediately. I was considering "Ma Baker" and "Sunny" as well, but ended up with "Daddy Cool" as I felt it would go best with what I had in mind. 

Did you storyboard or just wing it? Is there a narrative here?

Half of it was planned and the other half was winging it. I started out with a clear idea in mind of what I wanted to achieve, however, halfway through filming I had to find another actress and at that point I was just winging it and hoping for the best. 

The flow and edit is fantastic. What's your gear set-up, camera, editing software, etc?

I used a Nikon camera with wide-angle lens and a fish eye to give it a psychedelic feeling and used a monopod throughout. For editing I used FinalCut Pro and played around until it all felt right.

Even though looking back there are a couple of things I would change or re-do, I don't want to go down that path so when I finish something, even if it's not perfect, I would rather just move on. 

Are you already professionally employed in the field? Part-time? Hobby?

So far, I have been mainly focused on my studies and doing a bit of freelance on the side, but all of that was before we went into a global pandemic, of course. 

What are you working on at present? Has the pandemic stifled or invigorated your creativity?

Lockdown has definitely heightened my creativity as I feel that I'm able to focus much easier on my ideas and express myself in variety of forms. I have been working on expanding my Photography portfolio as well as having recently started writing poetry.   

Can you discuss a few artists or influences that helped to shape your aesthetic?

Growing up I was mainly exposed to mainstream blockbuster movies which never really intrigued me that much. Didn't think anything bad of them but didn't think anything great either. They were just there.

It wasn't until 6th form when I discovered a variety of other directors, genres and stories that I was really fascinated by. I am a huge fan of the film noir genre and aesthetically it inspired me for the "Daddy Cool" video. 

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