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Rafie Drencheva ’14 – “I feel very blessed and lucky that I get to do something I love”

Rafie Drencheva (AUBG Class of ’14) was among the featured filmmakers in the recent AUBG International Student Film Festival. Her film, Particles, was made during her first year of study for an MFA in documentary film at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., just north of Chicago.

Particles is a short piece about a creative stained glass maker in Chicago and it was chosen to be featured along with 37 other short films from AUBG, Southwest University in Blagoevgrad, and several universities from the U.S. and UK.

We asked Rafie to share her thoughts on having her film selected and about her life as a graduate student in the United States.

What went through your mind when you first learned that your film would be shown in this festival?

I was really excited about it. I was so proud of AUBG and the Documentary club for organizing it. I told all of my AUBG friends to go and see the film. In a way, I felt like I was back at AUBG that day. I got so many messages from friends telling me what they think about the film and thanks to that we got to reconnect. I hope the festival will become a tradition.

How have you changed as a filmmaker from, say, your capstone project to your first year at Northwestern?

I think I have grown a lot as a filmmaker since I moved here. I am a lot more confident using different equipment and I do not hate editing anymore; in fact I love it. Another big change is the realization that I cannot just rely on my instincts if I want to grow as an artist. It is important to be able to articulate why you are making certain choices and what is the reasoning behind it. Once you start to think about the intellectual side of the craft, of the details like colors, lines, angles then the magic is born. 

Biggest contrasts and life changes from Bulgaria to the Chicago area?

I honestly think that the changes come from being a graduate student, not from moving here. Being a grad student is twice the work of being an undergrad and only half of the fun. No, I’m just kidding, it is none of the fun. You are no longer just a consumer of knowledge, you are also expected to be a creator of knowledge. And Chicago’s winter is definitely not helping (haha). Jokes aside, the opportunity to learn more than you ever dreamed possible in an area you love is the best thing in the world. I feel very blessed and lucky that I get to do something I love.

Interview by Mark Wollemann

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