The fact that certain cultures see some professions as king and count others as unworthy ‘hobbies’ should come as no surprise, but for many kids growing up in cultures where their personal dreams are seen as unacceptable, this can have a debilitating affect on their ability to confidently pursue the path they desire. We see it everyday through stereotypes, such as those of Asian and Indian descent being pushed into careers in tech and computer engineering, or others that push their youth to become doctors or lawyers. While satisfying one’s parents and conforming to cultural expectations can be heavily weighted, sometimes the inner pull of what one feels is their destiny is strong enough to defy the expectations– even if it takes a while to develop the courage to defy the standard.
Esteemed Bulgarian film producer Assya Dimova is a prime example of one woman who was expected to pursue a path other than the one she felt she was personally meant for; but after making the definitive choice to devote herself to working as a film producer, everything seemed to fall into place naturally. Dimova, who recently produced the films “Stygian” and “Our Blood is Wine,” has secured a strong place for herself in the film industry on an international level; but it didn’t happen overnight.
During her youth growing up in Sofia, Bulgaria Dimova had an unwavering love for visual storytelling and a special knack for bringing creative talents together to realize a single vision. She recalls, “At the time, back home, the arts were not a traditional career path, especially for a girl. So I did the next best thing, I moved to Italy and enlisted in business school while actively building a taste for emerging talent,” adding however, that “the fascination with the magic of visual storytelling was just not going away, and I desperately wanted to one day be a part of bringing all those talents together.”
While in Italy, Dimova attained her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and her Master of Science in Economics and Management of Innovation and Technology, and even though she hadn’t made the leap into the film world just yet, in a way she was already working as a producer. She began utilizing her natural ability for recognize creative talents and bringing them together
She explains, “I’ve always had the tendency to bring a group of friends together and lovingly push them to show off their talents in plays and short films. The first bigger endeavor was probably while I was living in Italy and with a small group of friends decided to create a series of concerts, cultural nights of sorts, where we presented Bulgaria to a diverse audience. We handled every aspect, from all the logistics, to involving talent, getting sponsorships, working with local media.”
By the time she was 25 Assya Dimova came to the firm realization that there was no other satisfying path for her, so instead of sticking it out in a career that didn’t utilize her natural gifts, she whole-heartedly dedicated herself to her passion– producing. Dimova relocated to the states soon after where she completed her Master of Arts in Creative Producing for Film and Television at Columbia College.
“As a producer my goal has always been to find and cultivate relationships with inspirational filmmakers who have an individual voice,” explains Dimova. And the work she’s done in the industry prove that she knows how to discover strong and innovative filmmakers with powerful stories to tell, and she’s the right producer to bring their tales to the screen.
In 2015 Assya Dimova began production on Josh Garvin’s (“Daisy,” “Uncle Evan”) dramatic western “Stygian,” a silent film that follows an old gunslinger on a perilous trek across a barren desert. The climax of the film commences when the gunslinger falls from his horse and incurs a fatal injury that leaves him suffering from dehydration and a vicious infection on the desert floor where he is left to ponder his past mistakes.
As both the producer and the line producer on the film, Dimova did everything from raising funds and managing the film’s budget, to solidifying the shooting locations in New Mexico, pulling together the right people to head each department and also managing the day to day progress of the production.
About what led her to produce “Stygian,” Dimova explains, “On one hand, there was the creative aspect. The central themes of sin, guilt and atonement make for a powerful and thought-provoking story. Josh Garvin’s vision was nuanced and passionate and it was a no brainer decision.”
Being chosen as an Official Selection of the Wild Bunch Film Festival, Globe International Silent Film Festival, New Filmmakers Los Angeles, Santa Fe Independent Film Festival and the Grand OFF World Independent Film Awards, the overwhelming acceptance “Stygian” received from film festivals around the world make it clear that Dimova chose the right story to the bring to the screen.
Besides her ability to ensure the productions she chooses are completed in time and on budget whilst remaining to true to the director’s creative vision, one of the unique strengths that Dimova brings to the table as a producer is the ease with which she is able to navigate cross-cultural film productions. A polyglot, Dimova is fluent in German, English, Bulgarian and Italian, and as someone who’s lived and worked in multiple countries over the course of her life she understands how the filmmaking process differs vastly between countries. This skill proved to be incredibly valuable in her work as the line producer on Emily Railsback’s (“The 6th Stage of Sugar,” “WarBaby”) documentary feature “Our Blood Is Wine,” which was shot in the country of Georgia earlier this year and is slated for release in 2018.
With several films and television series under her belt as a producer, and a seasoned eye for creative talent, Dimova’s experience in the industry has also led her to be tapped as a curator for film festivals around the world. Some of the festivals she’s curated over the years include the Netherland’s 2016 Leiden International Film Festival, as well as the 2016 and 2017 Beloit International Film Festival in Wisconsin, and the 2016 and 2017 Hollywood Film Festival. As a film festival curator Dimova plays a key role in the screening and voting process that determines what feature and short form narrative and documentary films will be included in each festival, in addition to be involved in discussing the festivals proposed programming.
“As a producer, one must have a wide range of taste and ability to spot up-and-coming talent. With my international experience and background, I am able to critique submissions for both their production and creative value,” explains Dimova. “As in my personal producing career, I always go for story first and how captivating, original and authentic it is. I always look for something fresh that surprises me.”
In the end, producer Assya Dimova’s success in the film industry is proof that societal and cultural expectations sometimes have to be defied in order for one’s dreams to become fully realized.