Private Project

Fictional Biographies

‘Fictional Biographies’ is the title of Albena Mihaylova’s monumental four-channel video installation, which presents a general view of the personal, and of life as part of the cyclicality of nature. The artist chooses an archetype for each of the four videos, featuring Monika, Najla, Junghae, and Albena herself. The ward ‘f ictional’ stops us f rom expecting any sort of depiction of the life sequence of these four mature warnen. And yet, these are biographies. Albena Mihaylova creates an exceptional f ilmic essay that moves between f iction and abstraction, reality and dream, analysis and vision, the individual and the collective. The result is a new approach to the genre of cinematographic autobiography.

  • Albena Mihaylova
  • Albena Mihaylova
  • AM Contemporary
  • Najla Osseiran
    Key Cast
  • Monika & Larissa Romenski
    Monika & Larissa
  • Junghae Lee
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 27, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 CHF
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Bulgaria, Greece, Switzerland
  • Language:
    Bulgarian, English
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Solo Exhibition Fictional Biographies
    October 3, 2019
    October 3, 2019
  • Contemporary Art Museum Sofia Arsenal
    November 17, 2019
    October 3, 2019
Distribution Information
  • AM contemporary
    Country: Switzerland
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Albena Mihaylova

CV Albena Mihaylova-Bendji

Born 9. June 1959, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Works in Switzerland since 1994.

Atelier Genossenschaft Grenze
Elsässerstrasse 248
CH–4056 Basel
0041 79 672 32 56

Art education:
1974–1978 High Art school, Kazanlak, Bulgaria
1978–1984 Master of Art, Academy of Fine Arts Sofia, Bulgaria

Post graduation Video Art and Documentary:
2008–2016 EDN, MEDIA and Focal Programs
2006–2008 Art pedagogy, Academy of Fine Arts Sofia, Bulgaria
1995–1998 Master class Video Art, Audiovisuelle Gestaltung (SfG) Basel, Switzerland
1995–1997 Audio design, Elektronisches Studio, Music Academe Basel, Switzerland

1995–1998 MIGROS Genossenschaft Zürich, Studium Video Art, Basel, Switzerland
1995 Soros Art Center Sofia, Studium Video Art, Basel, Switzerland
1994 Stiftung BINZ 39, Zürich, Residence program, Zürich, Switzerland
1988 Rösler’s, Residence program, Leipzig, DDR

2018 First Award for the Best International Documentary,
Aegean Documentary Film Festival, Greece
2015 Integrationspreis Basel, Gruppenaufzeichnung für das Projekt Cinema Querfeld Film Festival, Basel, Switzerland
2013 Golden Funnel Award, Project development East European Doc Platform, Prag, Czech Republic
2008 Nomination Contemporary Art Award, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
1992 Unesco Young Artist Award
1991 Kaymak Art, Sofia, Bulgaria
1991 International Grafik Biennial Varna, Bulgaria

DISTANCIA, documentary, 75 min, 2016
Premiere: Sofia International Film Festival, 2017
Czech Culture Center Berlin, 2018
Czech Center, Sofia, 2018
Czech-Slowakei Culture Club Sofia, 2018
GoatMilk Festival, Bela Recka, Bulgarien, 2018
Cinema Querfeld Festival, Basel, 2017
Cinema Brot Fabrik, Berlin, 2017
Bulgarian Culture Center Berlin, 2017
Bulldog Film Festival, Berlin, 2017
Cinema Andromeda, Zürich, 2016
Cult Cinema Atelier, Basel, 2016
House of the Cinema, Plovdiv, 2016
Vision du Real Film Festival, Videothek, 2016
First Award for the best International documentary, Aegean Documentary Film Festival, 2018
Golden Fusel Award for the best developed film, European Doc Plattform, Prague, 2013

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The distant attracts me. Be it glaciers or the expanse of the sea
– I am interested in the boundless. I embarked on a trip to the
desert, to one of the southernmost points of the Sahara, on the
border of Morocco with Algeria. No electricity or running water, no
communications. I wanted to feel what it was like to survive on your
own, when your gaze meets the horizon in the middle of the sandy
This experience was part of my process of creating the complex
video installation, ‘Fictional Biographies’. I was looking for answers
to many existential and aesthetic issues: Could I capture the
presence of the big whole with a small video camera? How much
intervention with the body does a desert landscape allow? What
movements are possible? Is a fusion of body and landscape
possible? And, what about a fusion of the instrument, i.e., the video
camera, and the body and landscape? Can the desert be heard
during the day? Can the falling stars be heard at night? Can the
embers of the fire be kept going, and how, with what? How can you
survive in such a landscape when you are foreign, an alien?
The chosen point of view as artist and observer from different
perspectives evokes the perception that each of us can be in the
place of the selected participants in the experiment. The title of
the video installation literally conveys my idea.