Uncle Tony, Three Fools and the Secret Service

Documentary that has attracted outrage in its home country for revealing the power-play and intrigue underlying Bulgaria’s animation history.

  • Mina Mileva
    Christmas Carol The Movie
  • Vesela Kazakova
    Because of Her
  • Mina Mileva
  • Vesela Kazakova
  • Mina Mileva
    Because of Mum
  • Vesela Kazakova
    Because of Mum
  • Plamen Gelinov
  • Vasilena Goranova
  • Vesela Kazakova
  • Emilian Gatsov
  • Donka Ivanova
  • Alexander Simeonov
    Sound mix
  • Mina Mileva
    Animation and compositing
  • Antony Trayanov
    With the special participation of:
  • Mina Mileva
    With the special participation of:
  • Georg Yordanov
    In the role of the young Antony:
  • Mina Mileva
  • Bulgarian National Film Centre (for development)
    The film is supported by:
  • Bulgarian National Television (with archive)
    Co-produced by:
    Co-produced by:
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Чичо Тони, Тримата глупаци и ДС
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 27 minutes 11 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 1, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    52,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Bulgaria, United Kingdom
  • Language:
    Bulgarian, English
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 20th Sarajevo Film Festival
    Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
    August 19, 2014
    International Premiere
    Nomination for Best Documentary
  • 18th Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries
    Riga, Latvia
    September 3, 2014
    Latvian Premiere
  • 6th Astra Film Festival
    Sibiu, Romania
    October 8, 2014
    Romanian Premiere
    Nomination for Best Documentary
  • 43th Festival du Nouveau Cinéma
    Montreal, Canada
    October 10, 2014
    Canadian Premiere
  • 30th Warsaw Film Festival
    Warsaw, Poland
    October 12, 2014
    East European Premiere
    Nomination for Best Documentary
  • 36th Cairo International Film Festival
    Cairo, Egypt
    November 17, 2014
    African Premiere
  • 27th European Union Film Showcase – American Film Institute
    Washington D.C., United States
    December 17, 2014
    USA Premiere
  • 26th Trieste Film Festival
    Trieste, Italy
    January 20, 2015
    Italian Premiere
  • 6th Berlin Independent Film Festival
    Berlin, Germany
    February 9, 2015
    German Premiere
    Best Director
  • 11th ZagrebDox International Documentary Film Festival
    Zagreb, Croatia
    February 23, 2015
    Croatian Premiere
  • 7th Millenium International Documentary Film Festival
    Brussesls, Belgium
    March 24, 2015
    Belgium premiere
  • 9th Flatpack Film Festival
    Birmingham, United Kingdom
    March 28, 2015
    UK Premiere
  • 20th Vilnius International Film Festival
    Vilnius, Lithuania
    April 1, 2015
    Lithuanian Premiere
  • 9th Canada International Film Festival
    Vancouver, Canada
    April 12, 2015
    Royal Reel Award
  • 9th Mexico International Film Festival
    Mexico city, Mexico
    May 1, 2015
    South American Premiere
    Bronze Palm Award
  • 2nd Florida Movie Festival
    Casselberry, Florida, USA
    May 5, 2015
    Women D/P Finalist Documentary
  • 8th Beldocs International Documentary Film Festival
    Belgrade, Serbia
    May 11, 2015
    Serbian Premiere
  • 8th International Heritage Film Festival “Idols”
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    May 17, 2015
    1st place in “Art” category
  • The Accolade Global Film Competition

    June 16, 2015
    Award of Merit: Documentary Feature
  • 1st Hoosierdance International Film Festival
    Kokomo, Indiana, USA
    June 26, 2015
  • 4th Madrid International Film Festival
    Madrid, Spain
    July 4, 2015
    Spanish Premiere
  • Salt Lake International Film Festival

    August 11, 2015
  • 4th Cebu International Documentary Film Festival
    Cebu, Philippines
    August 15, 2015
    Philippine Premiere
  • 4th TrindieFest Film Festival

    September 27, 2015
    Honorable Mention
  • 3rd AegeanDocs International Documentary Film Festival
    various locations in Greece
    September 28, 2015
    Greek Premiere
  • 8th Bushwick Film Festival
    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    October 3, 2015
    Best Feature Documentary
  • 4th BULDOC Berlin 2015 - Days of Bulgarian Documentary Cinema
    Berlin, Germany
    November 1, 2015
  • 3rd Phnom Penh International Film Festival
    Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    November 7, 2015
    Cambodian Premiere
  • 29th Leeds International Film Festival
    Leeds, UK
    November 8, 2015
  • 26th Carthage Film Festival
    November 22, 2015
    Tunisian Premiere
  • 1st Cutting Edge Film Festival
    Pompano Beach, Florida
    United States
    December 8, 2015
  • 1st Lisbon International Film Festival
    March 25, 2016
    Portuguese Premiere
  • 6th SEE Film Festival
    May 31, 2016
    French Premiere
  • 2nd Phoenix Film Festival Melbourne
    June 22, 2016
    Australian Premiere
    Best Documentary
  • 1st International Open Film Festival
    June 15, 2016
    Country Best Award
  • TrueDoc Documentary Festival

    September 8, 2016
  • Southway Film Fest

    September 15, 2016
  • 3rd Toronto World International Film Festival
    September 23, 2016
  • 2nd Hong Kong World International Film Festival
    Hong Kong
    September 25, 2016
  • 2nd Singapore World International Film Festival

    September 30, 2016
    Singaporian Premiere
Distribution Information
  • Activist 38 Ltd.
    Country: Bulgaria
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Mina Mileva, Vesela Kazakova

Mina Mileva studied Theatre and Stage Design in Bulgaria and specialised in Dresden, Germany.
She then graduated animated film directing in the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts (NATFA), Sofia, and in the Academy for visual Arts (La Cambre), Brussels.

Her student films Contrasts’92, Monday again’96 and Un verre ou deux’98, were officially selected at many festivals and received awards at Animafest, Zagreb’98 and Salvador Dali Universe, London ’99.

Mina subsequently worked in London as an animator, storyboard and layout artist and director on numerous commercials, TV series, music videos and films, including couple of Disney features. She designed and directed the six-minute dream sequence in the feature film Christmas Carol the Movie’2001, a Miramax USA and UK Film Council production voiced by Nicholas Cage, Kate Winslet and other stars and directed by Jimmy T. Murakami.

Mina’s later work includes five Co-op commercials, music videos for the groups Goldspot, Infadels and Roxette, the BBC children’s series, Just so Darwin, Blue Dragon (both BAFTA and RTS nominated), Tommy Zoom and Telling Tales.

In 2008, back in her native Bulgaria she founded Production Company Activist 38 with Vesela Kazakova, after their successful collaboration on the documentary Because of Her. The company develops 2 feature film coproductions and several documentaries, while maintaining services for the British Animation Industry. The company is a member of documentary network EDN and MEDIA supported.

UNCLE TONY, Three Fools and the Secret Service co-directed with Vesela Kazakova is her Documentary Debut.

Vesela Kazakova graduated both acting and producing respectively in the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts and University of Economics in Sofia.
Her first roles in the cinema and on stage brought her the debut awards for best young actress in Bulgaria in 2002. Further lead roles in six films have snapped up prestigious prizes for best female actress in Bulgaria and abroad, Silver George Award in Moscow Film festival in 2005, and Berlinale Shooting Stars Award in 2006 amongst them.

Vesela started producing theatre performances and then gradually turned to film producing and directing. This activity led to setting up a production company Activist38 with Mina Mileva. The company had succeeded in being one of the most active young representatives of Bulgarian cinema at the European markets and festivals such as "Producers Network" in Cannes and "Share Your Slate" in Berlin. Activist38 animated film Because of Mum is the first film sold to ARTE G.E.I.E. by a Bulgarian producer.

Her latest acclaimed doc Uncle Tony, Three Fools and the Secret Service, co-directed with Mina Mileva had caused major controversy in Bulgaria but it also achieved prestigious selections and awards. It premiered at Sarajevo film Festival and later made it to several A-list festivals such as Warsaw IFF and Cairo IFF. Variety magazine gave it a large review, which also covered the controversy. The film was picked by the American Film Institute for the showcase "Best of European cinema 2014" and it premiered in December in Silver Theatre, Washington DC.

Vesela Kazakova is EAVE 2013 graduate and also one of the Emerging Producers’13 in Jihlava.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

“Uncle Tony” – Antoni Trayanov is a world-class animator whom I’ve known for more than 20 years and I had the privilege to study the craft directly from him. Thanks to this I, Mina Mileva made a career in the British animation industry.

In the 60s, ‘70s, and 80’s Communist Bulgaria had a celebrated animation studio, and Trayanov was the invisible creative force behind some of Bulgaria’s most memorable and well-travelled animated films.
Some of these films were done in a tandem with Donio Donev who was a loyal Communist Party member and an agent for the Secret Service. Donev managed to build a spectacular international career using Trayanov’s skills and talent as stepping-stones.
Together with intriguing personal story we’re building a bigger picture of the time and imposing a nuanced and layered critique on the totalitarian system.

Unlike the rest of the former East European countries, Bulgaria – has not yet dealt with its past and the role of the Secret Service during communism. Subtle and subversive suppression of free-minded people still takes place, which is why Uncle Tony’s story is hugely relevant.

Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova