A short excerpt from the booklet interview with director Ilian Metev.
Q: What was the idea or philosophy behind the film?
Ilian Metev: The idea was to try and make a ‘medical film’ which is not ‘medical’.
I’m not interested in the medical things, so me when I see them – something is lost. I’m interested in the people, so that’s why I can’t say that I was inspired by anything ‘medical’.
And one of the first things I interested me most was what is it that keeps those people there? How do they stay? Because everyone who enters this profession leaves after a few months or maximum a year. But these guys have stayed there for a really long time. The doctor [Krassi] has been there for around 24 years and something keeps him there. The film doesn’t give you a clear answer why this is, but I think you get a feeling that there is something special. Something altruistic.
I had the idea for quite some time because there were quite a few incidents since I was kid when I actually had to go into hospital in Bulgaria, either because of myself or either because of relatives of mine, and what I noticed again and again was that within those places the environment is very hostile. It is very hard somehow and you see also the actual hospitals in these places are kind of falling apart, and in general no-one really wants to be in a hospital - but this is even worse! And I noticed the way people are usually treated - but what I alsonoticed again and again is that within those places, every now and then, there is some person who shows some humanity who shows some kind of care or warmth about you and your situation. There’s a very strong contrast between the environment and those people who care for you. I experienced this as very touching and that’s why I got the idea to do something in this field.
Q: How did you manage to make your protagonists forget the camera in the ambulance?
IL: I didn’t have to do much. It was natural. I think because their everyday is so intense, they have so many things that they are worried about that they forgot about the cameras very quickly. I mean the cameras were quite small, all DSLR cameras, the photo cameras and they don’t seem like something very intrusive. They’re just standing there [on the dashboard] and so they would forget in a matter of five minutes, to be honest.
But before starting filming we spent a lot of time with them so we got to know each other so we trusted each other. We explained what we wanted to achieve, the kind of film we’d try to make... so we didn’t have a problem with this.
The complete interview, from which this excerpt is taken, appears in the booklet which accompanies the DVD release.
A short excerpt from the booklet
Backseat Mafia by Rob Aldam
by James Simpson
by Amber Wilkinson
DVD Beaver by Eric Cotenas
The Geek Show
by Rob Simpson
by Steve Morrissey
by Harriet Warman
The Arts Desk
by Tom Birchenough
Sight & Sound
by Michael Brooke
NoRipCord by Kai Lancaster
iJournal by Helena Ramos
by Nathaniel Thompson
CineOutsider by Slarek
East European Film Bulletin
Eye for Film
Sight & Sound - Mark Cousins Sight & Sound -
(i) SLA - from script to screen
(ii) Interview with Ilian Metev at East European Film Bulletin (iii) Interview with sound recordist Tom Kirk
(iv) Save our NHS
(vi) Chaconna Films
(vii) DocHouse podcast of the post-screening Q&A at ICA on 2nd October 2014
Length / Sofia's Last Ambulance: 77 minutes
Length / Special features:
Sound: Original stereo (restored)
Original aspect ratio:
1.85:1 / 16:9 anamorphic
Subtitles: English (On/Off)
Release Date: 13 Oct 2014 Second Run DVD 091