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The Liberators of Bulgaria
March 30, 2008 Donna S. Walker

Brave men and forgotten heroes in the epic drama created by an acknowledged Bulgarian journalist

Author and director Plamen Petkov presented his latest documentary “The Liberators of Bulgaria” at a screening in Springstep, Medford. The Boston premiere of this

historical documentary marked the official start of the 7th Bulgarian Cultural festival, organized annually by Madara Center and Violeta Jeliazkova.

The people who came to see the presentation by the prominent Bulgarian journalist, had a lot to lay their expectations on: his previous documentary sequel “The Bulgarians” is extremely popular and reached millions of viewers in and outside the territory of Bulgaria. A unique journey 30 000km with a breath-stopping route by car took his crew from Bulgaria to Caucasia, Siberia, Altai, China, Mongolia, and Afghanistan. The film was aired on the national broadcasting television and then distributed on DVD. The book he wrote on this journey is in its fifth print. “The Liberators of Bulgaria” is the latest project of Plamen Petkov. Dedicated to the Liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman bondage, the film takes us back to 19th century Europe.

Touching and provocative with unknown facts, “The Liberators of Bulgaria” is not the regular historic film you see on History channel. It inspired and touched – with the appalling events from history, but most of all, by revealing the true heroism of ordinary people whose names you won’t find in history books. One of these heroes, who turns as the main focus of the film is the American war correspondent of 19th century – Januarius MacGahan.

Born in new Lexington, Ohio, he becomes one of the most respected reporters of his time. His writings to the free press brought to a turn of events that reshaped the whole map of Southeastern Europe. His name nowadays is completely forgotten.

The Springstep hall was filled with people of all ages and areas of interest: professors, actors, engineers and mere lovers of history. Most of them were asking questions and were curious about specific events from Bulgarian history or facts from the life of MacGahan. What speaks best of the impact of the 90 min. historical drama, were the tears shed. And that does not include the 2-year old girl Nadja or the 9-year old Anton who said he found the film “very interesting”.
“Marvelous”, “touching”, and “wonderful” are all words that each author longs to hear of his/her creation. Well, there were plenty of these that night.

“This film is tribute to the memory of a remarkable man who only served his consciousness and his values, to do what he could do best – report the truth”. With these words Plamen Petkov closed the evening. But opened many hearts, and hopefully will open more to fit the name of the great war correspondent Januarius MacGahan where he belongs – in books of history and in the memory of a nation that always earns for heroes.


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