Article 216 is a digital experience that combines film, music and visual art to tell the story of the LGBTQ+ community in Bulgaria.
Love for the homeland and a sentence from the 1896 Penal Law inspired the project's creator Borislav to present Bulgarians with a "different" sexual orientation in a new light. In a modern and dynamic website, images fly across the screen over music written especially for the project. Traditional 19th-century motifs that we are used to seeing in black and white become intersected with color and together offer an alternative view of the queer Bulgarians of that era.
On the one hand, Article 216 speaks to heterosexual Bulgarians, some of whom believe that a "different" sexual orientation is something imported from abroad in the new times. The project shows that this is not the case through local examples from antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the late 19th century.
Article 216 also addresses those people who are made to feel less Bulgarian because of who they love. Borislav recreates the images of our gay ancestors, but this time instead of being persecuted and punished, they are free to love each other and be themselves. The author's hope is that the descendants of these people will see that they too are part of the fabric of Bulgaria, and that they too deserve a place on the horo (a traditional dance).
Article 216 calls to restore this erased chapter of Bulgaria's history. The sources are out there - the hidden love letters, secret photos, and forgotten files.
Borislav is joined in the journey through time and alternate realities by Kosta Karakashyan (STUDIO KARAKASHYAN) as producer, Boris Urumov as cinematographer, Dobromir Kisyov, C-Mo, Sirma Kuncheva and Rostislav Schipochky with music and Antonia Kundakova, Ahmet Ismail, and (again) Sirma Kuncheva as actors.
"Article 216" is also supported by SINGLE STEP Foundation, whose accelerator for digital projects on social topics Digital Indie Lab supported the first steps of the project.
Digital Indie Lab is an accelerator for young, alert and motivated people with experience in creating digital content in any form. The accelerator includes workshops, individual and group workshops, exercises with mentors - Gena Traykova, Maria Atanasova, Boral Shen, Nikolai Yordanov and many other guest speakers for five days. Digital Indie Lab is supported by Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety.