Samurai – Always Ready for Battle 17 May 2018

Part of project “Talented People”

Hristina Apostolova

 This text is very important to me. I want to write it to draw a special attention to an important person to me, so important that I am worried now if I can do it well – concentrated and precisely to pour out my love for her and to not miss anything. She is Hristina Apostolova – actress, writer, mother, fighter. Whenever I think of her, the word “samurai” always comes to mind. I have heard that the samurai were well-trained fighters, stubborn and explicit in their actions, elite warriors, merciless and precise. If they are to get into battle, they forget about themselves, the self-preservation instinct stops working and they throw everything they can and are capable for into the war. They do not think about what this battle will take from them or what they will lose. It is important to win the battle, and win all the way. The words above describe her to a tee. That’s her – when she enters a battle, she becomes a strange, concentrated being who is so wrapped in what she does that you can hardly reach her at such a moment, and these battles sometimes last for quite a long time.

I know Hristina from NATFA. She was two years ahead of me, majoring in “Drama Theatre Acting”. She was one of the good ones and we were interested in her. Also, she was very beautiful and tall, and this is not a common combination. She graduated from the Academy and performed in theatres for some time. Then followed a period of about 3-4 years when we did not keep in touch. I don’t know why. It just happened. And then, in the spring of 2007, certain events happened, which marked our lives and made us communicating vessels to this day. At that time, she was a host in N-Joy radio and had her own show there. It was good and high rated. They called me on the phone from BTV to invite me to a “Survivor” casting. I remember the moment exactly because I thought I was a victim of a candid camera. “Survivor” had already begun with another host. I didn’t know details, but I was already convinced it was a candid camera. At that moment, out of the blue, Hristina called me and told me she was invited to join the team of the show as an editor, that I was really invited to a casting, and it was not a candid camera. After that, she started providing me with information about the team and the others who were called for the casting, and everything about this format. She didn’t like the team, composed by Evtim Miloshev, but she was interested in the show itself.

They happened to think of her and had invited her. She didn’t know anyone from the television and from the team. She hoped they would choose me so she would have a friend in the team. But the actors they had invited were good and the chance to choose me was small. She had mentioned to the team and the producer things like how good I am and so on, but I don’t think anyone had heard her. The day of the casting came. She had warned me what they would make me do. I was very worried because I wanted them to choose me. “Survivor” was my favourite show at the time, I was downloading the American episodes from the Internet and watching them repeatedly. I remember one thing very vividly from that casting. When I entered, they gave me a text that I had to say, I had only 3-4 minutes to learn it and then interpret it. And it was long. I focused, and, to my surprise, I said it, and even well. To strengthen the effect of what I did, Hristina, very clumsily, dropped her pen on the floor. Meaning, she was so impressed with what I did that for a moment she fell into a terrible stupor, her nervous system blocked and her muscles and tissues got stiff. In that stupor, she just dropped what was in her hands. It was very ridiculous, and I felt as if my mother was at the casting.

Then a waiting time followed. She did not hear anything as well, because Miloshev’s team had realized she knew me and had begun to hide information from her. Would they take me, or not – she didn’t know. One day Mr. Miloshev called me. He wanted a meeting with me. We met and I did not like him. He was pretending to be a hotshot. He told me that I was chosen. I shared with Hristina all conversations. Negotiations begun, with both me and her. Hristina and I talked long conversations about everything – everything like Evtim’s car, his pretending to be cool, how he was ambushing us, and so on. She told me that his people were very awkward and described them in details. We had nicknames for them. The time came for me to meet them, and they really felt awkward to me. We told each other it was us two against the others, we might be two but we’re strong and we’ll watch our backs. We left for Dominicana. Then for Panama. Then for the Philippines, and then for Cambodia. Years later, we also shot the “The Tree of Life” series, in which she was both an actress and a screenwriter.

What I did in “Survivor” as a host, I owe to her to a great extent. The truth is that the host consisted of two people – her and me. She was every second with me and was on the other side. She talked to me in the earpiece, giving me the text, controlling the game through me, she was merciless and very precise. She was in the control tent and she was seeing every situation through many cameras and from many points of view. Thus, my eyes became 11-12 pairs. I saw and knew everything thanks to her. The brains were also two. She was responsible for all the games and knew the details about them. She knew where there was a potential to lie, where the rules could be bended, and I knew it too automatically through her. We were a very serious tandem. A super-oiled machine that works under any conditions, with an unstructured working time, and it does not defect. Her character of a fighter and my stubbornness gave really impressive results. Also, we were supporting each other psychologically. She had a great deal of responsibility for me, and I felt it and appreciated it. And the people we mocked and of whom we invented nicknames, became our very close friends. With Mr. Producer things also went in an entirely different and unexpected direction. The truth is our small, modest group of two people slipped into the other bigger group and gained leadership. Both at work and in life. We both entered with extreme strength in the life of the producer Miloshev and I think we changed him permanently. We became his corrective and his stable support.

Hristina participated in “Survivor” in many and important ways. She was a producer of the games. She was responsible for their creation, testing and arranging. She wrote the script texts, she was a shadow host. She was not sleeping, and she was wrapped in and devoted to this project for months. After “Survivor”, she joined the teams of writers of the series of “Dream Team”. She was involved in writing of “Sofia Residents in Excess” and “The Tree of Life”, season 1. She was also an actress in these two series. She did a very good job with the roles of Carolina and Elena. But her peak came with the series “Stolen Life”. I am very proud of her. She is the person who has created this series and realizes it. She did it in a way that I’m sure no one on the entire planet Earth could do. She is the creator of the idea of the series and is the lead writer of all 5 seasons or 190 episodes. All this quantity has gone through her mind and her fingers – in a monstrously short time and under unbelievable stress. It is amazing what a great viewers’ interest this project has caused. Behind all this is the enormous work of a handful of people, and especially of Hristina. In the last years, I have been very worried about her because she was regularly not sleeping for 2-3 days. She wasn’t eating. She worked under severe stress. Stress, because time is never enough and because if you don’t write the episode, on the next day there will be nothing to shoot, and because of her the process may stop. The machine would stop because she didn’t manage. But she would never allow such a thing to happen. If necessary, she would die, she would not see her kids for a week, she would not eat, maybe she would get sick, but there will be an episode. It was awful. I was telling her to drop it. I repeatedly tried to convince her that it was inhuman, that she should stop, once she should not deliver an episode, she should stop the machine, so people would see this is not the way, but she never listened to me. She was calling me, crying for 10 minutes, hanging up the phone and continuing. That’s why I described her as a samurai who does not surrender. She would crawl on the ground, but she would not surrender. She made one of the most successful, loved and watched series. Big thing, great feat. This series gave her a lot, but also took a lot from her. But, still, it made her a professional no one could step up to. She became the best Bulgarian scriptwriter. She became a person who has conquered her great peak in life. At the same time, she is a mother of two boys she raises and cares for. Yes, there are such people who, at the cost of everything, do impossible things. Hristina is my example, my pride, my support. She has never lied to me and has always helped me.

There is also something in her character that has always frightened me. Something very strong and uncompromising. She can endure and swallow a lot and for a very long time, but after the last straw – she stops recognizing you. Yes, you stand in front of her, but she does not see you. Then, if you want you can take the stars down from the sky for her – you can literally travel to space with a shuttle, organize a star taken down, go through NASA’s heavy workouts, push that star into the shuttle, carry it and pack it in cellophane – no, you will not achieve anything. I have seen her several times at such moments. Don’t get on her way then. She turns into a demon who can cripple. She becomes very decisive with a strange and frightening tone of speech, and with this tone she can crush you. Hristina is an exceptional character.

Her great best is the words. She says that writing has found her, she did not search for it. Apparently, Destiny has had its Word here! Because her words are real, come from the living life, emotional, touching, inspiring.

I want this text to be my monument for her on the internet. Also, I want to take her best photos. This post to be like something we will, in time, think of with tenderness. Because that is our story and our experiences. This is really the most valuable thing in life. No one can take it away, no one can do anything against it. It has happened, it is there somewhere intact and safe from anything. Cannot be bought, cannot be sold, cannot fix it. It is what we have made it in the events, moments, opportunities provided by our lives.

And if, after everything I told you, you hear that I’m going to take part in a very popular series, and Hristina is the lead writer and will write a special role for me, don’t be surprised. Again, it is not connections, it is human destiny, which is sometimes favourable to us and connects us with the people we love.

 The last three photos are memories from “Survivor” when we were inseparable.

Special thanks to the National Library “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” – site

 

Text – Vladimir Karamazov

Photographer – Vladimir Karamazov for #Karamazovfoto

17.05.2018                                                                                             Vladimir Karamazov®