Animated Stories

22 September 2011 text by Nikola Shahpazov
This was actually the subtitle of Rainbow - the only successful comic magazine in Bulgaria, which was a total hit in the 80s and 90`s and was a must with children. The Adventures of Choko and Boko used to be published there at that time. The sequel had its animated version and the cartoon master for both versions was Rumen Petkov.

Later Petkov crossed the Atlantic and went to the States to work with the best in the business, people who valued his talent. Today we associate his name with cartoon classics such as Cow and Chicken and Johnny Bravo. Lately he`s been focusing mainly on his teaching career in California Institute of the Arts even though he hasn`t given up drawing yet. He is arriving in Sofia to judge the Golden Kuker Festival (Septemer 28- October 2, Arena Zapad cinema). He told us about the long-lost Golden Palm award, the good old Hanna and Barbera and Choko and Boko.

Many people still remember the comic series is Rainbow magazine, together with the animated sequel. What do you remember of the time you spent here working?
At the time people didn`t take Choko and Boko seriously. The critique regarded them as something of a lower category. We, animators, on the other hand tried to make quality cartoon and our trials were rewarded. Still, whenever I returned in Bulgaria after 1990, I was suprised to see how many children had seen Choko and Boko or had read the comic series. Well, they weren`t immaculate, but they were the pioneer attempts. Choko and Boko has something beautifully nostalgic in it, just like anything from the past has.

There was a World Festival of the Animated Film in Varna just before th Golden Kuker. Is it a breath of new life into old traditions?
It`s hard to say really because I live too far from Bulgaria. The good thing is The Kuker Festival brings a lot of freshness, while the one in Varna has a lot to do with the past. Still, I wish both the very best.

Are you often part of the jury in animation fests? Each year the university I work in organizes a festival. Many students take part in it, including some from other schools. I am a judge there. I`ve juried the festival in Zagreb. All those festivals have one thing in common - I am being an absolutely honest and objective judge. Which one is your favourite of all your films? That would be Cow and Chicken, it`s a phenomenal story. Jojnny Bravo follows immediately. I brought the first season of the latter to this year`s Kuker


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