Exclusive clip: Tonislav Hristov’s “The Magic Life of V”

The 2019 Sundance Film Festival is slated to launch next week – running Jan. 24 to Feb. 3 – and will be the home to many world premieres, including that ...
January 17, 2019

The 2019 Sundance Film Festival is slated to launch next week – running Jan. 24 to Feb. 3 – and will be the home to many world premieres, including that of Tonislav Hristov’s feature-length fantasy documentary The Magic Life of V. Ahead of the screening, realscreen presents an exclusive clip of the 87-minute project.

The intimate film, which screens in the World Cinema Documentary Competition, documents the life of 25-year-old Veera who uses the magic of LARPing (live action role-playing) as a form of escapism to address her childhood traumas caused by an abusive and alcoholic father, while also protecting and bringing about normalcy for her mentally disabled older brother.

In LARPing, Veera transforms into her alter ego “V”, a character capable of achieving goals that Veera seemingly cannot. It’s through this sword-swinging metamorphosis that Veera (and V) is able to find reprieve from the turmoil of real life through newly formed friendships and camaraderie.

“I’ve always been interested in the line between fact and fiction,” said Hristov in a statement. “In what way are people in documentaries real, or how much are they just playing a role they believe to be themselves? Does the camera make them act like the person they would want to be? Where’s the line between ‘a real character’ and a role?

“When I met Veera, the main character of The Magic Life of V, I understood immediately both the cinematic and ‘philosophical’ potential of the subject. For once I could move freely from fact to fiction without ethical dilemmas because this is one of the subjects of the film; just as my characters do themselves in order to cope with their everyday lives.”

The film is produced by Kaarle Aho and Kai Nordberg of Making Movies, with co-producers Kirstine Barfod of Kirstine Barfod Film and Andrea Stanoeva of Soul Food.

It was developed and produced with the support of The Finnish Film Foundation, The Danish Film Institute, Yle, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Arte, AVEK, Bulgarian Film Center, SVT, and Creative Europe.

Parisian distributor Cat & Docs is representing The Magic Life of V.

  • The Magic Life of V has its world premiere at the Egyptian Theatre on Friday, Jan. 25 at 2:45 p.m. MT.

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.