Flying Away

Documentary film – dir. Simeon Tsonchev

Look up to the skies and admire the birds because they are Flying Away.


Bulgaria is home for an amazing number of wild birds – over 400 species! In Europe only the skies of Spain beat that number.

The film takes us on an exciting journey to the bedazzling bird world in the southeastern end of our continent. Tyulenovo and Durankulak are trapped in the severe grip of the winter ice and snow but the Red-breasted Geese still prefer this land for their wintering territory. The Long-legged Buzzards protect their kingdom from the sky above the majestic Belogradchik Rocks. Deep in the heart of the Rhodope Mountains we can still admire the Egyptian Vulture, one of the most intelligent birds in the world. Along the Arda River Canyon, surrounded by volcanic rock, Griffon Vultures scramble clumsily for food. The mysterious stone dolmens in Sakar Mountain enjoy the company of the last 23 pairs of Imperial Eagles in Bulgaria.

Just outside the city of Burgas a popular bird, the White Stork, displays its character; flocks of pelicans glide impressively over the apartment blocks, and the female waders enjoy the summer bliss attended by their thin-billed suitors in the warm waters of sea lagoons.

Director’s notes

The idea for a film about Bulgarian wild birds came from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB). I was very pleased to accept the challenge – I think that Flying Away reveals a lot about our birds – they are interesting creatures, and remind me of us humans in many respects. Even though some have quite strange habits, most birds are social animals, loving parents and devoted partners. My intention was to create a film for the wide public, so I had to present the information in a popular, entertaining manner; for this I relied on the assistance of one of the most devoted bird lovers in the country – the ornithologist Dr Petar Iankov from BSPB. Thanks to my work on this film I realised how fortunate Bulgaria is – beside the amazing nature we have an incredible diversity of wild birds!

I strongly believe that we must make an effort to preserve this living treasure. Unfortunately today the fragile sky dwellers are exposed to a ruthless human impact – I witnessed illegal logging, uncontrolled poaching, mindless habitat destruction…

The moment when the birds will fly away is fast approaching. The question is, will they come back.

Technical specs

  • original title: Те отлитат Te otlitat
  • alternate titles: Flying Away
  • country: Bulgaria
  • release date: April 2013
  • filming format: HD 1080p
  • screening formats: HD, BD, DVD
  • picture: colour, 1.78:1
  • sound: stereo 2.0
  • runtime: 40 min
  • original language: Bulgarian
  • subtitles: English
  • IMDb:
  • website:


  • narrated by – Hristo Topuzov
  • bird watchers – Hristo Gardov & Emil Ivanov
  • children – Students from the Bratya Miladinovi & St. Kliment Ohridski Schools in Burgas


  • Red-breasted Goose
  • Long-legged Buzzard
  • Egyptian Vulture
  • Griffon Vulture
  • Imperial Eagle
  • Dalmatian Pelican
  • White Pelican
  • White Stork
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Eurasian Oystercatcher
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Pied Avocet

Black Stork, Citrine Wagtail, Common Gull, Coot, Cormorant, Garganey, Glossy Ibis, Golden Eagle, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Kestrel, Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Magpie, Marsh Harrier, Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Pochard, Pygmy Cormorant, Raven, Red-crested Pochard, Shelduck, Short-toed Eagle, Smew, Spoonbill, Tufted Duck, White-fronted Goose, White-tailed Eagle & Whooper Swan


  • director, director of photography & editor – Simeon Tsonchev
  • consulting ornithologist – Dr Petar Iankov
  • scriptwriter – Ognyan Statelov
  • original music score – Maya Popova & Filip S. Filipov
  • species consultants – Hristo Gardov, Dimitar Gradinarov, Vladimir Dobrev, Dobromir Dobrev & Vladimir Mladenov
  • second camera – Ivaylo Donchev
  • remote control camera – Volen Arkumarev & Sergey Panayotov
  • production assistants – Emil Ivanov & Kalin Petrov
  • sound designer – Maya Popova
  • colourist – Kalin Petrov
  • guides & locations – Hristo Gardov, Dimitar Gradinarov, Vladimir Dobrev, Dobromir Dobrev, Vladimir Mladenov & Yuriy Kornilev
  • script editor – Alexander ‘Sancho’ Marinov
  • sound recording – Antonia Devetakova & Konstantin Katsarski
  • post-production supervisor – Andrey Getov
  • translation – Alexander ‘Sancho’ Marinov
  • poster designer – Sofia Dimitrova
  • public relations – Elena Mosholova
  • transport – Emil Ivanov, Petyo Tsonchev, Hristo Gardov, Dimitar Gradinarov, Ivaylo Donchev, Vladimir Dobrev & Yuriy Kornilev
  • producers – Simeon Tsonchev & Nada Tosheva
  • production – Mono Collective & BSPB
  • funding – America for Bulgaria Foundation
  • coordinators
  • BSPB Sofia – Nada Tosheva, Emilia Yankova & Tea Ivanova
  • BSPB Varna – Marina Georgieva & Pavel Gospodinov
  • BSPB Haskovo – Nikolay Terziev
  • BSPB Burgas – Iana Gocheva & Mariana Valcheva

Kindly supported by

Alexander ‘Sancho’ Marinov, Anton Stamenov, Pencho Pandukov, Dimitar Vulchanov, Krasimir Amerov, Hristo Arnaudov, Rumen Radev, Georgi Georgiev, Venelin Velikov, Boyko Neov, Nely Olova, Victor Bojilov, Pavel Bojilov, Tsvetanka Milchova, Ivayla Klimentova, Martin Karadjov, Stoyan Nikolov, Zhivko Ivanov, Pesho Stanilov, Dimitar Demerdjiev, Svetoslav Spasov, Nikolay Terziev, Dimitar Gradinarov, Stoyna Krusteva, Atanas Krustev, Iana Gocheva, Georgi Gyuzelev, Konstantin Gospodinov, Yordanka Koeva, Ivan Tormanov, Studen Kladenets Hunting Reserve, BSPB Nature Conservation Centre – Eastern Rhodopes, BSPB Nature Conservation Centre – Poda, Forest Guard Balchik, Balchik State Hunting Area, Rosana Travel, Neophron Tours, Salt-factory Burgas AD, Bluba Lu Records, Sound 9 Studio,, Totka Dencheva & Tsonevi – village of Turhovo, Nenovi – Sofia, Tsonchevi – Sofia

Special thanks

Vladimir Trifonov & Cinema House, Sofia, Slavina Ilieva &, Nikola Milenov & Forward Pictures, Branimir Dobrev, Stoil Dimitrov, Stefan Nikolov, Mihail Lozanov, Katya Marchovska, Tanya Petkova, Natalia Ivanova, Dilyana Manavska, Boris Nenov, Tsveta Nesheva, Teodora Petrova, Hristiyana Stomonyakova, Mariana Andreeva & Filmautor

The film was produced between November 2011 and August 2012 on locations entirely in Bulgaria: Black Sea Coast, North-Western Region, Eastern Rhodope Mountains, Sakar Mountain & Burgas Lakes.

Music score

The composers Maya Popova and Filip S. Filipov created the original music score for the film. Now you can hear it here:

Film festivals, special screenings and events (52)

  • Mobile cinema in Kiril Hristov school, 13.02.2018, Stara Zagora (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Nesho Bonchev school, 7.02.2018, Panagyurishte (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Hristo Smirnenski school, 19.01.2018, Radomir (Bulgaria)
  • 17 Years Natural park Persina, 4.12.2017, Belene (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Hristo Botev school, 29.11.2017, Dragoman (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Russian Embassy school, 28.11.2017, Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Velizar Penev school, 27.11.2017, Svoge (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in History museum, 24.11.2017, Botevgrad (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Municipal children complex, 24.11.2017, Sredets (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in G. S. Rakovski school, 22.11.2017, Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Kiliyno uchilishte, 8.11.2017, Kyustendil (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Community centre Borba, 31.10.2017, Knezha (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Dryanovo cinema, 17.10.2017, Dryanovo (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Ecomuseum Aquarium, 13.10.2017, Ruse (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Nevestino Municipality, 12.10.2017, Nevestino (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Mladezhki dom, 11.10.2017, Montana (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Community centre Prosveten luch, 4.10.2017, Sapareva Banya (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema in Community centre Pencho Slaveykov, 29.09.2017, Tryavna (Bulgaria)
  • Mobile cinema at Vuzrazhdane square, 26.09.2017, Belogradchik (Bulgaria)
  • International Vulture Awareness Day, 20.09.2017, Ruse (Bulgaria)
  • kvARTal Festival vol. 2, 15.09.2017 – 17.09.2017, Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • International Film Festival Ekotopfilm, 20.10.2014 – 24.10.2014, Bratislava & Prague (Slovak Republic & Czech Republic)
  • National Festival of Cinematography “Golden Eye”, 23.10.2014 – 26.10.2014, Popovo (Bulgaria)
  • Wildlife Vaasa International Nature Film Festival, 1.10.2014 – 5.10.2014, Vaasa, (Finland)
  • Baikal International Film Festival People and Environment, 22.09.2014 – 26.09.2014 Irkutsk (Russia)
  • Project RE>LA>X, 14.06.2014, Central Railway Station, Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Pelicam International Film Festival, 13.06.2014 – 15.06.2014, Tulcea (Romania)
  • Sisak Eco Film Festival, 14.05.2014 – 24.05.2014, Sisak (Croatia)
  • mini ARt fest FO, 27.02.2014, NeuBerlin, Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Documentary Programme, 19.02.2014, Bulgarian Film Academy 2014, Cinema House, Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Educational event “Zrantse lyubov”, 8.02.2014, Credo Bonum Foundation, Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Information Programme, 18.12.2013, 20th Golden Rhyton Film Festival, Lucky Cinema, Plovdiv (Bulgaria)
  • Screeing, 29.11.2013, Damian Damianov House, Sliven (Bulgaria)
  • Screening, 28.11.2013, PGGE Konstantin Fotinov, Burgas (Bulgaria)
  • Screenings at Zoo Club Noah, 17.11.2013, Ecological Education Centre in the Zoo, Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • European Birds Days, 7.10.2013, Vasil Levski School, Ruse (Bulgaria)
  • European Birds Days, 5.10.2013, Mall Galleria, Burgas (Bulgaria)
  • European Birds Days, 4.10.2013, PGSS Zemya, Provadia (Bulgaria)
  • Days of the Environmental Cinema, 26.09.2013, Natural-History Museum, Burgas (Bulgaria)
  • Kite Festival Shabla, 21 & 22.09.2013, Green Training Centre, Shabla (Bulgaria)
  • Agriculture International Exhibition, 29.08.2013, Dobrotisa Sports Hall, Dobrich (Bulgaria)
  • Open Air Cinema, 28.08.2013, Ohluva Scene in Morska Gradina, Burgas (Bulgaria)
  • Nature Conservation Brigade, 26.08.2013, Lake Atanasovsko, Poda NCC, Burgas (Bulgaria)
  • Sofia Film Festival on the Beach, 20.08.2013, Up Outdoor Cinema, Lozenets (Bulgaria)
  • Educational Programme, 20.07.2013, Green Training Centre, Shabla (Bulgaria)
  • Summer Zoo School, 5, 12, 19 & 26 July 2013, Ecological Education Centre in the Zoo, Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Youth Festival Fun City, 5.07.2013, Rakovina Scene in Morska Gradina, Varna (Bulgaria)
  • Educational Programme, 19.06.2013, Petar Parchevich School, Chiprovtsi (Bulgaria)
  • Regular Screenings, 7.06.2013 – 27.06.2013, Cinema House, Sofia (Bulgaria)
  • Birds of Dobrich, 3.06.2013, Cinema-club Ikar, Dobrich (Bulgaria)
  • Open Air Cinema, 10.05.2013, Kartali Conservation Educational Camp, Studen Kladenets Hunting Reserve (Bulgaria)
  • Premiere, 23.04.2013, Cinema House, Sofia (Bulgaria)

* Last updated – 22 February 2018

Additional and press materials