Kevin Booth: Peevski’s silence is deafening abouth smuggling routes used by Bulgatabac that supply money to ISIS
Mr. Booth, the interview with you for FrogNews has generated a lot of interest and a lot of comments in Bulgaria, but the movie “Shadows of Sofia“ is still hard to reach. Why?
Your guess is as good as mine; I do know that “Shadows of Sofia” (SOS) is available in almost every country including Japan. When it first came out I had many inquiries from Bulgarian theaters, festivals and distributors, but I’m guessing that the state run media has done a good job in scaring people off. However the black market numbers show that it’s spreading well in Bulgaria.
The film just became available for free to all U.S. Amazon prime members – making it easily available to about a hundred million viewers and I hope and pray in some small way it can make a difference.
One of the most up-to-date topics in Bulgaria right now is the upcoming election for mayors and for a new Attorney General. I assume you are informed about this because there are protests again. What do you think about this situation? Are the events that you have seen here repeated?
Regarding the mayor race – it feels like business as usual. In the film we follow a western thinking politician running to be mayor of Elin Pelin. The outcome of the story is that he united with the VMRO party in order to beat his GERB opponent. This ended up making his backers think he had become a communist, causing them to not trust him. This is nothing new, and happens all over the world, but the nomination of Ivan Geshev for chief prosecutor handpicked by Sotir Tsatsarov – that’s scandalous and something for BG citizens to be concerned with.
What you shared last time we spoke caused a serious storm in all media related to one of your characters - Delyan Peevski. Pretty colorful materials came out. How do you accept this?
They keep saying I’m a liar because I talk of horrible corruption in Bulgaria. Peevski’s media brags that Bulgaria is only the 77th most corrupt place on earth as though it’s a matter of pride. They have no problem with Bulgaria being the #1smost corrupt in the E.U. making it the poster child of the Brexit movement.
However the most insane slam on the film is claiming that any Bulgarian who rents “SOS” is a traitor to Bulgaria. The following is from Standard News owned by Peevski: “People like Booth are clear - they would do anything for money. But those who rented it show only one thing - they hate their homeland and would do their best to wipe it out. But they must remember that for 1300 years Bulgaria has seen many national traitors. And none of them managed to beat her”.
This means that the attacks against you and the movie continue?
Yes –when I look up the people writing these reviews it appears to be the first time they have reviewed a film. One review used several times in various Peevski publications says the film has no plot, no story, no good characters and then gives the most detailed summery of the film I have ever read. Often giving insights I hadn’t thought of. The most disappointing part is not being able to share this crazy propaganda with many Americans due to the translations being so hard to understand. I make it a point to post the bad reviews on Facebook, but then I have to explain the context of everything to people not familiar with the story.
On the very popular and important website IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base) used by the American film distributors to decided if distribution is worthy. Over a hundred one out of ten star reviews appeared in the span of 48 hours – knocking the films ratting way down. Turns out to be Russians who vote down anything that mentions Putin in a negative light. I would appreciate it greatly if any of your reader who have IMDB accounts could click this link and vote high against the Russian troll attack.
Are there any videos made in response to the movie?
There is one video on You Tube we are pretty certain Peevski is behind. They made a 7-minute version of the film that is basically a montage of me showing the parts of the country negatively effected by corruption. Of course the parts about Peevski are all excluded. The gist of the onscreen commentary is “how dare this American make Bulgaria look bad with all the horrible things America does”. But just this past week a young man posted a version of the entire film with corrections and commentary over the entire two-hour film. He must have put in some serious hours on this. He accused me of purposely writing subtitles that manipulate the truth. I had my expert in Bulgaria a young man named Viktor Dimanov – who worked on the film during both the shooting and post. Viktor speaks very good English and is familiar with American cinema and documentaries. Viktor realized that there are other versions of the film being passed around on the black market with newly redone manipulative subtitle translations. Who is behind this? Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is that I received the link from Tzvetan Vasilev saying “The Fat Pig is at it again”.
Your speakers in the movie from Bulgaria do not enjoy such attention like you, even though you present their view, their story and what is happening in their lives. Are there any negative consequences for them from being part of your movie and your team here?
I hear the bulldozers are back in the Roma village and without naming names, jobs have been lost, people have moved – there have been many changes since the film came out.
The movie “Shadows of Sofia” ends with information that Delyan Peevski is a candidate for European Parliament? You probably know that for the second time he refused to go to Brussels. How do you explain this?
I have two theories
*1 He is becoming too notorious for his own benefit, attracted to much attention to the criminal enterprise - not good for business.
*2 He would have to show up to work everyday, requiring actual work - not good for him.
Do you think his refusal has something in common with the RICO Act case in New York?
Again anything he does at this point only attracts attention. It will be a cold day in hell before he willingly steps foot on American soil. As a front man I don’t know how much more obvious these people can get, but then again look at Trump.
A week ago it became known that two people were arrested - a Bulgarian and a Romanian, on charges of blackmailing Ahmed Dugan and Delyan Peevski. They are accused of asking them 12 million BGN to have their names deleted from a French report about cigarette smuggling. What do you think about this?
It’s funny how none of Peevski’s hit pieces against the film mention Bulgartabac when it’s the main thread of the film. The silence is deafening – it will be interesting to see how this turns out.
Screen Shot: Chief of Turkish Counterterrorism Ahmed Yayla showing director Kevin Booth execution videos found on a captured ISIS fighters cell phone. In many of the videos the Prestige brand of Cigarettes manufactured by Peevski's Bulgartabac are evident.
In the movie you travel to Istanbul, where you meet Ahmed Yayla – Chief of Turkish Counterterrorism. You watched with him videos of executions shot by terrorist organizations. One such video shows a huge amount of cigarettes from the Prestige brand produced by Bulgartabac. Tell us more about this meeting. What else did Yayla tell you about Peevsky?
When we filmed Ahmed Yayla in Turkey we were following an ISIS thread in the story. The story originated from a Mosque in the Roma village of Pazardzhik – a young Muslim leader accused of running a type of rest stop for ISIS fighters traveling in and out of the EU – via the Turkish border. We followed this story for over a year, including his trial. However when Trump announced that we (USA) have defeated ISIS it became yesterdays news. It’s too bad because Ahmed gave us so much valuable insight to the smuggling routes used by Bulgatabac that supply money to ISIS and other terrorists organizations. We also followed Heroin and human trafficking routes.
Back to your earlier question - out of everyone we interviewed, Ahmed’s life was the most destroyed. Soon after our filming his son was arrested in Istanbul because he had an American dollar bill in his pocket. Ahmed with his wife where forced to flee to America.
Interesting side note, it appeared that the Turkish people we spoke to were much less knowledgeable about Bulgaria then the Bulgarians were about Turkey.
Probably you know who Januarius MacGahan is and what he achieved with his journalistic work for Bulgaria. Do you think that the people in Bulgaria compare you to him in some way - American journalist who tells the world about what is happening in a small country in the Balkans?
The American liberator of Bulgaria! That’s an incredible compliment and I appreciate it, but it would be wrong for me to compare myself with a man who made such great sacrifices.
Are you currently working on another project?
We are launching a company called Tenaya Group inc that will eventually be publicly traded on the stock exchange. I’m in development for a new series about drugs with Sean Stone (son of Oliver Stone). Also developing a project about a global religious cult (not smart to name it at this time). Currently shooting a film about Eminent Domain Laws – here in Texas large oil companies are allowed to steal your land. This project is near and dear to me because a massive global energy company called Kinder Morgan based out of Houston is planning on putting a 42 inch 1440 PSI gas pipeline across my neighbors land. The blast radius for a malfunction could be over 3500 feet – putting the home I’m currently living in inside what Kinder Morgan causally calls the “Incineration Zone”
Your question reminds me of a conversation I have had with many Bulgarians and Russians who are critical about how I focused my cameras on the ugly things and not the beautiful things. I always give the same answer. If you want to come to Texas and make a film about how corrupt the oil industry is – I will buy you a drink and show you all the ugly things, please film and share we need help.
In closing - Bulgaria is one of the most beautiful places and Bulgarians are some of the smartest people I know, this is why I made a film about a small network of people who threaten this beauty. Bulgarians have everything they need to correct the course of their future without Russia or America.
For people in Bulgaria only – here are a few links to view the film. As usual if you are unable to afford the $5 – please message us on our Facebook page and we will give you a code.
You can see the conversation in Bulgarian language HERE.
Interviewer for FrogNews Diana Yonkova
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