Tomislav Mihaylov - Chocho | Attention to detail, please

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Apr 08, 2020
June 23, 2023
Q & A

Q: Which book would you choose to title your life?

A: The Mist…or Gone by the Wind.

Q: What’s your soundtrack at this moment?

A:  The soundtrack from Motherless Brooklyn.

Q: What is the project that you dream of right now?

A: Dua Lipa’s Video Clip.

 Q: Which movie would you give an all time Oscar to?

A: Oh, no. I wouldn’t give an all time Oscar to only one movie! There are great films and there will be greater ones.

Q: If an actor has to play you in a movie of your life, who would it be?

A: Denzel Washington.

Q: If you were a book character, who would you be?

A: Tom Sawyer.


I guess I can say that Tomislav’s career as a cinematographer happened in a pretty traditional way but at the same time – not exactly. Coming from a family with a mother who is a teacher and a father who is а director of photography he was basically raised on TV sets with absolute curiosity and desire to learn all the time, seeing all these people creating unknown worlds in front of his eyes of a child. He felt so attracted to this “true fantasy universe” that deep down he knew that this will be his path. Maybe you will ask what’s the untraditional part of this story? Well, Tomislav didn’t go to art university, he basically taught himself step-by-step in the college of professional experience. For good or for evil - that's how things happened to him and he is grateful for every given opportunity.


He loves the technical aspect of the cinematographer's work - the construction of each frame, the little details that make the picture right, the lightning approach etc., but he also bets a lot on the storytelling. Because people relate to the reality of the story.

There is something extremely important to him in the whole production process, which is often underestimated on our latitude. And the thing that is really valuable for him is the pre-production. For example, if there is a limited or low budget for a film he prefers to take his time with the preparation. You can gather together with the screenwriter, the director, the production designer, the costume designer and “create in ink” of each scene even if you don’t have enough money for a storyboard.There are so many details in every project - colors, clothes, location, set design, props, the way you want to tell and show each scene that reveal the characters and the story. He is genuinely inspired by the teamwork and the ability to make a really well-thought-out and conscious pre-production even over dinner or a morning cup of coffee.


He loves coffee by the way. He loves coffee and long ritual walks with a cup of it in the morning. He loves to go from point A to point B by feet. These days more and more, his philosophy leads him to a minimalist lifestyle – not only in the optimization of every thing that he consumes on everyday basis – clothes, food, fuel etc., but also in the way of minimizing the damage he can do to nature and people around. He loves cooking and washing the dishes - it's that time when he can stay alone with his thoughts and his music - this leads him to his own Nirvana in a way. He likes to go to coffee shops and bars with a nice playlist, that helps him feel like he’s at home. And speaking about home - he fixes everything at home himself. He likes to work with his hands – even more, he loves observing and examining the processes.

“Only if you know one action and one process you can figure out how to shoot it and tell its story.“

The cinematographer in him is back online.

Irene, short film | Director: Tomislav Mihaylov, DOP: Tomislav Mihaylov

If you have read some of my previous articles you know that the project where a beautiful friendship and a beginning of various meaningful projects started,was on the set of the short film “Irene”. Tomislav knew everyone from the crew (Dimitris, Damian, Andrea, Mirela etc.) from different places and he had no idea that this would bring them together fora long time. This was one of the best production processes for him – it was difficult but it was worth it. He was a driver, a director, a DOP, a runner, a producer, you know how it is when you’re an independent filmmaker…but what made it extremely unforgettable for him was the crew.

“Cinema is something you make with a team, with like-minded people.”

Tomislav doesn’t like unnecessary tension and nerves on set. He strongly believes that no one should behave badly or be cruel with others from the crew based on their different roles or hierarchy because in the end you are all in this together.

I Know What You Did, short film | Director: Stanislava Ivy, DOP: Tomislav Mihaylov, Producers: Vlady Gerasimov, handplayed; Nikolay Pavlov, Infinity Films; Jacqueline Wagenstein CineLibri; Stanislava Ivy

That’s why his collaboration with Stanislava Ivy in her director’s debut “I Know What You Did” takes such a big place in his heart. He is truly grateful for the opportunity to work with Stanislava and the rest of the team, experiencing absolute creative freedom. This project is one where everyone is keen on what they are doing and is ready to share all kinds of ideas with the rest to reach the best possible result in his words.

Whether for his undeniable love of music or by some random chance, his professional career gave him numerous opportunities to do music videos for Bulgarian performers.

“You hear a song so many times that you have to love it, so you don't start hating it.”  

Some of the most sentimental projects for him are the music videos.

Plamen Denchev - Имахме цялото време (Official Video) | Director; Nikolay Pavlov, DOP: Tomislav Mihaylov

Lina Nikol ft. K-Ross - До сутринта (Official Video) | Director: Dimitris Georgiev, DOP: Damian Dimitrov, Stedicam Operator: Tomislav Mihaylov, Producer: handplayed


And talking about music…as he often likes saying: "there is no good film with bad music". His personal favorite soundtrack of all times is from “The Fountain” by Clint Mansell.

“I’ve listened to it only 7-8-9-10 million times.”

He can easily identify music with fantasy. Something so gentle and so strong at the same time – it’s exceptional.

The Gap - ADAGIO IN G MINOR from Tomaso Albinioni by Mac Quayle | Director: Dimitris Georgiev, DOP: Tomislav Mihaylov

His inspiration comes from being able to study and examine the work of his favorite cinematographers (Robert Richardson, Roger Deakins, Hoyte Van Hoytema etc.) by watching their movies,listening to film production podcasts and video series. And when he is on set,he dives in the local or foreign cinematographers’ attitude and approach -explores, analyzes them and tries to “steal” the best examples. People often inspire him - their perseverance and ease at the same time. For Tomislav amazing examples of such people are Damian Dimitrov (cinematographer), Nenad Boroevich (cinematographer) and Philip Penev (gaffer). They are among the people who are intensely devoted to their occupation.

But without a doubt the best source of inspiration for him is traveling. You can get in touch with different cultures through their people, food, art forms, nature.

„Wherever you may go,the sun sets differently.”

Behind the scenes | Lina Nikol ft. K-Ross - До сутринта (Official Video)

„Dozens of times I have decided to quit and dump everything,but then an idea is born and it gives you no peace. You go to sleep with it,you wake up with it and you then realize it's like some kind of blissful curse.That's how I fall in love again and I give the next idea a chance even in desperate times.“