Kukeri : ritual and performance
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Kukeri is a documentary film investigating the Surva tradition performed in the Pernik region of Bulgaria. The film was shot in Bulgaria, in the winter of 2011/2012, over the course of three weeks, and will be completed in August of 2012. During this creation process, I acted as the creator, director, and guide, and facilitated an artistic process that was shared with my cinematographer, Drew Xanthopoulos. Surva is a ritual performance whose purpose is to chase away evil spirits, ensure a good harvest, health, and perpetuate the life cycle: birth, death, and rebirth. Much of the performance is strictly regulated by tradition and rooted in an agrarian society that is thousands of years old. The society is quickly changing due to urbanization and globalization, and this is having drastic effects on the tradition itself. Inspired by a sense of homesickness for my Bulgarian culture, this project was a study of the transitory aspects of cultural tradition. It assayed topics of ethnography, anthropology, and folk costume, but at its root were more complex topics of the value of cultural traditions and the effects of globalization on one of the oldest rituals in the world.