STEFAN VALDOBREV | My Mate Manchester

Words & photographs by Adrenus Craton

In March of 2011, Stefan Valdobrev debuted his first documentary film, My Mate Manchester United at Bulgaria's 15th International Film Festival in the country's capital of Sofia. Here he added 'director' to his long list of talents (actor, singer, composer).

Not knowing at all what to expect, I met him for a chat about his film and how he felt being behind the camera this time. Feeling none of the nervousness to the big premier, something that he said was very unusual, he did have a deep sincerity when speaking of what he wanted the audience to come away with after viewing the film that evening. 

So, equipped with a bit more insight into the film and the man himself, when I arrived for the big night, it became quite an emotional experience - and while watching, it seemed less and less like a documentary and more like a friend telling you an amazing story of how his life had been changed.

A surprise came after the feature had ended. When the main character walked onto the stage, he received a full embrace from Stefan and a hearty standing ovation from all of us - it still brings tears to my eyes to think about it now. 

I won't reveal too many details, because I highly recommended viewing his amazing piece of work firsthand. However, as was said in the film, "I pray everyone can feel the same as me." I was genuinely moved. 

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