He is a is a Bulgarian-Armenian director, choreographer, performer, and writer, exploring empathy through movement and storytelling. Runs a studio alongside with Todor Barganov, collaborating with numerous artists in Bulgaria and abroad.
With no doubts I can say that Kosta is an interesting creature. What really got me interested was the activeness and seemingly effortless development of his projects and way of thinking. A very familiar feeling of meeting a creative person abroad, that is not shy to present himself, make connections, promote his work and feel great about it.
Story Tap and Karakashyan have naturally partnered up in order to promote and share the projects, films, videos, activities, initiatives and collaborative projects happening around the studio and the whole team involved.
So, …read on for yourselves. Get inspired, get thinking and get on with creating what you like and what drives you.
We have a pretty good example of this in the face of Kosta Karakashyan.
You can find links to relevant projects and social platforms at the end of the interview!
Kosta's new film SURRENDER, d is a poetic documentary that highlights four of the most captivating Bulgarian male dancers (Krastyo Metodiev, Remi Toin, Nikola Hadjitanev & Svetoslav Seropyan) and lifts the curtain on who they are and why they dance.
You can see at the premiere at the Cinema House on February 3, 2022 at 19:00.
SURRENDER Trailer below.
Photography by BORIS URUMOV
Who is Kosta as a person and as a creative? What was the motivation behind Studio Karakashyan before it become the active community studio it is now?
As a person, I am artistic, driven and empathetic. I’m a Bulgarian-Armenian director and
choreographer exploring empathy through movement and storytelling. I am interested in
sparking creative collaboration and bringing together people that would create strong work
as a team.
I believe selecting the right team is crucial to any endeavor, and that’s why besides from the studio’s commercial and passion projects, we are also interested in building a community through the nurture and development of promising emerging talents.
Studio Karakashyan was founded in 2018 as a place to collect all of my projects as a director and choreographer. I was so used to organizing my own work that it didn’t occur to me that I was effectively creating a production company. In 2020, I saw that it was time to go into high gear, and I invited my brilliant friend Todor Barganov to join as managing partner and producer. Since then, we’ve started working on lots of interesting projects ranging from stage to film, commercial projects and immersive experiences.
You are an active lead of the studio, its projects and the community you create
simultaneously with everything else, I am curious to find out how you find (generate) this
energy. Would you have some advice for the people who are trying to put their energy into a
productive project or developing themselves? I bet you have at least one goodie!
I got most of my discipline from my early days as a dancer, travelling to a city two hours
away from Sofia every weekend for 6 years, rehearsing for 8-10 hours a day while balancing
schoolwork and competitions. Those days taught me personal accountability and that I
needed to pursue my passion and goals because nobody else can do it for me.
To be completely transparent, I have my doubts and moments of burnout that feel very
crippling more often that I’d like. My plate is usually very full, but I try to only take on
projects that are exciting or will generate more exciting opportunities in the near future.
I would say the most important thing is being organized and having clear goals.
If you are just starting out, the best place to start is by copying what your idols are doing in terms of their career path. For example, right now I’m reading David Lynch’s biography. For his very first films, he had tiny, tiny budgets. After he made the first film, he invited some interesting people to see it, who commissioned his next project, which led to someone else seeing the film and inviting him to study Film, which led to the projects we all know and admire. That’s a perfect blueprint that any aspiring filmmaker can follow without copying the artistic work itself.
Let’s dance! Besides something you earn your living with what does the movement
represent for you?
Dancing is an incredible way to connect with other human beings. It’s a form of language
that we all possess and it has been a part of humanity probably before written or oral
Movement is fundamental, …
… and we all communicate with our body language throughout the day without even realizing it. Dance, specifically, can be really powerful because of the potential of kinesthetic empathy, which is “the ability to experience empathy merely by observing the movements of another human being”. When watching dance, the same neurons in the brain of the dancer and the spectator can fire up, which has the potential for an incredible sensory experience.
And here they come! The future 2022 projects and their impact for the community. You are
one of the of those individuals that are giving back in a smart way. Would you share what’s
on your plate for 2022 and with whom are you partnering to make them happen?
For us, this year is big on partnerships. For our Artist Development Masterclass series, we
are incredibly thankful to our hosts and partners Kitchen59 for their beautiful rooftop and
people as they do, thanks to their holistic approach to events including marketing, targeting
and PR. We are partnering with two other exciting events later on in the year, but I can’t spoil the surprise just yet!
I don’t know you well, but I’m trusting my instincts and they are detecting your good soul.
And this makes me think you have something important to say. Your own statement
This is something I posted about in the end of 2021 where I saw most of my circle doing
recaps of their own work and projects, but I’d like to see us as a community spend more
time supporting our artist friends and also put an end to cultural appropriation. Bulgaria is
very far behind on a lot of these conversations, so I hope we can work towards a more
equitable creative industry. This is a big topic that I can expand on for days.
The studio in Germany. This really got me interested to be fair. It is the curiosity and the
admiration that someone is not trying, but doing the work in order to expand and bring work
to Bulgaria. Would you expand a bit on this topic, please?
I am super thankful to Todor for being the international bridge of Studio Karakashyan.
I spent most of my career since I was 18 abroad, working and living in Vietnam, Japan,
Norway, Germany, Egypt and New York. Since the pandemic started, I’ve had much less opportunities to go abroad and calibrate my world view with those of world-class
professionals. By having Todor in Munich we are able to offer a much more international
and well-informed process to our collaborators, and we hope to inspire even more
collaboration between the two countries, starting with our immersive performance The Last
How would you finish this?
The end is just an opportunity for a new beginning!
Learn and find out more about this artist and projects here:
Photography by BORIS URUMOV
Collaborators and projects: