Vladislav Todorov

Senior Lecturer in Slavic Languages and Literatures


Vladislav Todorov (Ph.D. in Slavic Studies from the University of Pennsylvania) is the author of several scholarly books on modernism, political aesthetics, performing and visual arts, terrorism and global governance. He has contributed articles and essays to journals such as “The Yale Journal of Criticism,” “College Literature,” “L'infini,” “Neue Literatur,” “Likovne Besede,” etc.

Todorov’s first creative pieces appeared in “Post Modern Culture” (1993) and “Chelsea” (2004.) His debut novel Zift: Socialist Noir (Plovdiv: Janet-45, 2006) was a finalist for the 2007 Bulgarian Novel of the Year and a nominee for the “Elias Canetti” National Literary Prize. It has been published in English by Paul Dry Books, Philadelphia, 2010. It is also available in German, Polish and Latvian.

"… a perverse crash course in the constancy of irony." LA Times.

"… raw, hard-boiled parody takes dead aim at noir and leaves it gasping for breath." Review of Contemporary Fiction

"... a solid little piece of pulp, with a nice subversively humorous undertone." Complete Review

"… a flaming shot of rotgut smuggled in from the old country…. gritty and brisk." Philadelphia City Paper

The screen version of Zift (2008), hailed by “Variety” as "an instant midnight fest fave," enjoyed high critical acclaim in the country and abroad, and won several national and international awards, most notably: Best Film and Best Script (Bulgarian National Film Awards, 2008), Silver St. George for Best Director (Moscow IFF, 2008), and 2008 European Film Academy Awards selection. The movie became the Bulgarian entry for 2009 foreign Oscar. Zift was selected for Toronto IFF Discovery Program, Istanbul IFF, Mar del Plata, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, South-by-South West, etc. Independent Film Chanel (IFC) acquired the US distribution rights and released it on cable and DVD. In 2010 Strange Loop Entertainment bought an option for remake.

Todorov’s second novel Zincograph (Sofia: Fama, 2010) was a finalist for the Bulgarian Novel of the Year 2010 and was a nominee for the National Literary Prize “Elias Canetti,” 2010. An excerpt appeared in “Absinthe: New European Writing,” Spring, 2012.

The Color of the Chameleon (a movie based on Zincograph, adapted for screen and produced by Todorov) premiered in Toronto 2012 Discovery Program. It was selected for major film festivals such as: Stockholm IFF 2012 Main Competition; Thessaloniki IFF 2012 Main Competition; Karlovy Vary IFF 2013; New York New Directors/New Films IFF 2013; Palm Springs IFF 2013; Istanbul IFF 2013; Edinburgh IFF 2013; European Film Awards Selection 2013, etc. “Variety” critics selected it for their 10 European Directors to Watch. The movie received the Bulgarian National Film Award Golden Rose for Best Feature Film; the Bulgarian Film Academy Awards for Best Feature Film, Best Directorial Début, Best Script, Best Art Direction, Best Costumes Design. It was the Bulgarian entry for 2013 foreign Oscar.

“… a peek behind the Iron Curtain turns into a darkly funny trip through the looking glass.” Film Comment

“… stylized, lurid, archly literary pastiche of espionage thriller … demonstrates a remarkable, exuberant sense of strangeness.” The New York Times

“A darkly comic evocation of communist absurdities.”  Variety

“… one of the most bizarre, richest, dazzling films.” l’étoile

“… darkly satirical Eastern Bloc spy thriller with Kafkaesque overtones.” The Hollywood Reporter

Todorov is a voting member of the European Film Academy.


Penn Slavic Languages and Literatures