The Halvadjian clan
How Magurdich started from a concrete plant and laid the grounds of the Armenian dynasty in Bulgarian showbiz. He holds a circus artist diploma; she has graduated as a cellist. Nonetheless, the credentials of Magurdich and Kremena Halvadjian do not play any role in their current occupations. Yet they’re creating and pampering the media stars of today and tomorrow. At this time, they’re tuned to the “Bulgaria Seeks Talent” wave, but the bTV show is by far not all their business, which is woven of TV casts, ads, movies, and clips.
Magurdich is a director and a founder of the producing companies “Global Vision” and “Global Films”, while Kremena is the stylist of the productions and the director’s muse. In twenty years, the couple built a family empire and is today among the key characters in the show business made-in-BG. The Halvadjian clan has a roster of players but the third heavyweight in the TV manufacture is Judy – Magurdich’s brother. Aside from talent hunting, some of the most successful projects of the family are the TV shows “Masters of the Air”, “Full Madhouse”, “A Sea of Love”, “You Have Mail”, “Foretellers”, and “The Magnificent Six”.
The groundwork for success was cast at a concrete plant near the town of Pernik in the mid-1980s. At this time Maggy, as everyone nicknames the elder Halvadjian, is an army recruit. He was put in charge of production in a concrete batching plant near the mining town. Instead of ducking the service chores, he’s working with Armenian pedantry. He realizes that whatever undertakes down the road, he’d hone it up to the minute detail. “I’ve always had a serious attitude to work, regardless of what work it was. When I take an order, I’m striving to do it right. I had never seen concrete in my life. But on day ten, I was already up and running – I knew by heart all cement blends and knew, too, how they’re cheating on with prices, as everybody’s looking to milk the military, since money is gushing there. So the Pernik plant got then the best concrete ever,” rewinds the 43-year-old director.
Since decades, Halvadjian hasn’t smelled the construction mixture. However, his attitude to work – heart and soul engagement, hasn’t changed. To Maggy’s luck, he’s making a living out of his hobby. Halvadjian is the amiable proof that no vaccines are found against the TV bacterium and the cine-virus. In his own confessions, the producer owns 12 TV sets – at home, in the cars, at the office. His phones are also set up to play images and sounds.
“As a viewer, I’m watching mostly the great Italian shows, and as a professional – absolutely everything, because I must know where the things are heading to,” explains Magurdich. Then, he analyzes the current TV picture: “The Bulgarian TV market developed quickly and is pretty rich. What’s bad is that the viewer got spoiled, and grows bored very quickly. New shows are depleting quickly, everything is squeezed out in just a year or two. Western televisions have shows that run for twenty years.” For now, it seems that Maggy and company are well oriented in the dynamics of the TV market and they’re growing in scale. The clan’s projects are gobbling up lots of human resources and, as of today, More than three hundred are on Halvadjian’s payroll.
For the longhaired producer, the pros are more than the cons. “To relatives, you can say things that you’d abstain from saying to your employees. I have no problem firing a relative, and this has happened. I learned to be responsible and to not compromise if I dislike something. Sometimes I felt like giving myself the pink slip,” explains Halvadjian. He admits that sometimes his administrative duties are overwhelming. Magurdich has always wanted to be a director and the camera is his invariable companion. In his youth, while still performing in the circus for a monthly wage of 120 leva, he was shooting weddings and was earning two grands a month. Later, in order to practise his favourite pastime, he shot pop-folk video clips. “It’s disbelievable how did I shoot more than 500 pop-folk clips! Pop-folk is opposed totally, diametrically to my philosophy of life. It’s the lowest point that could ever exist, and people who listen to this music are at a social level that I don’t understand. Then, there was no pop music, no money either. At that time this was the only chance to practise the profession I like.”
In parallel with the “Bulgaria Seeks Talent” show, Magurdich is shooting horror movies for the U.S. Giant Paramount Pictures is his partner. “The tapes are wholly made by our screenplays, we’re shooting them here, and they’re securing for us a market in the USA. He’s forthright that this is the only way for him to make cinema here. “I don’t want a movie to cost me my life,” tells emotionally Magurdich and leads us back to his feature-length film, “The Gain”. This project was the harshest trial for him. Mentioning this production is like hitting a panic button. “I promised to myself and to the team that I’ll never ever subject them again to such a thing. It cost me nerves and crazy efforts to make something with little money. We were working 16-17 hours a day without respite, we tolerated God only knows what kind of tradeoffs just to finish it. Yet ultimately, it even didn’t make it to life. While we were preparing it for screening, the BNT’s (Bulgarian National Television) then-boss Lily Popova aired it on TV, disregarding the contract. Working within such an atmosphere is impossible,” fumes Magurdich.
A whole decade has elapsed since. Then as now, what keeps being his mainstay is his better half, Kremena. Her Holy Trinity outside of the family consists of styling, shoes, and roses. She’s a lady no one could miss. Speaking of her, fashion gurus would always cite her unique dressing style, her collection of hundreds of bags, and the 2,000 pairs of shoes, to which she has dedicated an entire floor of her home. They’d not forget her passion for roses, either – her body is covered with tattoos of the flower, and pictures of it are decorating the walls of her home. Roses are also glowing from the Florence-made candelabras. Kremena is taking care of stage sets for all the shows her husband makes, as well as of show hosts and participants’ apparel and image. Her advice is sought by high-society fashionistas and TV hosts. Nonetheless, Kremena is overlooking her husband’s attire. “He’s saying ‘I’m so busy, I can’t spend time with you too’”, justifies herself Kremena. “Moreover, I’m of such a nature as not to care much. I think it’s a mistake, because external looks are determining of self-respect. But I can hardly be reeducated,” says Magurdich through laughter.