Screened as part of NZIFF 2012

The Boy Who Was a King 2011

Directed by Andrey Paounov

Compelling, seductively humorous doco about Simeon II of Bulgaria’s rollercoaster journey from boy king in 1943 to popular hero in 2001. “A mesmerizingly strange true-life tale– a documentary delicacy to savour.” — Time Out

Bulgaria / Germany In Bulgarian and English with English subtitles
90 minutes Colour and B&W / DigiBeta



Martichka Bozhilova


Boris Missirkov
Georgi Bogdanov


Svetla Neykova
René Frölke
Georgi Bogdanov
Andrey Paounov


Ivo Paunov


Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha


Toronto, London 2011


With warmth and humour, auteur documentarian Andrei Paounov applies an absurdist eye to the rollercoaster relationship of a European royal and the country he was born to rule. It was 1943 and Bulgaria was an ally of Nazi Germany when Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was crowned Tsar. He was seven years old. Two years later the monarchy was overthrown and the royal family sent into exile. It was 50 years before the Communist regime collapsed, and suddenly Simeon was welcomed home by massive crowds chanting ‘We want our King!’. Creating a new political party, he sought democratic power as prime minister in 2001.

Abetted by the personable man himself and a trove of archival gold, Paounov is a seductive story-teller, with a sly gift for lateral excursions which turn out to yield treasure. Niftily staged commentaries from citizens, both dedicated and disaffected, provide a throaty chorus to Simeon’s urbane, ironic views of nationalism, monarchy and class relations. — BG