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Milena Kaneva is born in Rousse, Bulgaria 

Graduated: Bulgarian Theater and Film Academy - Sofia

Speaks fluently: English, Italian, French, Russian, Bulgarian


Milena moved to Italy in 1987, before the fall of the Berlin wall and together with acting began her career as a journalist and producer with the news agency WTN (Worldwide Television News) and APTN (Associated Press Television News). She did reports in Eastern Europe, Africa, South America and Asia. As a freelance journalist and producer, she covered some of the world’s hot spots:

  • Rwanda - the Hutu-Tootsie crises 

  • Mali - the female genital mutilation 

  • Brasil - the massacre of Sem Terra at Eldorado dos Carajas 


In 1997 Kaneva found MK Production. 

Her shooting career started in 1997 when she covered the massacre of the 

Sem Terra in Eldorado Dos Carajas in Brazil and produced her first documentaries for RAI 1: 

Sem Terra and the Cabradeiras de Cococ Bababcu.


In 2000 she produced her first long form documentary The Initiation 60min. for RAI 3, about the female genital mutilation in Mali. The film won first prize at Festival of Due Mondi.


The exclusive interview with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Prize laureate kept under house arrest by the military dictatorship in 1995, with which she succeeded to sneak out of the country, connected her work to the Burmese fight for democracy. She then produced and directed the award-winning documentary Total Denial 92min., which was shot by her. It is a result of six years of hard work in the jungles of Burma and in the US Courts. In 2006 the film won the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Award and has been shown at festival around the world, such as Hot Docs- Toronto; Human Rights Watch- New York, London, Paris, Geneva; One World- Prague; Rio de Janeiro film Festival, Bahrain Human rights Film Festival b/w others. It has participated at more than 50 international film festivals and won many awards of the Jury and the public.  

In the years Milena Kaneva has invented and directed film festivals, such as: 

DANUBEFILM Festival – an international festival, traveling on a boat down the river Danube, celebrating 100 years of the birth of Cinema in 1995

Migrant Film Festival in Palazzo San Gervasio and Lecce in 2018, showing films on the topic of emigration.

Mestiere Cinema Festival in Matera 2019, celebration the European Capitals of Culture – Matera and Plovdiv, dedicated to Music in Films, an important “Mestiere”.



  • 2024          THERE YOU ARE – Dust to Dust 68 min. a documentary telling the story of 

                the success of the Bulgarian artist Michail Michailov from Paris, through 

                the Venice Biennale to the Belvedere Museum in Vienna. 

  • 2023          THERE YOU ARE in the Milk of Dreams 62min. 

                Documentary on the Bulgarian Pavilion at the 59th. Biennale of Venice.

                Italian Artist in Herbarium Collection, 3 films part of H Talks

  • 2022          Netherlands Artists in Herbarium Collection – 

                 4 films of H Talks serie

  • 2021            HERBARIUM Collection – H-Talks -15 documentaries of   

                               Contemporary artist, part of the exhibition and the digital   

                               Museum of Contemporary European art.


                        Museum of Rome in Trastevere – curator and producer/director of 

                        the film part of the exhibition : Treasure in my Heart (22min).

  • 2019            Founder and Artistic Director of MESTIERE CINEMA FILM FESTIVAL

                               in Matera - European Capital of Culture 2019, Italy

  • 2018            Exhibition BULGARIA THROUGH THE GLASS PRISM OF TIME at 

                  Sofia National Gallery- SQUARE 500          

  • 2017            Artistic director and Founder of MIGRANT FILM FESTIVAL – 

                  a festival that “migrates” b/w Basilicata and Puglia – Lecce in Italy.           

  • 2016            Documentary EXTRAURBAN Artist’s Residence about the migration 

                  in south of Italy.                      

  • 2012-16      Produced, directed and shot a series of human rights shorts for 

                  Robert F. Kennedy Foundation in Italy, Romania and Mexico

  • 2011-16      Paesaggi del Grano Festival - an Art project b/w Matera, Italy. Paris 

                  and Sofia, Bulgaria              

  • 2008            Producer/ Director  Freedom from Fear 15 min. presented at 

                               Cannes film Festival - Short film Corner

  • 2007-2000 Producer and Director Total Denial 92 min.,feature documentary that 

                 won her the Vaclav Havel Award for Human Rights, Best director at Bahrain 

    International film Festival, Best Jury award at Geneva Human rights film festival, 

    participated at about 50 international film festivals.      

  • 1999-2000 Producer of The Initiation 60min. on female genital mutilation in Mali, Africa,       

                  for RAI 3, Italy, awarded Best documentary at Festival dei due Mondi.

  • 2006-2000 Line Producer Volcano Hunters 60min. and other documentaries 

                             for National Geographic and History Cannel, USA.                        

  • 2005-1995 Producer/ Journalist for APTN Entertainment at Cannes Film Festival, 

                  Venice and Berlin film festivals, Biennale d’Arte di Venezia.

  • 1993-1995 Founder and Artistic Director of DANUBEFILM Festival, celebrating 

                  100 Years of Cinema, a film festival on a boat, “travelling” down the river    

                  Danube in the cities of Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest with the first

                  Co-production Conference b/w the West and East in Bratislava and Budapest. 


  • 1992            Leading actress in Misunderstanding of the Moon, director Angiola Janigro.

  • 1991-1997 News Producer for WTN and APTN in Rome, Italy

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