Balkan Jazz

The life story and music of Niko Nissimov and his Jewish friends, pioneers of Jazz music in Bulgaria. Their band Jazz of The Optimists rose to stardom in the late 1930s. The beginning of WWII changed everything for them as Bulgaria joined the Axis powers.

This testimony to friendship and the human spirit is told by Niko Nissimov, his brother Harry Nissimov, band mate, David Eskin, and his Bulgarian friend and rescuer Anton Kirilov. The rich soundtrack is layered with original music recordings by The Optimists. The private documents, photo albums, and archival footage are the backdrop of this amazing story of creativity, adventure, and endless optimism facing of impossible odds.