Animated documentary by: Veselina Dashinova and Aline Helmcke

20 min  |  Post-production

Cosmonauts Like Chewing Gum is a hybrid documentary that combines live-action, archive footage, and poetic animation. It follows two artist friends who set out to discover how Europe’s past divisions shaped their perspectives on life today.

As a child in 1980s West Berlin, Aline dreamt about the world on the other side of the Wall, where she imagined people valued community over money and goods. Meanwhile, in communist Bulgaria, Veselina was captivated by stories of the “mythic” West, where she presumed that capitalism meant everyone was always happy.

Fascinated by one another’s background, they begin exchanging letters, which evolve into animations. This visual conversation explores the more enigmatic motives of their personal histories. Veselina’s hands are seen sorting through old family photos, postcards, and small objects given to her by her father. In contrast, Aline’s evocative animations of consumer advertising paint a critical portrait of Western society.

Through the intimacy of their childhood memories, Aline and Veselina immerse the audience in the complexities of European history and the realities of a totalitarian regime.

In an effort to unite their visions of Europe, the pair take to a homemade spaceship built from cardboard. From the loneliness of outer space, they can observe the planet and speculate about the future they want for Europe.



Animation: Veselina Dashinova and Aline Helmcke

Edit: Veselina Dashinova

Live Action: Lars Drawert  | Nicholas McArthur  |  Dieter Deswarte |  Aline Helmcke |  Veselina Dashinova

Sound Recording: Kai Hesselbarth  |  Ivor Angelov

Sound Design, Edit and Mix: Fabio Coggiola

Original Score: Fabio Viana

Set & Set Design: Nicholas McArthur

Cast: Todor Dashinov |  Todorka Penkova

Consultancy: Lesley Adams  |  Gesa Marten

Additional help: Reny Traykova  |  Yui Hamagashira   |  Alex Ugrinski

Archive Footage: Intrenet Achieve in assosiation with Prelinger Archives  | Foundation Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv / rbb media

Pitched and developed at: BDC Discoveries  | DOK Leipzig Co-production market  | Power to the Pixel (Special Mention Pitch Award)  |  Ex Oriente

Supported by: Creative Europe Programme MEDIA

MDM Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung  |  National Cultural Fund Bulgaria

Produced by: Activist38, Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakova | Celluloid Fabrik, Jurgen Kleining and Tina Leeb  |   Doni Mont, Donka Ivanova