PRODUCTION: Bulgarian Director Stephan Komandarev Preps Hello

    Actress Eli Skorcheva Actress Eli Skorcheva

    SOFIA: The acclaimed Bulgarian filmmaker Stephan Komandarev is preparing his sixth feature film Hello, on low-income retirees in Bulgaria’s provinces. The project is so far a Bulgarian/German coproduction between Argo Film and 42 film, with the financial participation of Serbia’s EED productions.

    Hello is the last installment of Komandarev’s socially engaged trilogy up to now composed of Directions, a Bulgarian/German/Macedonian coproduction between ArgoFilm, Aktis Film Production and Sector, and Rounds, a Bulgarian/Serbian coproduction between ArgoFilm and SEE Film PRO.

    Komandarev and Simeon Ventsislalov wrote the script, which this time is not a puzzle of cab drivers and patrol police officers group portraits. The structure is much more classical and centered on one main character, 70-year-old teacher Blaga. Inadvertently, she becomes a victim of phone scams, and this puts an end to her dream to provide a beautiful grave for her deceased husband, because in order to compensate for financial losses, she is forced to work for the blackmailers.

    Sensitive to acute social problems, Komandarev considers that poor retirees in Bulgaria are “doomed to a humiliating existence” and therefore getting cheated is “especially painful” for them. The research of the two co-writers lasted for over two years, during which they met with authentic victims and scammers. “It became obvious to us that abandoned to themselves, elderly people often turn into easy targets for criminals. This time I want to make a realistic, psychological drama, dominated by emotionally intense moments, with thriller elements,” Komandarev told FNE.

    Еli Skorcheva, who made her debut in Valo Radev’s famous 1981 TV series Adaptation (produced by the Bulgarian National Television), but could not carry out her career throughout the years, was cast in the role of Blaga. Komandarev believes that “the return of this undeniable talent 30 years later will be noteworthy.” Skorcheva will be surrounded by some of the most popular Bulgarian actors like Ivaylo Hristov, Gerasim Georgiev-Gero, Stoyan Doychev and Ivan Barnev.

    Cinematographer Vesselin Hristov also intends to apply a different visual style, which will include shifts of the aspect ratio, passing from a wider to a narrower screen “so that the audience gets intensively involved in the character’s degradation”.

    The total budget of the film is estimated at 1,147,600 EUR. Argo Film is already approved for financial support of 480,000 EUR from the Bulgarian National Film Center, while 42 film is selected to receive 190,000 EUR from MDM. Serbia’s EED productions is expecting further financing from Film Center Serbia.

    Hello was also supported by the MEDIA sub-programme of Creative Europe. The project was developed within the Mediterranean Film Institute and by the end of 2020 it won the Arras Days Best project award equal to 7,500 EUR.

    The 25 days of principal photography are set to take place in October 2021 in the town of Shumen, but before that test shooting will take place in July 2021.

    The premiere is set for 2023 with Germany’s Beta cinema handling the distribution rights.

    Production Information:

    Argo Film (Bulgaria)
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    42 film (Germany)

    Director: Stephan Komandarev
    Scriptwriter: Stephan Komandarev, Simeon Ventsislalov
    DoP: Vesselin Hristov
    Production designer: Ivelina Mineva
    Editor: Nina Altaparmakova
    Cast: Еli Skorcheva, Ivaylo Hristov, Gerasim Georgiev-Gero, Stoyan Doychev, Ivan Barnev, Stefan Denolyubov