FNE at 40th Anniversary Golden Rose FF: Mother

    Mother by Zornitsa Sophia Mother by Zornitsa Sophia Courtesy of Golden Rose FF

    VARNA: Zornitsa Sophia’s Bulgarian/German/Croatian coproduction Mother will screen in the main competition of the 40th Anniversary Golden Rose National Film Festival (23 – 29 September 2022).

    The inspiration for the film came from Elena Panayotova, a theatre director whose real-life story Zornitsa Sophia unveiled in her documentary from 2008, Modus Vivendi.

    The directress co-wrote Mother together with Miglena Dimova, tracing a woman, who, at the age of 32, realises she cannot have children. Struggling with therapies, she develops a life transforming theatre programme for orphans. When her husband, the conductor Leon Maier, finally agrees to try in-vitro, she is invited to Kenya. Struggling between her dream of having a child and the opportunity to help thousands of orphaned children, Elena discovers the meaning of motherhood in her own way.

    "The film was shot in the summer of 2021 in 20 days with real orphans and street children exuding the authenticity I was looking for. In Kenya, we worked with the fantastic service company Blue Sky Africa. Their team ensured us safe filming in Kibera, known as one of Africa's largest slums. Together with the lead actress Daria Simeonova I spent a lot of time interacting with orphans and street kids helping them to relax and put on their performances. We built precious relationships that didn't end when filming was completed. The whole cast, including Croatian star Leon Lucev and the Kenyans Peris Wambui and Steve Matias, we became allies on this incredible journey. We lived Mother as a mission!”, Zornitsa Sophia told FNE.

    Sophia’s usual contributor Krum Rodriguez is the DoP. Focused on bringing as much authenticity as possible, he shot in a rough documentary style.

    The film was produced by Bulgaria’s MQ Pictures in coproduction with Nu Boyana Film, Germany’s Ostlicht Filmproduktion and Croatia’s Focus Media, with a budget of nearly 1m EUR. The Bulgarian National Film Center, Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung and the Croatian Audiovisual Centre supported the project.

    The film will run in the main competition of the forthcoming Warsaw IFF (14 – 23 October 2022), and on 17 November 2022 it will open the traditional Sofia autumn film festival Cinemania.

    No world sales agent is attached yet.

    Production Information:

    MQ Pictures (Bulgaria)
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    Nu Boyana Films (Bulgaria)
    Ostlicht Filmproduktion (Germany)
    Focus Media (Croatia)

    Director: Zornitsa Sophia
    Scriptwriters: Zornitsa Sophia, Miglena Dimova
    DoP: Krum Rodriguez
    Editors: Martin Savov, Victoria Radoslavova
    Production designer: Kalina Chelebieva
    Costume designers: Eka Bichinashvili, Sophia Oprisanu
    Music: Darko Markovic
    Cast: Daria Simeonova, Leon Lucev, Daria Dimitrova, Peris Wambui, Steve Matias, Lamar Munene