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South Africa, Pretoria, Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria

Screening of the Bulgarian film “Mother” at the European Film Festival in the RSA, Eswatini and Lesotho

03 November 2023 News

During the period 21-28 October 2023 Bulgaria participated for the first time at the European Film Festival in the RSA, Eswatini and Lesotho through the screening of the film “Mother” by the director, screenwriter and producer Zornitsa Sophia. The film, which has received many awards at national and international festivals, was shown within the framework of the festival programme in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Mbabane and Maseru. Based on the real life and professional story of the Bulgarian theatre director and cultural activist Elena Panayotova, the movie is considered as one of the leading achievements of Bulgarian cinematography from recent years. Filmed mostly in Africa, the film examines universal themes as the human solidarity, the deep meaning of motherhood and the transforming power of the arts in the life of the disadvantaged children in Bulgaria and in Africa.

Organizer of the European Film Festival is the Delegation of the European Union in Pretoria with the support of the network of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC).

The screenings of the Bulgarian film in the RSA, Eswatini and Lesotho took place in full to capacity movie theatres in the presence of a great number of fans of the contemporary Bulgarian cinema both from the Bulgarian communities and from the cultural institutions, local organisations and academic circles. South Africans who have studied and graduated in Bulgaria attended the screening in Johannesburg. The movie screening at the festival was highly appreciated by the representatives of the Bulgarian diaspora in the RSA, who expressed pride and elation from the success of the contemporary Bulgarian culture represented by the Bulgarian film.

Ambassador Maria Pavlova presented the film and its creators highlighting the serious achievements of the contemporary Bulgarian culture, recognized as a specific Bulgarian cultural brand (Brand Bulgaria). The contribution of the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture as a partner and one of the sponsors of the initiative was specially emphasized.

The movie “Mother” was accepted extremely positively by the viewers and received rave reviews in the social and electronic media. An interactive dialogue took place between the director Zornitsa Sophia, the cultural activist Elena Panayotova and the viewers within the framework of each screening.

According to a journalist, covering the event, the screening of the film “Mother” had created a sense of cultural proximity and shared values between Bulgaria and South Africa, which was one of the many high praises given to the movie and its creators.

According to the authoritative cultural magazine CityLifeArts, “the movie, screened by the Bulgarian Embassy in Pretoria, is a beautiful work of art, combining illusion and reality about how the theatre could serve as therapy for society”.

Seminars on the topics of “Architecture of the Movie Screenplay” and “Art and Social Change” attended by students, local actors and film producers, social workers and educational experts in Mbabane (Eswatini) and Maseru (Lesotho) took place in parallel to the screenings. The seminars turned into a platform for exchange of opinions and demonstration of the innovative and socially engaged forms of applied art with an inclusive effect developed in Bulgaria.

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