SOFIA: The Bulgarian director Hristo Simeonov is currently in production with his debut feature My Father’s Shoes, which is a Bulgarian/French coproduction supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center.
Тhe script written by Hristo Simeonov and Petar Krumov tells a story about Mima (21), who was raised by her stubborn mother Boyka (55). She had long lost contact with her father when she learns that he has passed away. When the father’s body arrives in their village, no one can recognise him except Boyka, but she refuses to see him. Mother and daughter must face their own pain as they reconcile with the past.
“The plot reminds me of the Parable of the Prodigal Son in the New Testament. God’s relationship to man is illustrated very well through the relationship between the father and his prodigal son. The parable presents us with the most difficult choice in life: to trust in God’s love, which forgives all things, or not. Could we forgive the sinners? This is the real challenge for our characters in our story. The home is now devoid of all meaning. And the home is the point that marks each departure and each return, whether we think of it in a physical or emotional sense, it holds the values and morals that we share. It is a model and a representation of the family’s unity on a micro scale and of the society on a metaphorical, global scale”, Hristo Simeonov told FNE.
The cast includes Valeria Varbanova, Tanya Shahova, Vyara Kolarova, Borislav Rusev and Miglena Vezirova.
“I’m working with a mix of professional and non-professional actors for a more authentic performance. I will look for simplicity and minimalism to express the emotional transition the protagonist goes through. The dramaturgy will sometimes step aside for a more contemplative image, which will bring about a deeper and more personal level of experience”, Hristo Simeonov also said.
Katya Trichkova is producing through Contrast Films in coproduction with Jean-Laurent Csinidis and Jérôme Nunes through Films de Force Majeure. The financial support from the Bulgarian National Film Center amounts to 214,746 EUR. The project has also won a minority coproduction grant from the French CNC – the expected amount of 130,000 EUR will be confirmed in December.
If the project receives the minority coproduction grant from Film Center Serbia in December 2023, a Serbian minority coproducer will come on board.
“Hristo Simeonov explores the sad consequences of a lack of communication and separation between people, and although he always tries to soften the realism as much as possible, he also stays true to it. The originality of My Father’s Shoes lies in how a missing character (a father and ex-husband) can affect the lives of the people he left behind: his daughter and her mother. Although he is never there, or only as a corpse, he paradoxically is the missing link that allows Boyka and Mima to make peace with the past”, the producer Katya Trichkova told FNE.
Тhe shooting period of 24 days in a remote village near Razlog will end on 28 November 2023.
The postproduction will be completed by the end of 2024.
Contrast Films (Bulgaria)
Films de Force Majeure (France)
Director: Hristo Simeonov
Scriptwriters: Hristo Simeonov, Petar Krumov
DoP: Vesselin Hristov
Set designer Ivelina Mineva
Cast: Valeria Varbanova, Tanya Shahova, Vyara Kolarova, Borislav Rusev, Miglena Vezirova