Workshop with Stephan Komandarev

On the fifth day of the Festival, Directions by the Bulgarian director Stefan Komandarev premiered in Serbia. After the screening, the director held a workshop for the participants and guests.

Bulgarian nominee for the Oscars twice alreday, Komandarev is a director who insists on the poetry of migration and transition, which he feels as the central problems of his country, common to most countries of Eastern Europe. Directions is a film that could easily be placed in Serbia, Romania or Bosnia, which makes it socially universal, recognizable and significant for an entire region.

As with films The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner (2008) and The Judgement (2014), Directions too are obsessed with the transition crisis and migrations to the countries of Western Europe. While the previous two films depicted the lives of Bulgarians who moved to the West and migrants passing through Bulgaria on their way to the West, it is now about the life of Bulgarian cabbies, who Komandarev uses as representatives of the entire Bulgarian society.

Bulgaria is a country of optimists, Komndarev quoted one of his characters, because pessimists and realists have already left. This joke is the essence of Komandarev’s sense of life and the mood of his films. No matter how hard and rough his image of the society is, the director does not shun humor or hope.

I made this film for my children, because I am worried about the world they live in, Komandarev concluded and added, in the style of the jokes about pessimists, that there was still hope.

Bulgaria’s film premiere is yet to happen, but the director shared the story of the film’s test screening shown only for taxi drivers from the Bulgarian capital. About 250 taxi drivers saw the film, says Komandarev, and accepted it as the truth about themselves. For him, this was the ultimate test for the film and the confirmation of the optimism he chooses to stick to.