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    • New Talents Open Call
      Eastern Neighbours Film Festival (ENFF) began in The Netherlands in 2008 with the idea to offer Dutch and international audiences a unique glimpse into the cinema of their neighbors from Eastern and Southern Europe. This annual event presents the most recent, exciting, and thought‐provoking films, from countries with small, but often powerful film industries, that… Read more: New Talents Open Call
    • ENFF 2023 On Demand!
      Unable To attend the festival in person? No problem! From November 27th to December 3rd, we’re thrilled to bring you a curated selection of this year’s films available for online viewing! Catch our captivating Opening Film Ivan’s Land, or the touching Closing Film Seventh Heaven. Or explore a collection of shorts from the New Talents Competition! Follow along… Read more: ENFF 2023 On Demand!
    • What’s up in Slovak Cinema? A conversation with Monika Lostakova
      We talked with Monika Lošťáková about contemporary Slovak cinema.
    • ENFF and the Eastern European Film Festival Network!
      The Eastern European Film Festival Network brings together five film festivals dedicated to promoting and showcasing Eastern European cinema, alongside one partner organisation.
    • Masterclasses
      Through these masterclasses we approach two memory in film from different angles: memories from a personal or collective recollection through archive material.
    • Work in Progress
      In Work in Progress, emerging filmmakers and artists will present their works in development to the audience and engage in discussions with Dutch experts.
    • Festival Timetable Available!
    • Check out the catalogue for our 2023 edition!
    • Music at ENFF
      Every year, ENFF brings special musical guests who bring beauty to the program and further represent the rich cultures of their countries to a Dutch audience.
    • Film Marathon
      Join us for the Film Marathon, a new concept in which we merge two components, Short Films, Big Stories, and New Talents Competition into a whole-day screening of short films!


When theatre director Elena suddenly experiences menopause at the age of 32, her plan to have a family of her own seems impossible. In an attempt to find new meaning, she decides to start a new project with life-changing results.


Both Elena and Leon work in the cultural sector, and together they are trying to conceive. While her husband weighs up accepting a place at the Julliard School of performing arts in New York, Elena is struggling to advance her career as a theatre director. But the discovery that she has already reached menopause at the age of 32 shocks both of them and leads Elena to redirect her energy into a new project: a theatre programme for local orphans. When her husband decides he is ready to try IVF, she receives a proposal to adapt her program for orphans in Kenya. While choosing between her dream of having a child of her own and helping thousands of orphans, Elena rediscovers the word “mother”. The story was inspired by the true account of a character in Zornitsa Sophia’s documentary Modus Vivendi (2007), which followed people who stopped at nothing to turn their dreams into reality.


Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany | 2022 | 117 min

DIRECTOR: Zornitsa Sophia

PRODUCTION: Zornitsa Sophia – MQ Pictures, Focus Media, ostlicht filmproduktion GmbH, NU Boyana Film Studios

CAST: Daria Simeonova, Leon Lucev, Daria Dimitrova, Peris Wambui, Steve Matias

SCREENPLAY: Miglena Dimova-Kumitski, Zornitsa Sophia


EDITING: Martin Savov, Victoria Radoslavova

SCREENING: Friday 25 November / 15:45h / Zaal 5 & Saturday 26 November / 16:45h / Zaal 2

The screening will be followed by Q&A with scriptwriter Miglena Dimova-Kumitski. Watch the video message by director Zornitsa Sophia here. Dutch Premiere

Director’s statement

MOTHER is based on the life of a real person who takes part towards the end of the movie as she plays herself. This fits the documentary style of the film, featuring real orphans and street children both in Bulgaria and Kenya, shot on real locations such as Kibera, Africa’s biggest slum. Aiming for authenticity, I did extensive research in Kenya resulting in scenes in the movie that have actually happened to me. Together with the main actress, Daria Simeonova, we bonded with the orphans and street children to help them relax and deliver their performances – a bond that doesn’t end with the shooting. 

Director’s bio

Zornitsa Sophia holds a Master of Fine Arts, a major in painting. She has written, directed and produced 4 feature films, 2 documentaries and directed 7 tv series, one theatre performance and an opera. Her films are screened at major film festivals such as Warsaw, Shanghai, Goa, Cairo, Sarajevo, Busan, Mar del Plata, Moscow,and has received over 20 awards, two of which were the Bulgarian submission for the Academy Awards. Zornitsa Sophia has served as a jury member at film festivals and has a passion for leading workshops on filmmaking.

Festivals & Awards (selection)

Warsaw International Film Festival, 2022 | Golden Rose Film Festival, Bulgarian National Film Festival | Cottbus International Film Festival