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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.


Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany | 2022 | 117 min

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


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.

Friday 25.11. / 15:45h / ZAAL 5

Saturday 26.11. / 16:45h / ZAAL 2

The screening will be followed by Q&A with scriptwriter Miglena Dimova-Kumitski.

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. 

Festivals & Awards (selection)

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

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.