Poetess Maria Laleva debuts as a screenwriter and producer. By Georgi Toshev
The new Bulgarian feature film “Damascena” is expected to be among the most watched titles this winter in Bulgaria. It is entirely filmed with private resources and is based on a true story. The main character is a common boy, born and raised in the Rose Valley in the 1960s. The plot tracks the character Techo’s path to the present day. The action unfolds entirely in the Rose Valley and covers a period of over 50 years.
“ ’Damascena’ is a film about the Bulgarian dream! “, is how the director Todor Anastasov presented the latest production as the shoot completed in the town of Kazanlak. “For two hours, the viewer will experience the four elements of human life: from the dream of one’s little paradise in the favourite place of the roses, through the collision with demagogy and lying, to the precipitation of pain and the decision to realise the dream, not in any other other place but in Bulgaria,” says Maria Laleva, the poetess for whom this is also the first film as a producer.
Techo’s story begins in the fairy-tale world of a small village at the foot of the Balkan mountain, where he first felt the magic of water, rocks, roses and the warmth and cosiness of his grandparents’ house. The little dreamer finds his “place” and stays there for good. His whole life is subordinated to the dream of staying in the valley and creating a small paradise from his favourite place.
Will he be able to stand up after a severe diagnosis and fight for his Bulgarian dream?
The shooting of “Damascena” took almost a year. Among the 56 actors who took part in the film are Veselin Plachkov, Dimitar Banenkin, Neda Spassova, Simona Halacheva (debut on the big screen for the young star of Sofia theatre) and Lyuben Chatalov. During the production of the film, Damascena Film House engaged around 1300 people for the mass scenes, which makes it one of the largest film productions in Bulgaria in the last 25 years.