Voevoda in post-production
by Stefan Dobroiu
- Zornitsa Sophia Popgantcheva has written, directed and starred in this ambitious period drama
Produced by Dream Team Films and Nu Boyana (Bulgaria), and by Focus Media (Croatia), Zornitsa Sophia Popgantcheva’s third feature, Voevoda, is now searching for a minority co-production partner in order to wrap post-production. The €1 million production received a €570,000 grant from the Bulgarian National Film Center. It was shot over more than 30 days between August and October on location around Sofia and in other local towns, but also on sets built especially for the film. Krum Rodriguez (The Lesson [+see also:
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Popgantcheva says Voevoda is her “most personal film so far” and also “the most extreme thing I have done in my life”. Based on a short story by Bulgarian writer Nikolay Haitov, the film portrays Roumena, a young mother in Ottoman-occupied Bulgaria. She will leave her house and family in order to lead (the film’s title means “leader” or “ruler”) a band of outlaws in a bloody fight against the invaders. Popgantcheva stresses that her film is based on the deeds of real-life Roumena, although Bulgarian historians have identified more than 50 female warriors who became chieftains of the Bulgarian resistance movement during the Ottoman invasion.
As for playing the title role herself, Popgantcheva said it was a matter of necessity: after three months of casting, it became apparent that no other actress was more suitable for the part. “After the countless injuries caused by the training and the stunts during the shoot, I started to feel good about not causing such harm to another human being,” says the writer-director about the challenges of playing Roumena.
Post-production is expected to wrap next May. After being shown at the CentEast Market in October, the project will be presented in the Agora Works in Progress at this year’s Thessaloniki International Film Festival (6-15 November).