First feature Norma & Swan in development
by Stefan Dobroiu
- Boris Nikolov’s project received funding from the Bulgarian National Film Center in December
Norma & Swan, one of the most promising Bulgarian projects of recent times, is a fourfold first feature: director Boris Nikolov, screenwriter Milena Petrova, DoP Dimitar Skobelev and production company Solent Film are all tackling the complexity of creating a compelling feature for the first time. A story about autism, family ties and how we are responsible for each other, Norma & Swan is currently in development for a May 2017 shoot.
The film tells the story of Norma, a 15-year-old girl from Sofia who wants to distance herself from her single mother and her autistic uncle, whom everyone calls “Lebed” (a word that means “swan”, but can also be used as “stupid”). An unfortunate incident will have extensive effects on Nora’s life and her relationship with her family.
Producer Alex Momchev tells Cineuropa that shooting is expected to last five weeks. The preliminary budget amounts to €510,000, €255,000 of which comes from the Bulgarian National Film Center. Momchev is currently looking for co-production partners. He says, “Finding an actor who can get into the skin of Swan is one of the biggest concerns (…) The film targets a very sensitive group in our society – autistic people. Acceptance and understanding are the core themes of the script.”
As for Boris Nikolov, he says, “The story brings up the question of what ‘normal’ is, and who has the right to judge other people’s actions. I want to provide a different approach to the hardships in the lives of real people, without dividing them into ‘weak’ and ‘strong’, and without judging anyone. Themes revolving around social injustice frequently circulate in diverse art forms, but most of the time they only focus on traumatic experiences and on hopelessness. Our story is different, and it is of the utmost importance to show on screen the positive feelings, the humour and the magic of the story.”