Rouzie Hassanova explores the power of music in Radiogram
by Stefan Dobroiu
- The director’s debut feature also shows how Muslims were treated in communist Bulgaria
First-time director Rouzie Hassanova is currently in post-production with Radiogram, a co-production between Menclips (Bulgaria), Film Produkcja (Poland) and Solis Film (Turkey). It is a low-budget production supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center, Creative Europe and the Polish Film Institute.
The story is set at the beginning of the 1970s in Bulgaria, when the communist regime considered Western music a national threat. In a small village in the Rhodope Mountains, the only source of information and joy is Ali’s radio, but the device is destroyed in a fight. Ali will then decide to travel 100 kilometres to buy a new radio for his rock’n’roll-obsessed son Ahmet and the other villagers.
Shooting took place in July and August 2015 at several locations in the Rhodope Mountains, but also in Sofia and on the Vitosha Mountain. Kiril Prodanov was the DoP, and Hassanova wrote the screenplay.
Producer Gergana Stankova told Cineuropa that the project still needed to secure a final part of its budget in order to complete post-production. “The biggest challenge is the licensing of the rock’n’roll music, which is so difficult to achieve with such limited financial resources,” Stankova said.
Hassanova told Cineuropa that the story is inspired by events in the life of her grandfather and father. A major part of the story centres on the fact that Ali and his friends are Muslims: Radiogram will also explore how the religious minority was treated in Bulgaria during communism. “People were united against the regime and found hope in music and in each other. It is this banned music that inspired my father's generation to seek their freedom in the late 1980s,” the director says as she describes the spirit of her film.