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Friday, April 26th, 10:00 AM

Elena, an inspired theater director, loses her ability to have children at the age of 32. Trying therapies and failing to convince her husband Leon, 50, to stay with her in Bulgaria and to keep trying, Elena develops a successful life-transforming theater program for orphans. She is invited to do the same in Kenya, where the number of orphans is massive at the same time, when Leon proposes her to start ‘in vitro’ with donated egg cells. Elena has to choose between her dream of having a child of her own and helping thousands of orphans to start dreaming. Finding her own way, Elena will redefine the word “mother”. Inspired by a true story.


Zornitsa Sophia is Master of Fine Arts, major in painting with over 60 exhibitions worldwide. She written and directed 4 feature films and 2 documentaries and directed 7 tv series, one theater play and an Opera. Her films were screened at major film festivals like Shanghai, Sarajevo, Warsaw, Mar del Plata, Moscow, Goa, Cairo, Pusan, New Directors/New Films, received over 20 awards, two of her films being the Bulgarian submission for the Academy Awards. Zornitsa Sophia served as a jury member at film festivals and has the passion of leading workshops on filmmaking in a “learning by doing” process.


Zornitsa Sophia


Zornitsa Sophia, Miglena Dimova


Zornitsa Sophia


Daria Simeonova, Leon Lucev, Peris Wambui, Steve Matias, Daria Dimitrova, Lamar Munene

Year Released:







Oh brother, mother. Does the word “mother” evoke the most emotions, debate and controversy in the world’s history of time?
We all have our favorite TV sitcom mom from childhood; we’ve all seen evil moms get played out in the movies; and real life moms can get blamed for a lot and credited very little – depending on who you’re asking. Moms wear all the hats in life: caregiver, nurse, teacher, cheerleader, negotiator, cook and on and on – it’s endless. And it’s probably the most difficult job in the world.

Zornitsa Sophia Popgantcheva, director of “Mother” based her story on Elena Panayotova, a real life theater director. Both are from Bulgaria. The real life Elena makes a welcome appearance at the end of the movie, creating a nice documentary -type ending.

In the movie, Elena’s journey is all about motherhood, both personally and professionally.

Young child Jomo: “I think this is a very sad picture.”
Elena: But why? I only see happy faces.”
Jomo: I see only one mother. And a lot of children.”

Artists for Children was created by Elena. In the movie she says that art is to show the new horizons, the future. That what art will give them, will stay with them forever.
Because the program reaches many orphans and street children, she says that they shouldn’t personalize the feelings that art provokes in them. That those feelings are not a substitute for intimacy or a family. But in art, masks can hide and heal identities. Having that burden eased will help them dream.

Watching the children in Bulgaria and Kenya expressing and blossoming through their art – music, dancing and plays – was beautiful and exciting to see. And so very authentic! It’s obvious how beneficial and wonderfully positive this program is to their lives.
And always, when someone’s life is better, the world is better. We’re all part of the whole.
Watching it, you’ll be inspired too.

Jean Sulli

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