June 25, 2020
Let's hear it for another Feature Launch project of the 2020 generation which is about to be presented at KVIFF Eastern Promises. Today, we continue with Bulgarian psychological drama The Sanctuary.
“The help and advices that we have received at MIDPOINT are of great value to us and have helped us create the best for our project.”
Eleni Dekidis, Katerina Borisova, Aleksandra Genova
Irina (40), the single mother of Kalina (18), runs her own fitness center. When her best friend is brutally beaten up by her fiancé, Irina hides her in a small village where she used to live 15 years ago before a car accident killed her husband. The life in the old house resurrects Irina’s darkest secret – her own past as a victim. Gradually, Irina transforms the house into a sanctuary where female victims of domestic abuse can hide and take care of each other. But problems arise when the media, police and the husbands start looking for the women. The relations between Irina and Kalina also get tense as Irina becomes more controlling while still trying to keep the secret of her past. The unexpected death of Irina’s best friend pushes Irina to confess to Kalina the dark truth about their own family and the two team-up to make a global campaign named #Talkaboutit to help other victims truly heal, not hide.
The Sanctuary tackles the subject of domestic violence and explores how the ruined lives of victims destroy the lives of everybody involved. Our motivation is to create an up-to-date image of a warrior woman and redefine the meaning of strength. Who would she be today? Our main aspiration is to show how deep and unhealed trauma can affect the seemingly normal life of a strong woman and how thin the line between victim and abuser actually is.
The Sanctuary is a feature film project that addresses one of the most current topics in our society - domestic violence against women. Founded by women, it is part of our company mission to promote socially relevant women's topics. Frequent tragic news of this kind in Bulgaria has given us reason to believe that shedding light on this problem is of great importance to arouse concern, as this can happen to all of us. In order to present such a strong theme fully, we needed the whole team to work closely together from the very beginning, to build a controversial main character and a corresponding visual key, described by the director as a “dark poetry style”, which crushes beautiful establishing shots with unbalanced compositions. A positive assessment from the National Film Center definitely made us believe we are on the right creative path.