In ninth grade, it never crossed Svetla Tsotsorkova's mind that she would make movies one day. Her greatest interest was Madonna and she was trying to follow in the footsteps of the star. She sang, played guitar and recorded herself with a VHS camera which she borrowed from her neighbors. Her stage outfit was her mother's jumpsuit. Her career as a future pop star fell through when her mother found one of these records. Today, however, Tsotsorkova strongly suspects that most of all she wanted to look like Madonna as shot by David Fincher in the video for "Vogue."
She told her family that she wanted to study directing when she was nineteen years old and entered the class of Georgi Dyulgerov at VITIZ; she is now an established director, producer and screenwriter. She received the Jamison Award at the Sofia Film Fest in 2004 for her short feature film Zhivot sas Sofia.
Her two feature films Thirst (2015) and Sister (2019) won a number of awards at international festivals. She says that making movies can be tiring, thankless, annoying, ruinous, hysterical, draining, it can consign you to poverty and ruin all your illusions.
But most importantly, it is incomparable.
What is the biggest challenge to your work posed by the new pandemic conditions?
Before, actors had to overcome their shame in order to shoot erotic scenes. Now they will have to overcome their fear.
What are the pros and cons of your work from the fact that the world is isolated and slowing down its pace, meetings, festivals?
I've always wondered who these people are that go from festival to festival. Sometimes I would see the same faces in France one day and in Siberia the next. They were not screenwriters, actors, directors, producers... Then who were they, dammit!? They addressed each other by their first names, they were always slightly drunk and smoked with finesse. When they started canceling festival after festival in March, I thought about these people and felt sorry for them. They have been left homeless, the poor darlings, their homes were planes, hotels and cocktails.
They say the air has gotten much clearer over the last few months.
And what has changed for you in your attitude towards life, the world, other people?
The thing that has changed the most is our garden. It has never been so dug up, fertilized and watered as during these few months of isolation. I had more time for my son and my husband. And time to watch the snow melt. I do not believe in stories about people changing. The pandemic will pass as so many other cataclysms have passed. The thief will remain a thief, the jealous man will still be jealous, and the fool remain a fool. "But where is last year's snow?" as Villon said.
photographer: Veselin Hristov, on the set of Sister
What will be the most significant change in the field of cinema? Will new forms or genres appear, different ways to screen films?
There have always been great speculators who manage to squeeze money out of every disaster. I see that some nimble people have already begun to cash in on the coronavirus. They create web series and stuff like that. It's all good.
The shortest scenario involving the coronavirus in a featured part that immediately comes to mind?
"Masks are the only requirement!" the nudist said.
How did the pandemic affect the distribution of your second feature film, Sister?
Sister is just starting out. The film was bought for distribution in France, China and Poland, but the pandemic delayed its launch. It averaged around a festival a week: it premiered at the San Sebastian festival, where it received a special jury award, then it was at the festival in Warsaw and won the FIPRESCI Young Jury Award, the main prize in Cottbus, Germany, the main prize in Skopje, North Macedonia. Then came March, and the only award was that we got to stay home. And that's not a small thing.
What is your next film about and what stage is it at?
Before funding is secured, films are just imaginary concepts that exist in the minds of their creators. You know that Lenin is supposed to have said that "of all the arts, the most important one for us now is cinema!" To paraphrase, the most important thing for Bulgarian filmmakers is the commission that decides which films will get made. There are a lot of candidates and not much money. You would have to be a clairvoyant to know if you are going to shoot anytime soon. This is also the name of our next project – The Clairvoyant.