Country: Bulgaria

Director: Zornitsa Sophia

Cast: Daria Simeonova, Leon Lucev, Daria Dimitrova, Peris Wambui, Steve Matias

Genre: Drama  

117 minutes: Bulgarian, English, Swahili with English subtitles – 2022

About this Film

At the young age of 32 theatre director Elena’s desire to become a mother seems impossible.  In an attempt to find new meaning, she develops a life-transforming theatre programme for Bulgarian orphans.  An opportunity to work with orphans in Kenya arises and Elena faces a choice between her dream of having a child of her own and helping hundreds of orphans to start dreaming.   Instead of a family of three, Elena may have gained a much larger one.  Finding her own way, Elena will re-define the word “mother”. 

Powerful, yet delicate and wide-reaching, Mother is inspired by the true story of the remarkable theatre director and cultural activist Elena Panyatova.  Mother was selected as Bulgaria’s submission to the Academy Awards but sadly disqualified because it was deemed to contain more than the 50% limit of the English language. More importantly for us all however, Zornitsa Sophia’s Mother speaks the language of the heart!


A poignant and balanced portrayal of the complexities and challenges of motherhood while  bringing to the fore the ever-present problems of global inequalities.
Golden Rose Film Festival jury

Mother is a powerful ode to volunteering;  look around and see what you can do to make the world a better place…. 
Ştefan Dobroiu, Cineuropa

Authentic, harsh and tender at the same time, Mother tells the story of how, with persistence, talent and through the path of art, the trauma of not being able to have children is turned into a triumph of a different kind of motherhood.  
Nina Alexandrova,

Mother shows us an alternative form of parenting.
Film New Europe

The breadth of the heart is a personal responsibility.
Elena Panayotova