Bulgarian linesman Tsanko finds a large number of notes on a railway track
Read Delano's exclusive interview with directors of LuxFilm Fest prizewinner "Glory"
Drama “Glory” won the critics prize at the 2017 Luxembourg City Film Festival for its tragic story about a railway linesman in Bulgaria whose honesty lands him in trouble.
A week ahead of its general realase in Luxembourg, Delano spoke to directors Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov from Abraxas Film to find out more.
Where did the idea for this film come from?
It came from something which actually happened in Bulgaria in the beginning of the 2000s-–a railway linesman found on the rails a pile of cash of unknown origin and returned it to the police, for which the ministry of transport bestowed him with a new watch, which soon stopped working.
That’s pretty much where the real elements of the story end and the fiction begins.
What challenges did you encounter in its production?
One of the most important things for us was to keep the crew small and create the atmosphere of mutuality and the sense of a common goal that we had achieved on our debut “The Lesson”.
On “Glory”, however, we were much more relaxed because we had got financing both from the National Film Center and the Bulgarian National Television, whereas “The Lesson” was shot on a no budget basis and it was maybe easier then to win people over for the cause.
In the end, our biggest challenge was climatic--we shot the film in July/August 2015, which was one of the most unforgiving summers of late with temperatures exceeding 40°C for days on end. So, around the third day of shooting (out of a total of 4 weeks) we realised we had already spent our entire catering budget on water.
To what extent are the events in this film a fair representation of Bulgarian society?
All domestic reactions to the film so far have been unanimous in that it is very true in the way it depicts our reality.
Unsurprisingly, we’ve received the same comments from people from other Balkan countries as well.
“Glory” was well received in Luxembourg, where the Luxembourg City Film Festival awarded it the critics prize. How has the film been received in Bulgaria?
Very favourably, although it hasn’t been seen by that many people. We had a limited distribution, mostly in small arthouse theatres, and promotion was also scarce.
But the positive feedback was and still is overwhelming. It’s a bit fishy if you think about it.
Linesman Tsanko loses his prized Glory watch when he is awarded a new watch for his honesty. Photo: Tarantula
How did you end up making this film with Tarantula, a firm based in Benelux?
That was entirely the doing of our world sales agent, WIDE Management.
This is the second film you have directed together? How do you share the role?
Actually, we’ve been working together since long before that. We started to help each other out while we were still students in the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia and we found it so productive that we continued after that.
Together we’ve done also one 52’ film for TV, one documentary and the short film “Jump”, the predecessor of “The Lesson”, which was successful enough to enable us to shoot our feature debut.
When we work together, we’re much more confident and brave, and it’s also much more fun. It’s very important to have somebody next to you that both supports and provokes you.
"Glory" will be screened with English subtitles at Ciné Utopia in Luxembourg from 12 April.