Written / directed / produced by the acclaimed team of Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov, who kick-started Bulgarian cinema’s international resurgence with the award-winning The Lesson (TIFF, 2014) and Glory (Locano, 2016), THE FATHER is their most accessible film to date, a father-son comedic road movie that is a bittersweet, dysfunctional family farce, yet also humane and compassionate.

THE FATHER follows a day in the life of Pavel (Ivan Barnev), a hapless man whose web of white lies unravels as he tries to stop his widowed father (Ivan Savov) from losing it following his mother’s funeral.

Inspired by a bizarre real life experience of co-director Petar Valchanov in which, after his mother passed away, a family friend insisted his mother was calling from beyond the grave through a cell phone, THE FATHER is a deadpan tragicomedyfrom Bulgaria’s leading and most distinctive contemporary cinematic voice, with elements of surrealism, screwball comedy, and spot-on social satire depicting the absurdity of life in post-communist Bulgaria.

Said Grozeva and Valchanov, “it is the absurdity of our observable Bulgarian universe that inspires our stories. Why make things up when truth is stranger (and often funnier) than fiction?”

After world premiering and winning Karlovy Vary’s top prize, and receiving rave reviews, THE FATHER makes its North American premiere in Toronto. Screen International said, “The Father is a supremely well-honed comedy, segueing between farce and satire.”

Filmmakers’ Bio:

Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov are a writer-producer-director couple based in Sofia, Bulgaria. They frst met at the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts and have been working together ever since. In 2009 they cemented this collaboration into their production company Abraxas Film. They have co-directed numerous shorts and features, including the documentary Parable of Life (2010), the short Jump (2012), and the feature films The Lesson (2014), Glory (2016) and The Father (2019).

Their independent micro-budget feature debut “The Lesson” and its follow-up “Glory” went on to become two of the most acclaimed Bulgarian flms of the 21st century, garnering international acclaim and awards. The titles are parts of the their Newspaper Clippings Trilogy, stories inspired by media sensations depicting the absurdity of life in post-communist Bulgaria.

TIFF Screenings:

Wed., Sept. 11, 6:45pm, Scotiabank 4 (Public 1, North American Premiere)

Fri., Sept. 13, 8:45pm, Scotiabank 14 (Public 2)

Sat., Sept. 14, 3:00pm, Scotiabank 11 (Public 3)