Ivan, in his mid-forties, has returned to the village of his youth. He has escaped from his family in Finland and is now doing everything in his power to return there and make a fresh start, both economically and emotionally. His everyday existence in Bulgaria makes things difficult however. As a taxi driver on the touristy Black Sea coast, he encounters no less violence and corruption than he does in his home village. The latter is located on the border with Turkey, a place where many make a living from human smuggling involving Syrian refugees. Previously, in his documentary film "The Good Postman" director Tonislav Hristov dealt with life in the Bulgarian-Turkish border region and the various attitudes of its residents towards refugees. In this melancholic feature film, he returns to the theme and thus places more overarching current affairs in a local context. Above all, however, he describes the odyssey of a stranded individual; Ivan can cope neither with the pressure to succeed in the West, nor with the encrusted structures in his old homeland, even if there would seem to a greater sense of solidarity in the latter. In their timeless beauty, the images of untouched nature in Ivan's home village also symbolise the protagonist's standstill.
Text Kira Taszman
English: Peter Rickerby
Weltspiegel (large hall): Original version with English subtitles + German simultaneous translation
Kaarle Aho, Tonislav Hristov, Konstantin Bojanov
Malin Krustev IVAN
Gerasim Georgiev LUDMIL
Slava Doycheva ELENA
Alma Pöysti MIA
Amos Brotherus ANTTI
Andrea Stanoeva / Soul Food , Annika Hellmström / Cinenic
Tonislav Hristov - (b. 1978) is a filmmaker born in Bulgaria, based in Finland and Bulgaria. He directed his first documentary Family Fortune (2008) for YLE and the Bulgarian National Television. His feature debut Rules of Single Life (2011) found its way into both Finnish and Bulgarian distribution, winning Best Documentary at the Sofia IFF and screening at a variety of other fests (e.g. Jihlava IDFF, Sarajevo IFF). Hristov’s next three projects earned him great success and a rich festival career: Soul Food Stories (2013) was nominated for best documentary in the medium-length competition at Amsterdam’s IDFA and also nominated for Golden Gate Award at San Francisco International Film Festival. Love and Engineering (2014) screened at New York’s Tribeca and Toronto’s Hot Docs, opened Visions du Réel in Nyon, Switzerland, and won audience award at Doc Point, Helsinki. The documentary Once Upon a Dream – A Journey to the Last Spaghetti Western (2015) premiered at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
His documentary The Good Postman (2016) was selected for the IDFA feature-length main competition in Amsterdam (2017) and was nominated for the Best International Documentary at Sundance Film Festival and Shanghai International Film Festival.
The Good Postman was also nominated for the European Film Awards 2017.
His last documentary The Magic Lives of V (2019) premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2019 and continued to Berlinale Generation+ 2019 and to many, many more festivals.
In 2022 Tonislav is finishing his first feature film The Good Driver as well as his next documentary film The Last Seagull.