ALPHABET OF HOPE
(Azbuka Na Nadejdata)

Stephan Komandarev
Romania 2004 | 100 Min. | BetaSP, OmeU
Q&A with:
Stephan Komandarev

A stretch of seclud­ed, moun­tain­ous coun­try­side near the Bul­gar­i­an-Greek-Turk­ish border, a few kilo­me­tres long and a few hun­dred metres wide. In the 1980s, when the Bul­gar­i­an state tried to con­vert all Turks to Chris­tian­i­ty – demand­ing that they adopt Slavic names – most of its inhab­i­tants flew to Turkey. Many of the vil­lages near this border were aban­doned. But some people stayed. The film con­cen­trates on a few fam­i­lies – Chris­t­ian as well as Muslim – and the uncer­tain future of their chil­dren. Since most schools were closed, the chil­dren have to drive 140 kilo­me­tres to the only school for the 16 vil­lages of the region – at dawn, in a truck, in rain or snow; Bul­gar­i­an, Turk­ish and Roma chil­dren learn there side by side. Their mutual respect for each other’s faith, but also a truck driver and the local doctor, give the par­ents and their chil­dren hope to be able to live togeth­er in this remote landscape.