/ Presented as part of Filmatique's Foreign Language Oscar Submissions II Series //
Exclusive Interview with Ivaylo Hristov
Spotlight on Losers
Ivaylo Hristov / 2015, Cinemania, Chicago European Union Film Festival, Cyprus, Giffoni, Golden Rose Film Festival, Love is Folly International Film Festival, Moscow, Munich, Sofia, Zlín / 97'
Teenage Koko lives in a nondescript town in Southern Bulgaria. His parents moved to Greece where the wages are higher, leaving Koko alone to care for his grandmother, an elderly and unwieldy woman with Alzheimer's. Koko is in love with Elena, an aspiring singer who seems only to care about a famous rock band scheduled to pass through town. On the night of the big event, the social fabric of the teens' provincial lives is thrown into disarray, paving the way for new constellations.
Featuring impressive performances from its cast of young actors, Losers offers an eccentric vision of friendship, family and growing up at the edges of Europe. Ivaylo Hristov's third feature premiered at Munich, Giffoni, Cyprus, and Zlín, where it won a Special Jury Mention; Moscow, where it won Best Film and the Russian Critics Award; the Love is Folly International Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize; and Sofia, where it won the Audience Award. Losers won Best Film, Best Leading and Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Sound at the Bulgarian Academy Awards and was selected as the country's submission to the 89th Academy Awards. It was not nominated.
"Losers succeeds in conveying its far-from-subtle message ('Loser—a person born in Bulgaria,' says one of the characters) in a cheerful tone… Hristov peppers his story with poetic and funny moments: a girl named Girl… plays with a dog named Dog; Koko's grandmother gives him the slip on a draisine; a teacher scolds a nerdy student for not having gone to the concert, and so on. These are moments that suggest that playful energy is a means of escaping from the town's tranquil life… Hristov’s generous screenplay gives them all occasions to shine"
- Stefan Dobroiu, Film Review, Cineuropa