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Interview with "Rooftop" director Nevena Nikolova

Nevena Nikolova is an actress, screenwriter, director and producer - New Bulgarian University recently graduated student in Directing. Nevena`s artistic career started as a stage performer with numerous roles in various fringe theatre shows. Nevena is a director of the theatre shows Victoria Station and The Collection both by Harold Pinter. MORNING is her debut movie and ROOFTOP is her second film for both of which she is the producer, the director and the screenwriter.

ROOFTOP (original title ПОКРИВ) Short Film Country of production - Bulgaria Year - 2022 Duration - 15’45`` Cast and crew Directors: Nevena Nikolova, Petar Gerzilov Writer: Nevena Nikolova Cinematography: Mincho Minchev Composer : Camille Saint Saens "Danse macabre" Music performed by Syon Nayman Editor: Bohos Topakbashian

Producer: Nevena Nikolova, Milen Manev Cast: Emil Stefanov, Marina Furtzova Synopsis: Two strangers meet at the rooftop of a 20-story hotel building, both with the intention to commit suicide.

Cine Review: Nevena, your film is about two strangers who meet on the roof of a 20-story hotel building, both with the intention of committing suicide. Why did you choose the theme of suicide? I had exposure to suicidal people during my university studies in Clinical Psychology. Back then, I found it very challenging to try to understand the suicidal mind as a prerequisite to prevent a lethal outcome. I was really surprised to discover that once the decision is made to end own life the person`s psychological state sensibly changes. They become calmer, more open, less tense, problematic behaviors decrease…people look somehow happier… It is exactly this very peculiar state of mind, when the person is still alive but has chosen the death and is heading to it, that I`m trying to explore in ROOFTOP. CR: What are the suicide statistics in Bulgaria? What is the most common reason for this? I have read a couple of years ago that in Bulgaria two people commit suicide every day. So, I thought, what if these two people meet that day while trying to end their lives… When preparing for the writing of Rooftop script I did research of the most common reasons for committing suicide and it turned out that the depression and other mental illnesses, as well as severe somatic diseases are among the most common reasons. The other reasons are severe loss – death of close relative, divorce, separation; problematic relationships with the partner or the parents, loneliness or unrequited love, professional or educational failures, strong feelings of guilt, shame or fear of public humiliation. CR: Can you please tell us how the casting went? The male character was inspired by a specific actor I knew and wanted to cast for the role but he turned it down. So, I invited three other actors and managed to find the best fit among them. It was by far more difficult with the lead female role as we considered more than 30 actresses during six months period. When I choose the actress, I made an important revision of the script in order to adapt it to the performer. CR: How many rooftops in Sofia did you consider for a shooting location? I was very lucky with the location. The first rooftop I have visited was a bullseye. I checked 2-3 others just in case but I was fully convinced that the first one is the one… CR: What message do you send to the audience with this film? The film is built around the belief that in our existence both the death and the salvation are just one step away. Or just one person away. CR: Please tell us about yourself. What path did you take to get into the cinema? I have just finished my master`s degree in Directing. My previous university background is in Psychology and in Business Administration. My artistic career started as a stage performer with numerous roles in various fringe theatre shows. My first director experience was to put on stage the plays of Harold Pinter - Victoria Station and The Collection. During my university studies I created my debut silent movie MORNING that was nominated for Best International Short Film award in Cannes 7th Art film festival in 2022. ROOFTOP is my second film. For both movies I`m the producer, the director and the screenwriter. CR: What project are you currently working on? I`m finalizing the script of my third short – a psychological thriller exploring an unusual love story. In the meantime, I`m working on a screen dance project as well… CR: What are your plans for the future? I hope to gain enough experience, confidence and credibility to have the chance to shoot a feature movie in the near future. CR: Nevena, we believe in your further advancement in your film career. You have shown time and time again that you are determined. You have the power to create and great potential. Good luck in promoting projects and in all endeavors.



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