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Nevena Nikolova

Nevena Nikolova is a New Bulgarian University recently graduated student in Directing. She has previous Masters`s degrees in Psychology and an Executive MBA. Nevena`s artistic career started as a fringe stage performer. Nevena is a director 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. Nevena`s most recent project is a screen dance short called THE CREATURE 2.0

How did the idea for the Rooftop script come about?

I was reading statistics in a newspaper about the suicidal rate in Bulgaria and at that time the facts showed that two people commit suicide every day in our country. So I thought what if those two people meet just before they do the lethal step… This is how the idea is born and further developed  – first as a very short play and later as a movie script. I was thrilled to explore if one could address such a deadly serious topic in a light and humorous way. So,we jumped into the genre of Dark Comedy (or dramedy). 


How was the casting for the role of Marina Furtzova? What were you looking for in her? What were you looking for in the characterization and creation of the young girl character?

The female character (anonymous in the movie) has been revised several times before I decide on its final characteristics. I had some doubts about the age as well as the reason why she wants to commit suicide. In the first version of the script the girl is terminally ill (of brain cancer). We later reconsidered this part of the story in order to align the with comic feel of the script. During the casting I was looking for someone who is able to perform at the edge of the comic and dramatic, which is quite challenging. I needed an actress that is vulnerable/fragile but at the same time somehow strong and decisive. And last but not least, someone charming and adorable, that the audience will like immediately and will genuinely care about.


The choice of the rooftop as the main space for the short film is very successful and allows for very cinematic spaces to film. Did you have this location prepared before writing the script?

I had already the first draft of the script when we started the location scouting. Once I visited this particular rooftop, I found it perfect, so I revised the script in order to match the specifics of the space.

The color palette of the short film is very restricted. What were you looking for with this cinematography?

When doing my research on the suicide topic, I read some statements from suicidal people explaining that they feel like life has lost taste and color for them. We used this idea when deciding on the color palette. But we didn`t shoot it black-and-white. We kept some, even very restricted, color in order to keep the feeling that there is always some hope left…


What was it like working with an experienced and mature actor like Emil Stefanov and with the young Marina Furtzova? How did you get that chemistry between them?

I did the casting for the male role first and chose Emil who came across a perfect fit. After that we proceeded with joined casting with Emil and the three front-running actresses I was considering for the female role. The chemistry between Emil and Marina was already there at the casting – we only had to nurture it and build on it. When rehearsing before the shooting, I found out that the significant difference in age and experience between the two actors is actually not that of challenge but rather a benefit. Emil was helping caring for and guiding Marina and she was a true inspiration for him with her genuine attitude of a woman-child.

How did you managed filming perfectly an insect? 

We paid it a good fee (laughs). Indeed, we shot a ladybird in the movie. One week before the shooting all the team crew started to search for ladybirds, but we were unable to find/catch any. I was considering replacing the ladybird with a grasshopper, but it was going to change the entire idea… so for a while I was desperate. It is only during the last shooting day, three hours before filming the final scene, when a small yellow ladybird landed on the hand of my co-director. It was a small miracle that we needed so badly. It felt like a blessing for the entire production…


What are your future film projects?

I`m currently working on my next project L+T – a short movie, starting as a romantic drama culminating as psychological thriller and ending as soft horror….