"A strikingly assured and ambitious feature debut for writer-director Maya Vitkova, Viktoria has a touch of Garp and The Tin
Dennis Harvey, Variety
"The first Bulgarian film ever to screen at Sundance, Maya Vitkova’s Viktoria manages to say a lot in very few words."
Emma Myers, IndieWire
"Maya Vitkova certainly makes a great impact with her first film. She is a talent to watch."
Mark Adams, Screen International
Maya Vitkova graduated from the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in 2001. She worked as an assistant director, casting director and executive producer for over twenty national and international productions, such as the BBC's Eastern Plays by Michael Palin (member of the legendary Monty Python comedy group), before becoming an independent filmmaker.
In 2008 she executive produced Kamen Kalev's Eastern Plays, which premiered at the Cannes Directors' Fortnight and was nominated for the Camera d'Or. Eastern Plays was among the 3 finalists for the LUX Prize, in the official EFA selection, and Bulgaria's official Oscar nomination.
Vitkova completed the Olswang Business of Film Producer's Workshop, a cooperation between the Olswang Business Law Firm and the National Film and Television School, London, in 2009.
The same year she founded Viktoria Films, directing and producing two short film - Stanka Goes Home (2010), which premiered at the Cannes Critic's Week as an ESP special screening and My Tired Father (2011), which premiered in competition of the Oscar qualifying CFC Worldwide SFF, Toronto. Both shorts, written by the 2015 Silver Bear winner Radu Jude, were selected for more than 130 international film festivals. They won awards at Sarajevo, Huesca and Athens, among others, and were distributed by the KurzFilmAgentur Hamburg e.V., sold to the Eurochannel and the Turner Broadcast.
Maya Vitkova's film project Viktoria was selected for the Script&Pitch Workshops, the Balkan Fund, the Berlinale Talent Project Market, the NIPKOW Programm, the EKRAN Programme of Andrzej Wajda's Master School of Film Directing, the Phare Workshop and others. Viktoria was presented at the work-in-progress section of the CineLink Co-production Market in Sarajevo a month after shooting. the film was co-produced by the Romanian production company Mandragora of Anca Puiu and Cristi Puiu. Viktoria was financially supported by the MEDIA Programme, Vienna Film Fund and the Bulgarian National Film Center.
Viktoria was the first Bulgarian feature in competition at the Sundance Film Festival (nominated for the Grand Jury Prize) and International Film Festival (nominated for the Hivos
Tiger Award) among others, opening door to Bulgarian film worldwide in 2014/2015. Viktoria was screened at Karlovy Vary, Busan, Gotheburg, Munich, Galway, Chicago, Seattle, BFI London and many more.
The film had more than 70 international selection and 10 awards, and was greatly reviewed by the Hollywood Reporter, IndieWire, The New Yorker, Vogue Magazine, Screen International, Filmmaker Magazine, Twitch Magazine and more, making it number 4 of the best films of 2016 according to The New Yorker, whilst Vitkova was pointed one of the five best directors in the world by the magazine:
The time spent working on Viktoria: "One of the
great recent films by a woman about women, and it casts Vitkova to the forefront of contemporary filmmakers." (Richard Brody, The New Yorker);
"Viktoria is absurd, often funny, surreal, and beautifully shot. Tonally, thematically, and stylistically it reminds me of Paolo
Sorrentino's recent film Youth." (Julia Felsenthal, Vogue); "A striking first film about a young child without a belly button that explores the relationship of
Bulgarians with their country, history and families." (Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter), shaped the company.
Viktoria Films is a boutique production company, currently in development of three features - Afrika, in co-production with France, Sweden and Romania (development support by the Bulgarian National Film Center), Margarita and Air (development support by the Bulgarian National Film Center), one feature-length creative documentary - Seraphim and in preparation for the short film Lyubima (currently supported by the Bulgarian National Film Center and the Swedish Film Institute).
All the film produced by the company have 35mm prints.
Maya Vitkova was chosen an European Film Promotion's "Producer on the Move" in Cannes (2014). She is currently in preparation for her short film Lyubima (a wide international co-production) and in development of her second feature film Afrika, presented at the Holland Film Meetings, Transilvania Pitch Stop and the CineLink Co-Production Market, and selected for the XII ScripTeast and the 2018 Sundance Screenwriters Lab.
Maya Vitkova is an EAVE 2017 producer.