Screened as part of NZIFF 2016

Thirst 2015


Directed by Svetla Tsotsorkova

In this richly atmospheric debut, a hot summer in the Bulgarian countryside gets hotter when a family acquires two extra inhabitants on their parched property – a well-driller and his unruly teenage daughter.

Bulgaria In Bulgarian with English subtitles
90 minutes CinemaScope / DCP


Nadejda Koseva
Svetla Tsotsorkova


Svetoslav Ovcharov
Svetla Tsotsorkova
Ventsislav Vasilev


Vesselin Hristov


Nina Altaparmakova
Svetla Tsotsorkova

Production designer

Georgi Todorov-Jozy

Costume designer

Elena Stoyanova


Hristo Namliev


Monika Naydenova (the girl)
Alexander Benev (the boy)
Svetlana Yancheva (the boy’s mother)
Ivaylo Hristov (the boy’s father)
Vassil Mihajlov (the girl’s father)
Ivan Barnev (the driver)
Stefan Mavrodijev (the shopkeeper)


San Sebastián
London 2015; San Francisco 2016


First-time director Svetla Tsotsorkova draws us into the unique setting of her debut film and the five souls who inhabit it with spellbinding assurance.

On a dusty road somewhere in the Bulgarian countryside a teenage boy lives with his convalescent father and his mother, who takes in laundry from city hotels, hanging row upon row of bedsheets to dry in the hot breeze. It has not rained for months and water is running low. The arrival of a well-driller and his water-divining teenage daughter gradually engulfs the tiny family in a welter of mutual suspicions. The girl is magnetic and unruly, resentful of her father’s dependency and contemptuous of the sheltered, fascinated boy. Trouble brews like a longed-for storm in the stifling summer air.

“Suffused with golden light, the film’s atmospheric widescreen photography contributes to the dreamy sense of otherness that pervades Thirst. A gentle, lilting flute and guitar melody, sparsely employed, is the only music. But for all its style, this is very much a film about five lost people: and it’s a remarkable achievement, on the part of the director, the writers and the actors, that we care about every single one of them.” — Lee Marshall, Screendaily