The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner

The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner

35mm – colour – running time: 110min – Dolby Digital


A German-Bulgarian-Slovenian co-production

supported by: MDM – Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung, Eurimages, Bulgarian National Film Center

World sales: m-appeal

Author & Director: Stephan Komandarev

Producers: Karl Baumgartner, Thanassis Karathanos, Stefan Kitanov

THE WORLD IS BIG … is the story of Alex, who, with the help of his charismatic grandfather, Gaffer Dan,  embarks on a journey in search of his real self.

Bulgaria, 1980. Clouds are gathering over Alex’s serene childhood in the idyllic Socialist society of a provincial town. His father, Vasko, gets himself into trouble with the régime. The militia want him to spy on Alex’s grandfather, Gaffer Dan. He is the undisputed King of the dice, and in the café frequented by backgammon players he publicly tells biting political jokes. Many years previously, Gaffer Dan had studied in Germany, and later spent time in Communist camps as a political prisoner.  Vasko refuses to work for the militia. He, his wife Yana, and the young Alex emigrate to Germany.  However, the family breaks up there.

Germany, 2006.  Alex and his parents, now older, are together again for the first time, on their way to Bulgaria. In the small provincial town, Gaffer Dan and his wife are feverishly preparing for their arrival.  But they have an accident on the road: Yana and Vasko are killed, Alex ends up in hospital. Gaffer Dan goes off to Germany. Alex does not recognise his grandfather because he now suffers from amnesia as a result of the accident. The medical team rate his chances of getting better as minimal. Gaffer Dan teaches his grandson backgammon. The ancient game restores Alex back to life. Gaffer Dan drags Alex out of hospital and they set off on the road. On this journey back to Bulgaria, which is also a journey back to the past, Alex gets his memory back, and with it, the will to live life.

Bai Dan: Miki Manojlovic

Aleksander ‘Sashko’ Georgiev: Carlo Ljubek

Vasil  Georgiev: Hristo Mutafchiev

Yana Georgieva: Ana Papadopulu

Baba Sladka: Lyudmila Cheshmedzhieva

Franka: Dorka Gryllus

Line Producer: Vladimir Andreev, Georgi Balkanski

DOP: Emil Christov

Music: Stefan Valdobrev

Editor: Nina Altaparmakova

Sound: Aleksander Bachvarov

Sound-Mixer: Holger Lehmann

Costumes: Marta Mironska

Set-Design: Anastas Yanakiev

2008Sofia International Film Festival – Bulgarian gala
Audience Award
Best Bulgarian Film

Moscow International Film Festival, Russia – Gala screening

LUX Award of the European Parliament
Official Selection

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Czech Republic –
Programme „Another View”

Palic International Film Festival, Serbia – Competition

Motovun Film Festival, Croatia – Competition

Sarajevo Film Festival, Bosnia and Herzegovina – Regional focus

Montreal World Film Festival, Canada – Focus on World Cinema

Manaki Brothers International Film Festival, Skopje, Macedonia – Regional focus

Portorosh Film Festival, Slovenia

Zurich International Film Festival, Switzerland – Competition
Audience Award

‘Golden Rose’ National Feature Film Festival, Varna, Bulgaria – Competition
Best Screenplay
Best Cinematographer

Coolpolitics Film Festival, Rotterdam, The Netherlands – Opening film

Warsaw International Film Festival – Competition
Jury Special Award

Haifa International Film Festival, Israel – Competition

Bergen International Film Festival, Norway – Competition
Main Jury Award „Cinema Extraordinaire”

Molodist International Film Festival, Kiev, Ukraine – Panorama

“Film and the City” Film Festival, Nova Zagora, Bulgaria
Best Film Award

Mar del Plata International Film Festival, Argentina – Panorama

Kolkata International Film Festival, India – Panorama

Cottbus International Film Festival, Germany – German premiere

„Black Nights” International Film Festival, Tallinn, Estonia – Competition
Jury Special Mention
‘Don Quijote Award’ of the International Association of the Film Clubs

European Film Awards 2008
The film was sent to the members of the European Film Academy for selecting the nominations for the European Film Awards


Trieste International Film Festival, Italy – Closing film

Goteborg International Film Festival, Sweden – Panorama

Berlin International Film Festival – Market Screening

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, Ireland

Vilnius International Film Festival, Lithuania – Competition
Grand Prix for Best Film
Special Jury Award for Acting (Miki Manojlovic)

‘Febiofest’ – Prague International Film Festival, Czech Republic – World Panorama

East End Film Festival, London, UK

New Europe Film Festival, Edinburgh, UK

European Film Festival, Ljubljana, Slovenia – Opening film

Bulgarian Film Festival, Rome, Italy

‘Tekfestival’, Rome, Italy

‘The Best of Sarajevo FF’ at the Cinema Art House. Den Haag, The Netherlands

Almaty International Film Festival, Kazahstan – Competition
Best Actor Award for Miki Manojlovic

Cannes Film Festival – Market Screening

European Film festival, Plovdiv, Bulgaria – Closing Film

Taipei International Film Festival, Taiwan – Competition
Audience Award

Yerevan International Film Festival ‘Golden Apricot’ – Regional Competition ‘Directors across Boarders’

Sevastopol Film Festival – Competition
Best Actor Award for Miki Manojlovic

‘Festroia’ International Film Festival, Portugal – Competition
Best Director
Audience Award

Festival of Balkan Films, Bern, Switzerland

Academy Awards 2010
The film was selected as Bulgarian entry for the Academy Foreign Language Award.

Benalmadena International Film Festival, Spain – Competition

Alatri International Film Festival, Italy – Competition

Festival of European Cinema, Asmara, Eritrea

Tbilisi International Film Festival – Competition