Hotel Rai

Bulgaria 2010, Documentary, 55' | Director, Screenplay Sophia Tzavella | DoP Boris Missirkov, Georgi Bogdanov | Sound Momchil Bozhkov | Production Martichka Bozhilova, Marc B. Lorber, Agitprop Ltd. | Distribution Agitprop Ltd.

Young Demir dreams of getting married. But his Roma tower block on the outskirts of a provincial town in Bulgaria is no place for romance. 25 years ago, it was a model example of socialist prefab housing: from parquet floors to intercom, coveted central heating, street lamps, benches underneath apple trees. Someone called the place Paradise Hotel – and the name stuck. But things changed drastically. The parquet disappeared. The water stopped running. Piles of rubbish collect on the floor, simply thrown out of the windows. But each of the 1,500 inhabitants has a plan how to rekindle the dream of Paradise Lost.

Hotel Rai is a story about the 1970′s Bulgarian social experiment, an attempt to integrate Roma into mainstream society, and the aftermath 25 years later. It is a documentary about love, misery, a lot of dreams, a few lyrics and a Gypsy wedding with images that are difficult to forget.

SOPHIA TZAVELLA is a television journalist, writer and film director who worked for Bulgarian Television for five years. She has written many investigative reports for the independent Bulgarian political magazine Panorama. She had written a book and made several documentaries, including NDE and Stories about Death.


After the film there will be a discussion about the situation in the north of Dortmund with Kirsten Kordes (KOBER Beratungsstelle für Prostituierte in Dortmund, ) and Tülin Kabis-Staubach (Planerladen Verein zur Förderung demokratischer Stadtplanung und stadtteilbezogener Gemeinwesenarbeit, ).

Sophia Tzavella
Focus: Now What