Jessica Woodworth's latest film "LUKA", a co-production with Bulgaria, will have its world premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival 2023

The film will participate in the "Big Screen" competition of the festival

The inspiration for the new film story told by the "Golden Lion of the Future" winner Jessica Woodworth ("Khadak", "King of Belgians", "The Barefoot Emperor") for "LUKA" (Belgium-Italy-Netherlands-Bulgaria-Armenia) comes from Dino Buzzati's masterpiece ‘The Tartar Steppe’, a haunting masterpiece that has as many interpretations as readers. The main character, Luka, is a young soldier who yearns to go into battle and finds himself in an isolated fortress. In it, a squad of men wait in vain for the attacks of a mysterious enemy.

"The film, transposes the premise of the story to a wind-swept, parched earth of the future that reflects our deepening climate emergencies... The protagonists are held hostage by illusions and to the march of time that renders their existence increasingly absurd. Luka's hunger for war slowly subsides as he falls under the mysterious spell of Fort Kairos and into the comfort of newfound friendships with two fellow soldiers. Their bond brings warmth and light into their otherwise bleak world until things take a tragic turn... A colossal unfinished dam in Sicily and the awe-inspiring slopes of Mount Etna provided the ideal stage for "LUKA", says the director Jessica Woodworth.

This film shines with the presence of the legendary Geraldine Chaplin, and the main role is entrusted to the young Jonas Smulders, one of the promising Berlinale's "Shooting Stars". The cast also includes Jan Bijvoet, Samvel Tadevossian, Django Schrevens, Sam Louwyck and others. In one of the key roles is the Bulgarian actor Valentin Ganev. The cinematographer of the film is Virginie Surdej – with many films presented at Cannes; the music is by Teho Teardo - he composed for films by Paolo Sorrentino and Gabriele Salvatore, the production designer is Sabina Christova, and the costume designer is Eka Bichinashvili. Bulgarian co-producer of the film is Art Fest (Mira Staleva, Stefan Kitanov), the financing is provided by the EA "Bulgarian National Film Center". The project is supported by the Creative Europe Media program of the European Union and Eurimages. The film was produced by Peter Brosens.

"LUKA" will meet the audience for the first time in the competition program "Big Screen" at the prestigious international film festival in Rotterdam at the end of January 2023.

The film will be part of the 27th Sofia Film Festival's programme!