Tonislav Hristov’s latest documentary, The Magic Life of V, follows Veera, a young woman from Finland who adopts a unique approach to dealing with the childhood trauma she experiences through her abusive and alcoholic father by partaking in live-action role-play, or LARP. On top of that, she’s also dealing with her brother, who has a mental disability and seems to be going down the same path as their father — all while trying to gain her own independence.
Speaking with Deadline via Skype, Hristov said he met Veera through a friend and was fascinated by this therapeutic technique. “At some point in our friendship, I asked her why did she start doing this LARPing, how did she end up being a big fan of LARPing? Then she told me slowly about her personal reason behind it. It looked really like it worked out for her.”
For there, Hristov started to map out the documentary, which took five years to complete. Within those five years, Veera, who had been estranged from her father for 15 years, was able to muster up the strength to come face-to-face with the man who caused her so much pain.
“We always talk that the whole filming process works for her in the sense of, like, she really needed us to be there in order that she can meet her father,” said Hristov, whose film was screened as a part of Deadline’s For the Love of Docs series.
“The decision that I took at that moment was Veera just goes in with the cinematographer [Alexander Stanishev] and the camera and just explain that she’s working on a project, not go into details, and then just try to talk about the things that are important to her and to him.”
While Hristov recalled the day as being stressful for himself as well as Veera, everything came together in the end. More important, Veera was able to obtain the closure that she had been seeking for over a decade.
“She really got exactly what she needed. She hasn’t met him since, but she feels really comfortable about somehow she dealt with her childhood. She said everything that she needed to say.”
Click the video above to hear the full conversation.
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