Bulgaria, a small Eastern European country of 7 million, is having a moment. For only the second time, Bulgarian is a main spoken language in a big Hollywood film. Joining 2004’s The Terminal
Subsequent Moviefilm, with Bulgarian the language spoken by Borat’s daughter Tutar, played by Maria Bakalova
in one of the breakout performances of 2020. The comedy has catapulted the unknown Bulgarian actress into global superstardom and major awards contention, with a slew of year-end awards to her name already.
Bakalova, 24, also has a small part in the Bulgarian Oscar entry The Father
, giving a visibility boost to the Karlovy Vary-winning title. What’s more, The Father
and its directors contributed to Bakalova’s big break in Borat 2
In a Zoom chat conducted in their native tongue, Bakalova (whose last name is pronounced bah-kah-loh-vah) shares her Cinderella
story with fellow Bulgarian expat, Deadline’s Co-Editor-in-Chief, Nellie Andreeva,