List Film

Family Portrait in Black and White

Family Portrait in Black and White
  • 2011
  • Canada/Ukraine
  • 99 min
  • Directed by: Julia Ivanova

Telling the story of how a Bulgarian woman became mother to 27 children, this documentary examines the complex relationships between her and her foster children, predominantly from West African immigrants.

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Winner of Best Canadian Documentary at Hot Docs, Family Portrait tells the extraordinary story of Olga Nenya, a Bulgarian woman who is now mother to 27 children. Most of the kids are biracial, the offspring of West African immigrants who have disappeared, been deported or lost their custody rights. Olga is a tireless foster mother teaching them all to live in perfect harmony in the bosom of a family that has been compared to a Benetton advert. It all sounds admirable but Olga is also controlling; blocking adoption offers and stifling independence. Filmed over three years, this is a compelling documentary on a complex issue. Part of Glasgow Film Festival 2012: Stranger than Fiction.

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