Toto and his sisters is an observational documentary developed at the initiative of Policy Center for Roma and Minorities Foundation in 2010, directed by Alexander Nanau and produced in collaboration with Strada Film and HBO Europe.
The production was supported between 2010 and 2011 by the European Commission as part of the pilot project campaign ”REACT – Make Europe an equal place for Roma”, followed by an institutional grant offered by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency of the European Commission throughout 2011 and by a grant from the Arts and Culture department of the Open Society Institute in 2012-2013. The film was also supported by a grant from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program.
Toto and His Sisters was selected in over 40 international film festivals and won several international prizes such as the Grand Jury Prize in the Angers European First Film Festival, the Heart of Sarajevo award in the Sarajevo Film Festival, the Festival Prize in the Budapest International Documentary Festival. Furthermore, the documentary was nominated for the European Film Award and in the San Sebastian International Film Festival. Toto and His Sisters is also part of the Official Selection for the Lux Prize, which is voted for by elected politicians sitting in the European Parliament. The film was on the short list for the Best Documentary Award at the European Film Awards in 2015.
Romanian born, German film director, Alexander Nanau studied directing at the Film and Television Academy in Berlin. His previous documentary film, The World According to Ion B, received an International Emmy Award in 2010. He spent 15 months with the 3 children in the ghetto type community of Ferentari while filming the challenges they face in one of the poorest and most marginalized areas of Bucharest.
The documentary is following the story of 10-year-old Toto, and his teenage sisters, Andreea and Ana, in their everyday struggle to manage life in a run-down neighborhood on the outskirts of Bucharest after their mother is sentenced to seven years in prison on drug charges. The film shows their atypical childhood and their attempts to remove obstacles in the road to a better life.
International press critics:
« Toto and his sisters – an emotional and cinematographic shock! » L’Express
« A film that fascinates, disturbs and makes us think about childhood and life, which sometimes offer what parents could not give » Avis du Public
« Most beautiful fairytales are always born where you least expect it » Trois Couleurs
« Alexander Nanau’s immersive documentary offers a fascinating and disturbing entree into the lives of three kids in a Bucharest slum. […] It’s this fleeting possibility of hope that makes “Toto” such a deeply distressing experience. » Variety
« An extreme film that literally manages to erase the border between documentary and fiction. Direct, powerful… A wonder. » Mediapart
« This is the story of little miracles which hatch in the middle of darkness » Le Blog du cinema