This year, Moldova, one of the smallest and least known countries in Europe welcomed over 450,000 Ukrainian refugees, referred to locally as “guests,” into their homes and hearts, despite the country’s small size of 2.6 million people and limited resources. This new documentary explores how and why Moldova, including its small tourism sector, immediately united and responded with open doors without anyone needing to say anything. They just did.
The premiere screening of the documentary film “A Small Country with a Big Heart” took place at the ARTCOR Creative Industries Center, where representatives of the Ministry of Culture, USAID, creative industries, supporters of this project, local and international press managed to meet.
ANTRIM counts among its members 80 companies in the tourism industry and being so close to the sector, collaborating daily with it, I was there, when the wave of refugees from Ukraine crossed the border of the Republic of Moldova. Our wineries, guesthouses and hotels have opened their doors wide to shelter these people and offer them a helping hand. Focusing all resources and attention on helping and sheltering refugees. Inspired by what happened, by the solidarity and hospitality of the Moldovans, we decided to create a documentary entitled “Small country with a big heart”. The protagonists of the film actually represent – all the touristic guesthouses in Moldova, where we are always waiting for some welcoming hosts and full of true kindness and hospitality!
This documentary film defines what we are trying to tell the whole world, the Moldovan hospitality. It’s not an invented story, it’s a documented, true one. And it deserves to find its viewer in the world, who just doesn’t know the truth, but I’m sure that it is curious, as it curious about The Little Land with a Big Heart, somewhere in Europe.
The film documents the story through the eyes of eight hosts from five rural guest houses throughout Moldova. On the front line of this humanitarian crisis, they decided immediately to open their guest houses, normally used for tourists, to host their Ukrainian guests and provide safe refuge, hot meals and a welcoming smile.
These real-life hosts include: Hanul lui Hanganu, Vila Roz, Casa Veche, Gagauz Sofrasi, Eco-Resort Butuceni.
During the documentary, these Moldovan hosts share their experience and the unbelievable stories of the Ukrainians they took into their communities. By talking with them, we feel and understand the fine relationship between neighbors and people who have shared a border all their lives.
I am glad that these stories will be seen by more people and abroad to understand what “A small country with a big heart” means. These families represent the culture and hospitality of the Moldovans, who offered an oasis of tranquility and safety to the neighbors in great difficulty.
Another important message of the film: the viewer understands from this complex and dramatic context the true nature of Moldovan hospitality. Genuine, even in times of need.
It also is the story of how a small tourism sector immediately united and acted in response to a humanitarian crisis, showing the potential impact and strength of the tourism community. The documentary gets its name from how the international press and United Nations began to refer to Moldova and its heartfelt response to when, overnight, the country became home for tens of thousands of Ukrainian families seeking safety.
Beyond these stories, the documentary takes you all across Moldova to see some undiscovered places in this little known country. What you will see may surprise you. The team that traveled this spring through the country and made the film in record time is from the Republic of Moldova, made up of young filmmakers:
Director: Lucia Lupu and Daniela Donici,
Director of photography: Lucian Spataru
Editing: Vlad Bolgarin
Sound: Alexe Pupăzan
Production: ANTRIM, Lulu Creative
Idea & Concept: Daniela Donici
For more information about “A Small Country with a Big Heart” and how to host screenings of the documentary film, please get in touch at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We can also arrange interviews with the directors and hosts featured in the film.
This documentary film is produced by the National Association for Inbound and Domestic Tourism of Moldova (ANTRIM) and Moldova Travel with the support of The Competitiveness Support in Light Industry and Tourism Activity (MCTA), funded by the USAID Project for Economic Development, Governance and Enterprise Growth in Europe and Eurasia (EDGE).