Belarus, Germany, Spain


In a small Belarusian village where time seems to stand still, Jasja, a 9-year-old girl, has to deal with her mother‘s death.
Her father decides to send her to an orphanage. But one day she decides to run away, home.

Directors Statement

LAKE OF HAPPINESS is a personal film for me, because the character of Jasja is based on the story of my father. He was seven years old when his mother died and my grandfather decided to send him to an orphanage. This traumatic experience in his childhood has always been a taboo topic for my father. Although he never spoke to me about it, I know that this is a topic he’s struggled with until today. That left me with a burning question: why would parents give their own children away? As a filmmaker, I tried to find a cinematic angle of view at this personal story. During my research, a good friend of mine made me a present, a new book called “Lake of Joy” by the famous Belarusian writer Viktor Martinovich. This was a key signal for me. I told him at our meeting that I wanted to use only one special episode of his novel, that I wanted to dissemble it, find its essence and re-build a new story based on my father’s experiences. For my screenplay I created a fictional character named Jasja. She comes from a small Belarusian village, like my father. It is very important for me that even though Jasja is in fact imaginary, her role in my film was played by a real orphan girl (Nastyia Plyatz).
In LAKE OF HAPPINESS I wanted to tell the drama about a strong person who at the age of nine dares to build her own way. Not every adult is ready for this choice, but Jasja was able to. We understand that she will still fight in this life.

Director's Biography

Aliaksei Paluyan, a Belarusian film director and writer, was born 1989 in the Republic of Belarus. In 2012, he graduated from the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radio-Electronics. In 2012 he moved to Germany and studied Film and Television directing at the Art Academy Kassel.

Aliaksei Paluyan has become known as a director of fiction short films and documentaries that have been presented at festivals world-wide.

Aliaksei is currently working on his feature creative documentary COURAGE.

2017 COUNTRY OF WOMEN, short

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Aliaksei Paluyan

Written by: Aliaksei Paluyan

Produced by: Jörn Möllenkamp, Eduardo M. Escribano Solera, Aliaksei Paluyan

Cinematography: Behrooz Karamizade

Editing: Aliaksei Paluyan

Production Design: Kiryll Halitzki

Costume Design: Yulia Pyakina

Make-Up & Hair: Volha Siamyonava

Original Score: Siarhei Douhushau

Sound Design: Vensan Mazmanyan

Sound: Vensan Mazmanyan

Main Cast: Anastasiya Plyats (Jasja), Igar Sigau (father of Jasja), Sviatlana Anikei (new wife)

Nominations and Awards

  • Short Film Candidates 2020