• Director

    Aliaksei Paluyan

  • Country, Year, Length

    Germany, 2019, 29:01

  • Category

    Narrative Short

  • Format


  • Festival Year



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.


Anastasiya Plyats – “Key Cast”

Director 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 7 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. On that same day, I wrote a letter to this writer and told him I was working on a very similar story at the moment and that I wanted to meet with him. I told him at our meeting that I wanted to use only one special episode of his novel, that I wanted to disassemble it, find its essence and rebuild a new story based on my father’s experiences. Viktor Martinovich believed in me and gave me his approval and the filming rights to his novel. 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 9, dares to build his 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 Biography

Aliaksei Paluyan was born in 1989 in Baranovitchi, in the Republic of Belarus. At that time, Belarus was part of the Soviet Union. In 2012 he graduated from the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics with a degree in engineering and informatics.

During that time, Aliaksei developed a strong interest in cinematography, and in 2012 he started his academic studies at the Art Academy Kassel in the field of Visual Communication specializing in Film and Television by Prof. Yana Drouz. Aliaksei Paluyan works as a director of documentary and fiction films.

Aliakseis first creative documentary, COUNTRY OF WOMEN, participated in the International Main Competition of the prestigious ZagrebDOX Film Festival and won the award „For adherence to moral ideals in cinema art“ at the Minsk IFF Listapad. COUNTRY OF WOMEN was shown at MakeDox and Kassel Documentary Film and Video Festival.

In 2019 his short fiction LAKE OF HAPPINESS (Co-production Germany/Belarus/Spain) had its world Premiere at Clermont-Ferrand ISFF and selected to Palms Springs ISFF, Odense ISFF, Hof IFF.