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Sofia International Film Festival

For 16th year Sofia International Film Festival will gather together in Sofia films, guests, stars, journalists and cinema fans from 9th until 18th March 2012. Featured in Variety’s Top 50 of cinema festivals, the event presents Bulgaria to the world as the host one of the important film festivals in Europe and takes place annually in March. What started as a thematic music film festival, went through 15 previous editions to become the cinema event of the year, bringing the current world cinema trends to the domestic viewers in Bulgaria and the latest in Bulgarian cinema to the rest of the world.

Since 1997 more than 1,600 feature films and documentaries have been screened within the festival’s framework. More than 1,000 distinguished guests have attended, including established professionals such as Wim Wenders, Volker Schlondorff, Katja Riemann and Karl Baumgartner (Germany), Alan Parker, Peter Greenaway, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Tony Palmer and David Mackenzie (United Kingdom), Nikita Mikhalkov, Andrei Konchalovsky, Karen Shakhnazarov and Bakhtyar Khudojnazarov (Russia), Jiri Menzel, Jan Sverak, Jan Hrebejk and Petr Zelenka (Czech Republic), Emir Kusturica (Yugoslavia), Krzysztof Zanussi (Poland), Otar Iosseliani (Georgia), Jean-Claude Carriere, Agnes Varda, Siegfried and Jacques Dorfmann (France), Assumpta Serna (Spain), Bent Hamer and Unni Straume (Norway), Jafar Panahi and Babak Payami (Iran), Jerry Schatzberg, Michael Wadleigh and Lech Kowalski (USA), Jos Stelling (the Netherlands), Mika Kaurismaki (Finland), Friðrik Þór Friðriksson (Iceland), Lone Scherfig (Denmark), Kornel Mundruczo (Hungary), Goran Markovic, Goran Paskaljević, Radivoje Andric, Dusan Milic, Srđan Karanović and Srđan Dragojević (Serbia) and many others.
The festival is organized by Art Fest under the auspices of the Municipality of Sofia and in partnership with the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, the National Palace of Culture, the National Film Center and the Bulgarian National Television with the support of the MEDIA programme of the European Commission, national and foreign cultural institutes and sponsors.
For its 10th anniversary as an international cinema event in the year 2010 named Year of Bulgarian Cinema, Sofia International Film Festival received as present the recognition from FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations) - it was accredited as competitive festival specialized in first and second films. Since its creation the director of the festival has been Stefan Kitanov.


Elias Demetriou: I had no ambition to leave my country, but in the end it left me”

These are not Elias Demetriou’s words. They were said by one of the female characters in the film Fish N’Chips,
with which the director participates in the International Competiion of
the SIFF. But they are essential for the understanding of the entire
film. The subject is very suitable for
a comedy, but Demetriou
chooses a completely different approach, creting a serious film, which
in today’s multicultural situation in Europe poses a very important
question: Who we are – those who think we are, or someone else?

theme of the film is the question of identity. The main character Andy,
who lives in London, is a Greek Cypriot. And he thinks of himself as of
a Greek Cypriot... But when he returns home in Cyprus, he finds out
that he is not! He feels out of place. The country where he returns to
is not the one he remembers from his childhood. And finally going back
to London, he realizes who he is actually!

Emigration and the
question which culture do you belong to are widely treated in the film.
Let’s recall the words of Andy’s friend from East Germany: “I had no
ambition to leave my country, but in the end it left me” ... Yes.
Exactly. All characters in the film have the feeling that they do not
belong to the place they are. And Karin, Andy’s girlfriend, lives with
him in London and goes with him to Cyprus but actually she comes from a
country that does not longer exist – East Germany. And this is the
reason these words sound so strong.

As far as I know, your personal story is similar.

my family is from the Turkish part of Cyprus, which we left when the
war broke out in 1974. We ran in the southern, Greek part of Cyprus but
we were regarded there as refugees, we were never accepted as their own
kin. My father was born in London and therefore I know very well the
situation of Cypriot expatriates in the UK. Now I live in Athens and I
see that the same cultural differences exist between Greeks from Greece,
and those whose families once left for the USA or Australia. And the
question “Which is my country, which land and which culture I belong
to?” is very topical in their situation.


Read the whole interview on SIFF's website.


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About Sofia International Film Festival

International film festival for feature films, documentaries and shorts (mainly Bulgarian). Main themes: International competition for first and second films, Balkan & Bulgarian cinema, Cinema Europe, World screen, retrospectives.



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