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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.


The International Jury expects bold and original films from the International Competition

Today the festival center Matti'D was invaded by the directors David Mackenzie, Dragomir Sholev, Jan Cvitković and the producer Marc Baschet
from the International feature films jury. Mackenzie and Cvitković
said that they expect to watch fresh films, which are typical for young
filmmakers – not films with speciffic special effects, but films that
are work in the reality they create, brave, honest and beautiful. Mark
Baschet said he expects from the short films in the Jameson competition
familiar stories, but told from a new perspective, and Drago Sholev
hopes to find filmmakers who share the same views with him. Then the
journalists met with the Balkan jury, the Documentary jury and the

We will present briefly Andronika Martonova’s conversation with the jury.

Martonova: As you know, the international competition is specialized
in first and second feature films, and I would like to know what films
the members of the jury would like to watch?

David Mackenzie:
It's hard to say what I expect, but generally from first and second
film of a director I expect some freshness or perhaps even some
naivety. Of course, everything is very personal and I can not say that
we seek only the things that I mentioned. We are rather interested in
good cinema, without any specific special effects. I would like to
watch films that are convincing in the world they create, original,
brave, sincere and beautiful.

I have never been a member of a
jury so far, so for me it is very important that all the jury members
feel equal. I hope the fifth member of the jury to join us soon –
yesterday we watched her film Twilight Portrait and liked it very much.

Cvitković: David told you almost everything. I also expect  strong and
original films. And among those which we have already seen, there are
several very serious candidates, so the things are promising.

Andronika Martonova; In the Jameson competition,
I think the choice is rather complicated  because short forms are
especially difficult, particularly when among them there are feature
films, documentaries and animation. What are your criteria for

Marc Baschet: I am very happy to be a part of the
jury. And even more I am happy to be in Sofia, because this festival is
an event  that I expect all through the year. As a producer, for 30
years I’ve been looking for new talents, because directors are those who
help us to help them make good films. In France, 400 short films are
being made per year, and I am glad when I have the chance to watch
foreign short films. On one hand, they tell the same stories as the
French films, but with a different point of view, from another
perspective. It is interesting the same issue to be presented from two
different viewpoints.

Dragomir Sholev: Shorts films are the
natural path of a filmmaker to the big, feature film making. I have a
special attitude to this selection because I won the prize once, but
also because as I make films in this country, I'm looking for followers
and people who share my views. I would like more young people to be
united by one idea and concept of what should the Bulgarian cinema be.
We, Bulgarian directors, are called to seek and determine the fate of
the Bulgarian cinema. This is not an easy task, but it can be done only
in work, in search of new people and stories. I expect to watch good

Georgi Angelov: The jury does not always award the best
work at a festival. Sometimes other considerations outweigh the choice.
What will be yours? And a question to Marc Baschet: would you produce a
Bulgarian film?

Marc Baschet: I am a member of the French Film
Academy "Cesar" and when we decide how to allocate the awards, I am very
worried, because sometimes we have big hits, blockbusters and even if
we give them a prize, it will not really help them much. And if you
give the prize to a film whose way to the audience is hard, it will
push it forward. This was the case with No Man's Land – when we entered the race for the "Oscar", we  had to fight with Amelie, France did not want to help us, but we were lucky that the American Academy awarded us. Before the Rain
remained only with its "Oscar" nomination – the film was successful
after that, but if it had won, it would have been more successful.

Yes, I would be happy to produce a Bulgarian film, it has never happened, but I hope to be soon.


Read the whole script from the press conference 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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