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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.

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Nuri Bilge Ceylan: "I watch all kinds of films, but as a viewer I love films for children most"

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You chose to go with your team to some villages near Sofia. Did you find any interesting places? We toured several villages across the gorge of the Iskar River. I think the most interesting place we found was an old, completely deserted railway station. There were no people and the small building was full of remnants of past life. Among the waste, bird nests and broken things, I found a very old writing desk. It was astonishing that on the inner side of one of its doors were post...

Eran Kolirin: “My filmis permeated by a sense of insecurity”

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Let’s start with your character, Oded, who at one point began to question his everyday life... One of the things I love the most about cinema is that sometimes the most mundane things, if you stare at them long enough, start to look unusual. If we look deep enough at a regular chair, for example, at some point it startsto seem like something completely unknown... If we start gazing at things, in a moment we begin to ask questions: “What is a car?” – “A big box with four...

The Young Jury of SIFF is already taking notes on films in the cinema halls

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This year Sofia International Film Festival has a Young Jury as well. We have invited the film fans of 25 years of age and younger who reside in Sofia and are willing to dedicate March to watching films, to apply for the Young Jury. We were expecting to receive 3 reviews, consisting of 3 senteces for the last 3 films they have watched.   Based on the applications we have received we have chosen the following young people: Filip Morozov, Kostadin Mavrodiev, Iv-Kristiаn Angel...

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

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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 comp...

Jan Cvitković about “Archeo”: “I wanted to make a film, not a coated story”

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Undoubtedly one of the most distinctive and original directors in Slovenian cinema, Jan Cvitković, is an old friend of SIFF. Among the many international festival awards that his films Bread and Milk and Gravehopping gatnered, is No Man’s Land in the Balkan competition at the SIFF. This year Jan Cvitković comes to the festival as a mem¬ber of the International Jury as well as with his new movie Archeo. Archeo (produced by Jozko Rutar, who also arrives for the 16th edition o...

Victor Ginzburg: “I want to change the world and therefore I make films”

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Undoubtedly the most discussed film in the Russian independent cinema over the past year, Generation P, is one of those Clockwork Oranges, which have influence both on intelligent and critical audience, and on the mass audience. Of course, many purists and utter pedants concerning the Pelevin’s novels denied it immediately. The same happens, probably, with all more daring films, based on the works of cult authors. Anyway, the most important thing is that Ginzburg has made a success...

Stefan Kitanov: “The Festival is 16, I feel a teenager”

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After 15 successful editions of the Sofia International Film Festival, what more can surprise the viewers and loyal moviegoers? Stefan Kitanov: Contrary to the economic stagnation, we remain true to ourselves –over-ambitious and responsible in the selection of movie titles and guests. The viewers will be surprised by the huge choice of quality films and numerous guests of the festival, including “Oscar” winners and the most prestigious film awards. There is no turning bac...

UNESCO Forum Balkan Visions: Creativity For The Future In South - East Europe in the frame of 16th Sofia IFF

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UNESCO Forum Balkan Visions: Creativity For The Future In South - East Europe with the support of Sofia Municipality,will include three round tables with themes on cinema, artistic creativity in the city and visual art innovations. The event is part of the new global initiative entitled “Culture: a Bridge to Development”, launched by the Director-General of UNESCO, Mrs Irina Bokova. This Forum seeks to sketch a portrait of the South-East European region through the lens o...

Konstantin Bozhanov: “It is not necessary to take a ship to go to a non-existent village on the Danube”

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Ave is one of the most highly anticipated films of the year. The work keeps the viewers in a natural suspense that is not a filmmaking trick but the core of the story told – universal on one hand, but on the other hand, somehow corresponding to the local reality (just before the start of the shooting Konstanin Bozhanov was offered to rewrite the script and moving the story to Seattle, but he refused because it didn’t seem natural to him). A film with very dark and poorly lit sp...

16th International Film Festival SOFIA FILM FESTIVAL

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SFF is organized by Art Fest under the patronage of the Sofia Municipality, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, the National Film Centre and National Palace of Culture, with the support of the programs MEDIA and MEDIA Mundus of the European Commission, UNESCO – Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, national and foreign cultural institutes and sponsors. The main sponsor of the 16th edition of the festival is Jameson Irish Whiskey. The 16th Sofia Intern...

More Sofia Meetings projects with international recognition

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Adrian Sitaru's film Best Intentions won the Best Director and Best Actor awards (Bogdan Dumitrace) at Locarno International Film Festival's 46th edition. The Romanian-Hungarian co-production was presented as project at Sofia Meetings in 2010. Director Andrey Paounov's The Boy Who Was a King was selected for “Reel to Reel”, Toronto International Film Festival's documentary section. Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha dedicated film was also a participant in 2010 Sofia Meetings' Works in Progress...

Two Bulgarian films triumphant in Sarajevo received applauses from Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

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New Bulgarian cinema was remarkably presented at 17th Sarajevo Film Festival. Seven films participated in different festival's sections and two of them received awards. Konstantin Bojanov's 'AVE' received Special Jury Award and the prize awarded by the CINEUROPA portal. Bojanov personally received the awards in the presence of actors Ovanes Torosian, Angela Nikolova and producer Dimitar Gotchev. This year's jury  of the Competition Programme - Feature Film was presided by Israeli d...

Sofia Meetings in Sarajevo

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ShelterThe 17th edition of Sarajevo International Film Festival will take place from 22 till 30 July. The will be strong presence of Bulgarian films in its programme, which started as projects at Sofia Meetings. During the 8th edition of the film projects market during Sofia International Film Festival in 2011 all the titles had closed screenings. After he presented his debut feature Ave in the competition programme of the Critics Week at Cannes, director Konstantin Bojanov's fil...

WHITE AS SNOW, an interview with Selim and Nur Gunes

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One of the most memorable films I have seen this past year was the haunting and lyrical film WHITE AS SNOW (Turkey, 2010) by director Selim Gunes and producer Nur Gunes. This is an unforgettable experiment in storytelling, disrupting our linear-prone conception of time in order to think in fragments. The mind doesn’t look back in time sequentially so why should a film that is retrospective? In this film about a poor young boy, Hasan, from the 1970’s, the viewer is forced to struggle through...

MOTHERS by Milcho Manchevski, Aruba review!

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MM on panel at SIFF 2011 MOTHERS (2010) by director Milcho Manchevski screened at the 2nd annual Aruba International Film Festival (AIFF) 2011. Here find a review of the award-winning film that saw its opening in Toronto at TIFF 2010, screened at Berlinale 2011, won the prize for best feature at Belgrade International Film Festival 2011 and thereafter traveled to Sofia (SIFF), Istanbul International Film Festival (IFF), Aruba (AIFF) and many others, continuing its international festival journey...

Ivo Arakov: Valeri and Ivan made me fall in love with my profession even more

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Just a few day ago Ivo Arakov graduated NATFA in the class of prof. Atanas Atanassov. Now he acts in “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?” and “King Lear” at the National Theatre “Ivan Vazov” and in Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” at Sfumato theatre. In Sneakers he makes his feature debut in a starring role. Ivo is hesitant in painting his future as a professional actor in bright colors, but we wish him the competition programmes of Moscow and Karlovy Vary change this into a positive conf...

Ina Nikolova: Valeri and Ivan are magicians

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Today Sneakers, the feature debut of the directing duo Valeri Yordanov and Ivan Vladimirov, will be screened at the Moscow Film Festival where it was selected in the competition programme. As we mentioned before, the film was presented as a project in development at Sofia Meetings, it then traveled to the renowned Moscow and Karlovy Vary festivals, before making its premiere in front of Bulgarian audiences.   In Sneakers, six young people are running far away from their failures in life...

Sofia Meetings project wins this year’s Krzysztof Kieslowski ScripTeast Award

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Iglika Trifonova and Rossitsa ValkanovaThe winner of this year's Krzysztof Kieslowski ScripTeast Award for the best Eastern and Central European Script was named  during Cannes International Film Festival. Through the decision of the Advisory Board members: Sandy Lieberson, Manfred Schmidt, Dariusz Jablonski and ScripTeast Heads of Studies: Tom Abrams and Christian Routh, the Award has been made to the script FALSE WITNESS by Iglika Triffonova (Bulgaria), which was tutored by Head of St...

Ovanes Torosyan: I can feel a movement in Bulgarian cinema

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Ovanes TorosyanOvanes Torosyan plays one of the two leads in Konstantin Bojanov’s Ave, which was selected in the competition programme of the Critics Week at Cannes. The film’s premiere within the framework of one of the world’s most renowned festivals is today. Ave started as a project at the 6th edition of Sofia Meetings.   Ovanes has not seen the film yet and he shares his experiences only from the production process. - What attracted you to the film? I was in m...

Boyka Velkova: "The Island" is an example of quality Bulgarian cinema

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Boyka VelkovaKamen Kalev's The Island was screened for the first time last night at Cannes during the programme Directors Fortnight (Quinzaine des realizateurs). Let us wish that the film has a long a successful life on top world festivals and in full cinema halls. Below is our interview with Boyka Velkova, one of the main actresses in Kalev'a second feature, which started as project during Sofia Meetings. - What is your role in The Island and what exactly enticed you to take part...

Rousy Chanev: Kamen Kalev is a very open person and therefore all the actors invaded with their ideas

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Rousy Chanev and Kamen KalevThe Island will be screened today at Theatre Croisette in Hotel Marriot at 14 and 22h as part of the "Directors Fortnight" programme. Rousy Chanev, one of the film's Bulgarian main actors, gave an online interview for the Sofia International Film Festival  website. - What is your role in The Island and what attracted you to the project in the first place? It was the summer of 2005, Kamen Kalev wanted to shoot his first film, he had a final s...

Thure Lindhardt: Bulgarian filmmakers are not quite aware yet of how good they really are

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Thure LindhartKamen Kalev’s second feature The Island, which tells the story of a young couple heading to a remote island in the Black Sea where their relationship is questioned, was invited to the Directors Fortnight section of the 64 Cannes International Film Festival, where it will be screened on May 16.    The film was first pitched as a project during Sofia Meetings’04. The cast includes the French model and actress Laetitia Casta, the Danish actor Thure Lindhart and their Bulg...

Triupmh of the new Bulgarian cinema

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Kamen Kalev’s second feature The Island, which tells the story of a young couple heading to a remote island in the Black Sea where their relationship is questioned, was invited to the Directors Fortnight section of the 64 Cannes International Film Festival.   The film was first pitched as a project during Sofia Meetings’04. The cast includes the French model and actress Leticia Kasta, the Danish actor Thure Lindhart and their Bulgarian fellow actors Boyka Velkova, Russi Chanev, Mihai...

Dragomir Sholev: “Bulgarian cinema is permanently in the condition of missed possibilities”

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Dragomir Sholev– Have you already seen any of the competitive films and what can you say about them? Thank you for that question. I feel great. I’m very careful not to catch the flu. – It is not your first participation in the competition programme of the Sofia International Film Festival – you have previously won awards for your short films. What has changed in the Festival since you won the Jameson Short Film Award for Before Life, After Death? I am very proud that ...

Gabrielle Brunnenmeyer: There is a young generation of film-makers in Bulgaria who has a lot to tell

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Gabrielle BrunnenmeyerHaving worked as a journalist and film critic, Gabriele Brunnenmeyer was in charge of the MEDIA Antenna Berlin-Brandenburg, acting as an artistic adviser for MEDIA training initiative Moonstone International in regard to Eastern and Central Europe and organising workshops for directors and screenwriters in Germany. Her main activity in the last 10 years was the development of the East-West-Coproduction Market Connecting Cottbus at the Cottbus Film Festival which she was r...

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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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