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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.



Dragomir SholevThe main programme of the 15th edition of Sofia International Film Festival ended on the 13th of March with a gala screening of Aleksei Uchitel’s film The Edge.

The festival presented a total of 205 films from 53 countries from all over the world. Over 260 was the total number of international guests, amongst which were directors, producers, festival directors as well as media and film experts.

The main Award Ceremony took place on the 12th of March in Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture.


Fridrik Tor Fridrikson (Iceland) – Director
Alvaro Brechner (Uruguay) – Director
Kamen Kalev (Bulgaria) – Director 
Gabriele Brunnenmeier (Germany) – industry expert and journalist
Ognjen Svilicic (Croatia) – Director 


THE GRAND PRIX AWARD for best film in the International Competition to SHELTER (Bulgaria) by director DRAGOMIR SHOLEV and producer ROSITZA VALKANOVA.

The award consists of a diploma, trophy and a prize of 5,000 Euro for the Director and the Producer. Director Dragomir Sholev and producer Rossitsa Valkanova received the award handed by the chairman of the Jury, Fridrik Tor Fridrikson.

THE JURY SPECIAL AWARD went to WHITE AS SNOW (Trurkey) by director SELIM GUNES. The director and the producer NUR GUNES received the trophy.

THE AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR went to JOAO NUNO PINTO for his film AMERICA (Portugal-Russia-Spain-Brazil). The award consists of a diploma, trophy and a prize of 1,000 Euro.

THE JAMESON SHORT FILM AWARD FOR BEST BULGARIAN SHORT FILM went to TRAINS (Bulgaria) by director PAVEL G. VESNAKOV. The Award was handed out by director Kamen Kalev and Elena Ilieva, Brand manager for Jameson Irish Whiskey Bulgaria. The award consists of a diploma, trophy and a cash prize of 6,000 Euro, provided by Jameson Irish Whiskey.     

DOMAIN BOYAR AWARD FOR BEST BALKAN FILM adjudged by the Bulgarian Guild of Film Critics went to FOOTSTEPS IN THE SAND (Bulgaria) by director IVAILO HRISTOV. The award was received by ASSEN VLADIMIROV, producer of the film, and it consists of a diploma, box of ‘ARS LONGA’ wine and a voucher worth of 1,000 Euro for the director of the film, provided by DOMAIN BOYAR.

The award consists of a diploma, film negative and laboratory services in the amount of 2,000 USD provided by Kodak Cinelabs – Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian National Television’s AWARD FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY went to the film THE RULES OF SINGLE LIFE by TONISLAV HRISTOV, who was there to receive the award in person. The award consists of a diploma and a check worth of 1000 Euro provided by the Bulgarian National Television.

The FIPRESCI Jury members

Gabriele Barrera (Italy)
Mustafa Gorgun (Turkey)
Yordan Todorov (Bulgaria)

Handed out the FIPRESCI Award to the film SOUND OF NOISE by directors OLA SIMONSON and JOHANNES STJARNE NILSSON. The diploma was received by directors.

THE AIDIENCE AWARD of the 15th Sofia International Film Festival was chosen among the films in the International Competition and the Balkan Competition. The award went to ‘SHELTER’ (Bulgaria) by DRAGOMIR SHOLEV. The award is diploma and cash prize of 1,000 BGN for the Bulgarian distributor of the film, provided by the Sofia Municipality.

For a third year in a row in partnership with „Cinemafia” Sofia Short Challengе was organized. At the beginning of the Sofia International Film Festival we announced the short film contest without genre limitations and with the theme “Colors”. 27 short films were created and 25 out of them joined the challenge. The jury consisted of directors Damir Romanov (Serbia), Ognjen Isailovic (Serbia) and Viktor Chouchkov Jr. (Bulgaria) have chosen the best film in the Sofia Short Challenge - “COLOURS” of the team “Indigo”. “Yemeney”’s team’s “CHROMONI” was named best animation. The film-makers of both films also received a cash prize of 500 leva provided by the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The awarded films will be screened during the international film festivals in Istanbul, Kluj and Sarajevo as part of the “Operation Kino” programme. “Untitled” of H2O/No Frame Media team received a Special Mention.  

At the 8th edition of SOFIA MEETINGS the following awards were handed out:

BEST PITCHING AWARD in the Second Films section:
Certificate and a prize of 3,000 Euro cash, donated by NU BOYANA FILM, were given to the director and producer of the film project ‘INDIAN WIFE’ by ROBERT LAKATOS (director) and ANDRAS MUHI (producer), Hungary.

BEST PITCHING AWARD in the ‘Plus Minus One section:
Certificate and 5,000 EUR in post production services, donated by SYNCHRO FILM, VIDEO & AUDIO (VIENNA), were given to the producer of the film project ‘YOUTH’ by TOM SHOVAL (director) and GAL GREENSPAN (producer), Israel.

BEST PROJECT AWARD in the Second Films section:
Certificate and 5,000 EUR in post production services, donated by DIGIMAGE – LVT Post Production, were given to the film project ‘INDIAN WIFE’ by ROBERT LAKATOS (director) and ANDRAS MUHI (producer), Hungary.

BEST PROJECT AWARD in the ‘Plus Minus One section:
Certificate and 2,000 EUR in services, donated by LVT Sofia Post Production, were given to the film project ‘YOUTH’ by TOM SHOVAL (director) and GAL GREENSPAN (producer), Israel.

Within the framework of the 15th Sofia International Film Festival the SOFIA AWARD of Sofia Municipality for contribution to world cinema was presented to:

OTAR IOSSELIANI, director (Georgia)
RUSSI CHANEV, actor (Bulgaria)
CLAUDE LELOUCH, director (France)

13 March 2011

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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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