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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.


Claudia Cardinale arrives for the first time in Bulgaria as a guest of Sofia International Film Festival

“I don’t like the system of celebrities. I am a normal human being. I
like living in Europe. I visit Hollywood often, but I never wanted to
sign a contract and work there for a long period of time,” states the
world famous Italian actress.

The legendary actress arrives in
Sofia as a special guest of the 15th jubilee edition of the Sofia
International Film Festival. A gala screening of Luchino Visconti’s film
The Leopard will take place on the 11th of March in Hall 1 of
the National Palace of Culture and Claudia Cardinale will be honoured
with the Sofia Municipality Award for a Lifetime Achievement in Cinema. 

Claude Joséphine Rose Cardinale known as Claudia Cardinale, was
born on April 15th, 1938 in Tunisia. At the age of 17 she wins a beauty
pageant for the most beautiful Italian girl in Tunisia and travels to
Venice, in time for the film festival. This victory makes her smile, as
she remembers that she barely spoke Italian at that time. Her Sicilian
parents give her a French education and for a long time she considers
herself a French-Tunisian rather than Italian.

During her stay in
Venice the young Claudia draws the eyes of the Italian film industry.
At first she refuses to take part in films, as she wants to pursue a
career as a primary school teacher, but as things turn out she soon
finds herself knee-deep in the business. After spending two months in
the experimental film center in Rome, she signs a 7-year contract with
the Vides Company.

In 1958 she makes her feature film debut wit Goha,
a French-Tunisian co-production starring Omar Sharif. Her filmography
quickly grows, but she does not restrict herself to just a typical
good-looking actress. Il bell'Antonio (1960) directed by Mauro Bolognini and La ragazza con la valigia
(1961) directed by Valerio Zurlini reveal her talent. In the first film
she works together with Marcello Mastroianni and this proves to be the
beginning of wonderful acting partnership. 1960 also marks the release
of Rocco and his Brothers by Luchino Visconti, although Cardinale’s role is a small one, the director gives her an amazing opportunity in The Leopard (1963), where she works with Alain Delon and meets Burt Lancaster.

That same year Federico Fellini invites her to star in 8 ½.
The film highlights another one her qualities – her voice, which was
subsequently, considered very delicately alluring. The truth was that
Cardinale has always been dubbed as her Italian was never considered
good enough. Fellini relies on her French accent, strange and exotic for
some parts of the audience, but extremely feminine according to the
director himself.

Nevertheless, when she acts in French films
there is no need to dub her. She teams up with Jean-Paul Belmondo and
they share the fame of Cartouche in 1962 and once again in 1972 for La Scoumoune.
The peak in her Hollywood
‘period’ comes with the western genre in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West, which, despite the presence of Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson and Jason Robards, remains an Italian production.

the 6o’s Cardinale works with directors such as Abel
Gance, Henri Verneuil, Philippe De Broca, Luigi Comencini, Henry
Hathaway and in the next decades they are joined in this list by Damiano
Damiani, Marco Belochio, Marco Fereri, Liliana Cavani, Jose Geovani, 
Jerzy Skolimowski and Mikhail Kalatozov.

In the 70’s the actress moves from one role to the next. In Les pétroleuses
C.C. meets B.B. and Brigitte Bardot does not hesitate to admit: “I
already know who is going to by my heiress. There is only one possible
choice. After B.B. comes C.C., right?!” In 1982 Cardinale takes part in
various international projects, the most memorable of which are Fitzcarraldo by Werner Herzog, starring Klaus Kinsky and Le ruffian, with Lino Ventura.

the next decade Cardinale devotes herself to writing and theatre and
receives plenty of honours: in Venice, Paris and Berlin. Her appearances
on screen become more infrequent. Outside the world of cinema however,
she is a very busy woman, who fights for women’s and homosexual people’s
rights and in 1999 is chosen as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

“I became a star when I was too young. I have no merit
in this, fate decided it...” confesses the wonderful Claudia Cardinale
in her autobiography ‘My Stars’ (published in Bulgarian in 2007 by
Kolibri publishing)., 17 February 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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