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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.


Dimitre Dinev: Living different lives through the characters one creates, is much more interesting than writing about oneself

Writer Dimitre Dinev has been living in Austria for years now. As a co-writer of Anja Salomonowitz’ debut feature Spain, he was a special guest at the 16th Sofia IFF. The following are excerpts from the press conference that turned into a cosy conversation between Dinev and the film critic Antonia Kovacheva, and the P.S. for four eyes and two swings in front of the festival center Matti’D.

How did you meet Anja Salomonwitz and how did you work together on the script of Spain?
Anja called me one day and we met at a coffee shop in Wien. She told me that she would like me to write the script for her new film. She had already read my previous works. During that time I was receiving many different offers, but none of them was interesting enough to tempt me to stray to a different genre. It is funny though, because when I first started writing in German, it was film scripts indeed, but I had difficulties in realizing them. So I decided that I should move away from that genre. When I achieved success with my novel, there were several directors hoping to work with me. But their interest proved to be too commercial. But Anja was sincere in her enthusiasm. I also thought that this being her first feature film, after several documentaries, is a good thing. It is really nice to work with debutants because they do not feel the stress of someone watching them and waiting for their next project and judging them. They don’t try to follow their latest success and they feel free to express themselves. Naturally, what is also important is that we really liked each other during our conversation.

She let me work on the story and she only interfered every now and then with questions about the credibility of a certain scene or line. It is always good to have a real person in front of you, because this way your words echo in another heart, body and brain. We worked on the script twice. In 2007 we wrote the first script. We had to meet every morning because she had a small child. And then one day, as we were working, I said, ‘Next day I am not coming because I am getting married’.
The first version of the script was too long and we knew that we won’t be able to turn in into film. While we were waiting for several other projects of mine to be realized, Anja gave birth to another child, so we had to be even more disciplined in our daily working routine. We wanted to say as much as possible through images and not through words. The dialogue was supposed to exist only there where you cannot guess something simply by the image.
I haven’t visited the set, because sets are quite boring, as compared to theatre where you see the final result during the rehearsal. During the editing so many things can change in a certain film! We had to face another challenge when Gregoire Colin, whom Anja and I love as an actor, agreed to play the leading part. He didn’t hesitate to agree to act in German but afterwards he was unpleasantly surprised when he realized how difficult it is for an actor not to be able to improvise in an unknown language. The most brutally difficult language for French people is German – they simply cannot pronounce certain words. This led to shortening the dialogue and finding synonyms for the difficult words. I recorded all his lines with my accent and he would call me ‘mother’, because I was teaching him how to speak. So the script finally turned out to be more melancholic than we intended. The first version was more humourous.

Read the whole interview on SIFF' site.


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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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