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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.


Operation Kino goes digital with VOD

Ena Dozo from Sarajevo Film Festival, Mira Staleva from Sofia International Film Festival, Andrei Agudaru from Romanian Film Promotion, Cristian Hordila from the International Film Festival in Cluj and Tillman Scheel from Reelport presented
the project "Operation Kino" (OK). OK is an initiative of the
international film festivals in Sofia  (Sofia Film Festival), Sarajevo
(Sarajevo Film Festival), Cluj (Transilvania International Film
Festival) and Istanbul (International Istanbul Film Festival), in
partnership with the online platform for short films Reelport, matching
authors and film festivals worldwide. This traveling film program, which
has been existing for three years, is composed of 10 to 25 films and 
different titles are selected for each city. Among them are the key
European and non-European films as well as a selection of short films,
including winners of the competitions for short films at each of the
four festivals (for Sofia it is Sofia Short Challenge).

In Bulgaria, Sofia Film Fest on the Road
meets the audience from different Bulgarian towns with the world of
cinema. The project is supported by the MEDIA Mundus programme of the
EU, the National Film Centre and the network of cinema theatres  Europe
Cinemas. The aim of the project is to show European and alternative to
Hollywood movies in various cinemas in Bulgaria, and where there isn’t a
cinema theatre, to present  digital screenings in other halls and even
outdoors and thus to  cultivate audiences for independent and art titles
which rarely reach the cinemas  even in big cities.

Most of the
movies are part of the Sofia International Film Festival over the
years. "Art Fest" has the rights for some of them, others are supplied
by other Bulgarian film distribution houses. Currently only 17 Bulgarian
towns have cinema theatres, the screens in them are 65. For comparison 
– before 1989 there were above 3600. In some cities we’ve visited, the
screenings were attended by young people who went to the cinema for the
first time in their life, says Mira Staleva – Deputy Director of the
Sofia International Film Festival and director of the Sofia Meetings.
Screenings of the films from OK started from Sofia – within the Sofia
Film Festival in 2010 and continued through 2011 in cities where the
Sofia International Film Festival was held on the road – Burgas,
Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Stara Zagora, Rousse, Gabrovo, Sliven, Varna,
Dobrich Sozopol.

Cristian Hordila explained that in Romania
"Operation Kino" selects 10 titles from the festival program in Cluj,
which shows mostly in the open air cinemas in various Romanian cities.
In Istanbul they are concentrated on showing films in the outskirts of
comprising 15 million inhabitants metropolis. According to Ena Dozo each
year in Bosnia are selected 10 different cities that the movie trailer
with 10 titles goes to. Even in a large city like Mostar there isn’t a
cinema theatre at the moment. In return, in Bosnia exists the program
Punk Cinema, which for the second consecutive year selects films of
young artists and presents them in the cities of the country along  with
the main feature program of "Operation Kino". Exactly in Sarajevo a
year and a half ago was born the idea  for Video on Demand (VOD)
platform to "Operation Kino".


Read the whole material 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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