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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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Stefan Kitanov receives Europa Cinemas Award for Entrepreneur of the Year 2012

Every year Europa Cinemas awards three Prizes to the Best Exhibitors of the Network and this year the Europa Cinemas Award for Entrepreneur of the Year has been awarded to Stefan Kitanov. In the official letter signed by the President of Europa Cinemas – Ian Christie and the Director General Claude-Eric Poiroux it is said that:

“The award has been awarded to Mr. Kitanov in recognition of his successful work as exhibitor of Dom na Kinoto, whose annual admissions have doubled since 2004; for creating the Sofia International Film Festival along with improving its high quality standards over the years; for his essential contribution towards the circulation and promotion of European cinema in Bulgaria through his distribution activities, as well as through the creation of Sofia Film Fest on the Road and Sofia Film Fest at the Coast. This prize also acknowledges the scope of his film production initiatives in the region, particularly the establishment of Sofia Meetings – the SIFF coproduction market, as well as his overall production and co-production activities in South-Eastern Europe.”

This prize will be presented at the 17th Europa Cinemas Network Conference in Paris, at the Award Ceremony on Friday 23rd November at cinema l’Arlequin in Paris.

The Award for Best Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 pays tribute to the commitment of Stefan Kitanov and his team, who for the past 20 years have tirelessly championed the dissemination of European cinema in Bulgaria. Dom na Kinoto (Cinema House)’s manager since 1992, Kitanov founded RFF International (1994) and Art Fest (2001) – two companies, whose activities allowed him to engage in film production and distribution, as well as in the producing and organizing of festivals. Dom na Kinoto became member of Europa Cinemas in 1995 and Art Fest has been responsible for the management of the hall since 2003 (since 2007 together with Camera Ltd). Today, Art Fest has in its catalogue as distributor over 50 internationally renowned European films and the number of cinemagoers to Dom na Kinoto has doubled in nearly 10 years. Kitanov has produced more than 12 films, the most successful of which - The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner directed by Stephan Komandarev was shortlisted for the Foreign Language Oscar and was released in over 100 countries.

But it is the Sofia International Film Festival, launched in 1997, that brought Dom na Kinoto its international fame. Recognized by the FIAPF, this festival presents first and second films in its International Competition, the cream of contemporary world cinema to the local audience, and Bulgarian and regional films to its international audiences. In 2004 the festival launched Sofia Meetings, which became one of the key coproduction markets in Europe, supported by MEDIA. In 2009 Dom na Kinoto introduced Sofia Film Fest for Students offering students and young people free and unlimited access to movies with an introduction and a discussion with established film professionals. This is a strong commitment to film education and openness to other cultures. But Kitanov’s desire to share films with ever larger audiences could not be limited to the confines of Sofia: so the same year he launched the Sofia Film Fest on the Road – which continued the festival showcase he had already introduced to Burgas and Plovdiv. "Operation Kino", a project supported by MEDIA Mundus, runs in cooperation among the festivals of Sofia, Sarajevo, Cluj (TIFF) and Istanbul for the circulation of European and independent films throughout Southeast Europe via the Europa Cinemas network. The Bulgarian Operation Kino includes now over 15 towns with a clear idea and potential that their number climbs up to more than 20 in the next couple of years.

You can read the whole article 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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