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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.


UNESCO Forum Balkan Visions: Creativity For The Future In South - East Europe in the frame of 16th Sofia IFF

Balkan Visions: Creativity For The Future In South - East Europe with
the support of Sofia Municipality,will include three round tables with
themes on cinema, artistic creativity in the city and visual art
innovations. The event is part of the new global initiative entitled
“Culture: a Bridge to Development”, launched by the Director-General of
UNESCO, Mrs Irina Bokova.

This Forum seeks to sketch a
portrait of the South-East European region through the lens of
creativity, and engage civil society, including artists and creators, in
a dialogue to learn about new developments and challenges they foresee
for the future that can inform the introduction of policies and
strategies to foster sustainable human and economic development. This
forum will bring together, in the form of an international public
encounter (lectures and thematic round tables, together with discussions
with the public), a group of artists and creators who are contributing
to the reshaping of the cultural and artistic contemporary landscape in
South-East Europe, and to the rapid changing of the image and perception
of the region, in terms of creativity, innovation and modernity.

together with public, are asked to discuss topics such as: the social,
political and economic environment for artistic activities; the
development of responsive frameworks and tools which encourage artistic
creativity, innovation and cultural entrepreneurship; transnational
mobility challenges and funding opportunities, challenges for European

Youth, students, universities, art schools,
media, cultural professionals and managers, artists and creators,
curators, professionals working in cultural industries are cordially
invited to attend and participate in the discussions.

theme of the first round table is: Putting a country on the
international film map: experiences from South-East Europe. This session
aims to offer a platform of discussion for cinema artists and
professionals from Southeast Europe, who are experiencing major changes
and transformations in policies and mechanisms related to financing,
production, distribution. While new opportunities arise, in particular
as a result of technological progress and its impact on reduction of
production costs an improved access to films, films are still not
finding a fair share on screens within the region and beyond. It is
therefore opportune to support dynamic film festivals, develop new and
innovative business models, invent alternative ways of distribution,
pave the way for a greater circulation of films produced in the region,
and encourage co-productions. Drawing on major experiences from
South-East Europe on the development of cinema industry, this panel
brings together new generations of cinema professionals to discuss and
share views on cinema productions, innovative film festivals, key
industry promotional events (Sofia Meetings, CineLink Sarajevo, Romanian
Days, Meetings on the Bridge, etc.) and various innovative support
schemes (Sarajevo Talent Campus, “Operation Kino”, etc) to sustain and
promote the film industry in South-East Europe. This session should also
offer the opportunity to ask ourselves: To what degree can we speak of
Balkan/Southeast European cinema? And what do we like best about the
cinema of this region today?

The theme of the second round
table is: New urban spaces and creativity.Cities play a vital role in
harnessing creativity for economic and social development. Policy makers
and government agencies are increasingly taking account of cultural
creativity when planning economic policy and of the role culture can
play in urban renewal. This session will explore the issues of how to
preserve the ecological balance and social identity of urban
communities, embedded in natural, cultural and intangible heritage,
while at the same time fostering cities as the vanguard of creativity
and technology, to increase their productivity and resilience, and
thereby improving welfare and quality of life for citizens. Municipality
servants, architects and designers, who have participated in the
realization of the above mentioned ideas will participate in this round
table, as well as organizers of acclaimed cultural events in Sofia,
culturologists and specialists in the field of cultural economics. 

theme of the third round table is:Art and innovation: new media arts in
South-East Europe. This panel discussion will focus on media arts as
platforms for the creation of new content, cultural practices, social
and political discourse. This field of art operates within a broad
spectrum ranging from digital and computer art, through web art,
and installations, to computer games and modes. It opens up innovative
models of communication, cooperation, and collaborative modes of
production and distribution. It also invents new models of using
artistic creations, which inevitably follows the transformation of the
role of cultural institutions. Allowing for an ever greater interaction
between the artistic creation and its audience, media art brings the
public closer to the creative process and to the related exhibition
spaces and facilitates
interaction between the arts, science and
research, industries and markets, the people and their everyday life.
Building new relations with cultural organizations, media institutions
and online platforms to enhance collection, public access and
dissemination; creating a network community; developing an economically
viable media and creative industry: such topics will be discussed during
the panel, with the contribution of artists, curators, and other
practitioners in this field from South-East Europe.

The Forum will
take place in the frame of the 9th Sofia Meetings (15-18 March 2012) -
an event, which is organized with the support of MEDIA programme of the
European Union.

The Sofia Meetings has established itself as a
successful platform, promoting the development of new film projects by
young European filmmakers, as well as new Bulgarian and Balkan films.
Sofia Meetings has good professional and friendly relations with all
European film markets, professional events, film festivals,
international and local distibutors. Sofia Meetings is a platform for
duscussions and exchange of working experience among producers,
directors, distributors, film finansing funds and film festivals'
representatives from all over the world. During Sofia Meetings are
organized different training initiatives, workshops, panels on topics of
interest to international and local professionals, and students.

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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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