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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.


Victor Ginzburg: “I want to change the world and therefore I make films”

Undoubtedly the most discussed film in the Russian independent cinema over the past year, Generation P,
is one of those Clockwork Oranges, which have influence both on
intelligent and critical audience, and on the mass audience. Of course,
many purists and utter pedants concerning the Pelevin’s novels denied it
immediately. The same happens, probably, with all more daring films,
based on the works of cult authors. Anyway, the most important thing is
that Ginzburg has made a successful adaptation, comprehensi¬ble both to
the people of “Generation P” and the next generation, which fact for
Russia, especially after the latest wave of electoral manipulation, is
not of a small importance. The intelligent viewer himself will arrange
the individual pieces of the puzzle – from the participation of cult
figures from the Russian underground as Shnurov in the role of Gireev to
some scenes that does not exist in the text of Pelevin and do not speak
so much about the 90s as of today. Somehow in the aesthetics of the
film one can recognize some kinship with underground film classics of
the twentieth century (films of Dushan Makaveev, for example), but it
also affects the “unlearned” audience by means of the commercial cinema.
Just hours before the printing of the current is¬sue of our festival
daily we talked on the phone with the director Victor Ginzburg – at
midnight, somewhere around Düsseldorf, awaiting for his arrival at the

Of course, we start with the inevitable question of
the point of view – not only of the director Ginzburg to Pelevin’s
novel, but also of the Russian-American filmmaker to Russia today.

question of the angle of seeing Pelevin’s novel is complex, because
while you read, it has an impact on sensory level, on emotional level,
on so many different levels. But for me as a director was also
interesting the narrative level – because on the narrative level this
novel is a remarkable puzzle which I, as a director, had to arrange in a
movie. Especially Sumerian-Babylonian mythological links and references
in the novel, which I had to organize logically in the film. This is
the big difference between a novel and a film. And the biggest challenge
for me as a director. Because a novel can be organized so that to
influence on the conscious and subconscious level only by virtue of the
wording and ideas, without the need of narrative. While a two-hour movie
should tell a story. Now I speak as a director probably only  about the
technical side of things, because the emotional is more than obvious.
Especially concerning the values for such a Russian-American director
like me.


Read the whole interview 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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