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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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Films from SIFF's selection awarded at Golden Rhyton

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Two awards - for Best Documentary and the Award of the Bulgarian National Cinematheque received The Boy Who Was A King at the 19th Festival of the Bulgarian Documentary and Animation Film "Golden Rhyton". Andrey Paounov's film was first screened during the 16th Sofia International Film Festival in March 2012.  "Golden Rhyton"'s Jury - Kostadin Bonev, a president and members Nikolay Mihaylov, Andrey Tzvetkov, Lyudmila Dyakova and Penka Kalinkova, awarded more...

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

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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 ...

Open Call for Submissions for SOFIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2013

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Sofia International Film Festival (Sofia IFF) is aimed to promote significant and innovative works in the contemporary world cinema for local audience and regional (Bulgarian and Balkan) cinema to international audience, as well as to encourage the cooperation between local and international filmmakers. The 17th Sofia IFF will be held from 7 to 17 March 2013 (main programme) with an additional week (18-24 March). Sofia IFF is organized by Art Fest Ltd. in association with RFF International....

Sofia Meetings projects in EFA"s selection

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The European Film Academy (EFA) revealed the selection of 47 titles from which in November the nominations for the annual awards will be announced. Among them there are two Sofia Meetings’ projects. The first is the directorial debut of Valery Yordanov and Ivan Vladimirov, Sneakers. The film was first shown for the first time at the Moscow IFF, where it received with the Jury’s Special Mention and award of the Federation of the Russian Cinema Clubs and was nominated for “Gol...

Sofia Meetings project wins the Heart of Sarajevo

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Romanian Everybody in Our Family received Sarajevo's Grand Prize - the Heart of Sarajevo on Saturday.  Director Radu Jude's film was presented as project during Sofia Meetings in 2009 and is the latest successful title that started its way from Sofia. The Parafin Prince by Pavel G. Vesnakov was selected for the Competition programme of short films and received a Special Jury Mention. Vesnakov is the Jameson Short Film Award winner with Vlakove at 2011 Sofia International Film Fes...

Two Sofia Meetings' films win at Karlovy Vary

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Sofia's Last Ambulance is on a winning spree! Last night Iliyan Metev's film was awarded with Best Documentary Award for a title over 30 min. long at Karlovy Vary IFF. After receiving Canal 4's special Visionary award from the Critics' Week at Cannes, Sofia's Last Ambulance triumphed in the Documentary Competition at the Czech festival. Iliyan Metev's film is another successful Sofia Meetings' project and is selected next for the Sarajevo IFF. Another film that was presented duri...

Moscow's Main Competition juror, director Yavor Gardev, also presented his project "Contra"

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Yavor Gardev presented his project Contra during the Moscow Co-Production Forum at Moscow Business Square. Contra was first presented during Sofia Meetings, and in Moscow it competed with 23 more projects, selected from more than 100 applications. The selection committee featured Mira Staleva, director of the co-production market at the Sofia Film Festival; Riina Sildos, director of the Baltic Event, Marie-Pierre Valle, creative director of Wild Bunch Distribution; Simone Baumann, G...

Hugh Hudson: Sport is a form of pure art

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  Sport is a form of pure art, an individualistic form of art. Even collective sports like football are art in themselves. Yes, sport is definitely an art – water jumps are so beautiful, archery as well. There is something else as well – collective sports like football, volleyball, basketball create a feeling of togetherness, commitment, family. Individual sports such as running, on the other hand, inspire you to challenge yourself every day. The goal off course is not to w...

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

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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?   An...

Bulgarian success at Cannes

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Day before the end of the 65th edition of the International Film Festival in Cannes, the Critic's Week gave away their awards. The jury was presided by director Bertrand Bonello, whose latest feature House of Tolerance was screened during the 16th edition of Sofia International Film Festival. During SIFF's industry event Sofia Meetings Iliyan Metev's film Sofia's Last Ambulance was presented. Sofia's Last Ambulance was in competition at Critics' Week and now received Canal 4's special Visionar...

"Three Sisters and Andrey" paved the way for my career

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Sebastian Leutner creates animated worlds, which combine reality and fiction. 34 y.o. VFX producer from German Pixomondo received an Oscar for his work on Martin Scorsese’s Hugo in 2012. In 2008 Sebastian Leutner co-produced Boris Despodov and Andrey Paounov’s German-Bulgarian co-production Three Sisters and Andrey. The animation won many awards, including Jameson Award for Best Bulgarian Short at Sofia International Film Festival in 2009. Leutner is also among the co-producers o...

Elias Demetriou: I had no ambition to leave my country, but in the end it left me”

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These are not Elias Demetriou’s words. They were said by one of the female characters in the film Fish N’Chips, with which the director participates in the International Competiion of the SIFF. But they are essential for the understanding of the entire film. The subject is very suitable for a comedy, but Demetriou chooses a completely different approach, creting a serious film, which in today’s multicultural situation in Europe poses a very important question: Who we are – t...

Martichka Bozhilova: Televisions are our main partners

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This year at the Sofia International Film Festival Agitprop has two  documentary premieres for Bulgaria – The Boy, Who Was a King by Andrey Paоunov and Dad Made Dirty Movies by Jordan Todorov. Both films were shot by the tandem Misirkov/Bogdanov. Jordan Todorov’s film is intended for distribution along with the Hollywood classics of the 60s – Orgy of the Dead. As a distinctive style of his production house, we can expect he perfect juggling between genres. Do always the Bulgaria...

Danis Tanovic – the family man who can’t forget the war

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During the meeting with the audience after the screening of his film Baggage in the Cinema House, Danis Tanovic said that he’s actually quite a joyful person and loves to laugh. But in our conversation he was quite serious and said that certain things make him quite pessimistic. Going back through his films, it is easy to spot the humor in all of them, but it usually serves to lighten up a very dark situation, and to help you through it. Perhaps, the more seriously you look towards...

Operation Kino goes digital with VOD

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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 Ista...

VODО – between piracy and film industry

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In 2006 a group of friends who call themselves The League of Noble Peers, shot the documentary Steal This Film. The subject of the film is the fight between world’s biggest torrent Piratebay and several smaller, also based in Sweden websites, offering free but according to a lot of countries’ laws, illegal downloading of films on one hand, and Hollywood majors on the other. The film is notable for its critical analysis of an alleged regulatory capture attempt performed by the Hollyw...

UNESCO Forum: New urban spaces and creativity

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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, cul...

Steven Lewis Simpson: “Everywhere is home”

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Roaring Fire Film Production (http://roaringfirefilm.com/) is an international feature film, television and documentary production and development company. Their films have been distributed globally including Germany, China, USA, UK, Spain, Benelux, Portugal, Russia, Thailand, Canada, Indonesia, Greece, Africa and the Middle East. The owner of the production company is film maker Steven Lewis Simpson. He is a from Scotland – a free thinker, intelligent, constantly traveling with ...

The Co-Production Prize choose Sofia to expand its workshops for young Eastern European filmmakers

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Karin SchyleThis year the Robert Bosch Stiftung carried out a training for short and documentary projects with a focus on Black Sea and Caucasus during Sofia Meetings. Three teams (director and producer) from the Caucasian countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, three teams from the Black Sea countries Moldova, Romania, Ukraine and further four teams from Bulgaria were invited to participate in it. The event was organized in cooperation with the partners of Тhe Co-Production Prize o...

Artists and creators in search of a solution to common problems at the UNESCO Forum

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The international Forum Balkan Visions: Creativity For The Future In South – East Europe was inagurated yesterday at the presence of Yordanka Fandakova, the Mayor of Sofia, Georgi Stoev, the deputy minister of Culture, Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture, and Stefan Kitanov, the director of Sofia International Film Festival as part of the 16th edition of the festival. The Forum, organized with the support of Sofia Municipality, will include three ro...

Juan Torres: “I am someone that can`t stop moving.”

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If I ask your friends to describe you, what would they say? They would say that I am someone that can`t stop moving. Combined with my cinema profession in Madrid I play also on a latin music band in Paris. The result: last week in Guadalajara, now in Sofia (laughing), and next week going to Paris for a concert there. So my friends also usually say that they can never see me. What qualities do you feel a successful artist should have? I think, and I hope there is not a...

THE AWARDS of the 16th Sofia International Film Festival

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The official programme of the 16th Sofia International Film Festival will end tonight with the gala screening of Borislav Kolev's documentary debut Stoichkov. The festival presented a total of 260 films from 52 countries from all over the world. Over 300 international guests came to Sofia, amongst them were directors, producers, festival directors as well as media and film experts. The Award Ceremony took place on the 17th of March in Hall 1 of the National Palace of Cu...

Mira Staleva: “Jamie King will present the platform for online distribution VODO”

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How did “Sofia Meetings” exact­ly help in the production of movies of young Bulgarian filmmakers and in finding partners? It helped in establishing contacts with extremely helpful and experienced people, with sharing of the experiences of these people by raising the level of writing the screenplays, screenwriting development, the basics of the regula­tion mechanisms for doing co-produc­tions. It turned into a know-how on how to do the things and how they happen. Which a...

Simon Davidson: “To shoot during the night is very difficult ...”

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Mr. Davidson, how did the story of "The Odds" appear actually? Everything started from an article I read several years ago – about 17-year high school students in Singapore, infatuated with illegal betting (in their case: for the games of NBA) and about the problems one of the boys encountered thanks to his addicition... But the story is also connected with my own teenage years, when I was 17 or maybe even 16. I myself come from a small town in Western part of Canad...

Jordan Todorov: “The most successful Bulgarian in Hollywood, we’ve never heard of”

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Let’s start with that – what do actually Stephen Aposolof’s “dirty movies” mean? Once this type of movies that Apostolof has made, were called “dirty movies” – that is to be distinguished from pornography, which precisely in those years (early ‘70s) invaded the American cinema. Somehow all these films enliven the atmosphere – such were the times: the 60s, experiments with various drugs, rock music... This was a free time and this type of erotic films, called s...

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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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