21st Sofia International Film Festival

On the 9th of march 2017 in Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture was the official opening of the Sofia International Film Festival.

The international film festival, which over the years has won the recognition of the world’s cinema community and is accredited by FIAPF and included in Variety magazine’s 50 worlds top festivals as an important cinema forum in Central and East Europe, met for the 21st consecutive year with its loyal audience and numerous international guests. The most current works of the international and Bulgarian cinema will be presented during the month of March in Sofia.

The festival is organized by Art Fest under the patronage of Sofia Municipality, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, the Bulgarian National Film Center and the National Palace of Culture, with the support of European Unions’ Creative Europe initiative, national and international cultural institutes, sponsors, partners and friends.

The program consists of more than 150 feature films and documentaries, as well as over 20 short films.

The American actor John Savage was one of the special guests of the official opening of the festival and was awarded The Sofia Award of the Sofia Municipality and Sofia International Film Festival, for his contribution to the art of cinema. The audience had the pleasure to see again the films “The Deer Hunter” and “Hair”, as well as the newest film he stars in - "The Return" (“Povratak”, 2017) by Serbian director Predrag Jaksic.

Three ladies were awarded the prestigious Sofia Award – the legendary actress Stoyanka Mutafova, the master documentary filmmaker Adela Peeva and the polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland .

For a second consecutive year LIDL Bulgaria will be the general sponsor of the Sofia International Film Festival and will present the Audience Award, which this year will be in two categories. The first is for best international film, and the second for best Bulgarian feature film.

For the 15th time the international jury will determine the favorite for the Sofia City of Film Grand Prix Award for first and second feature film and a cash prize of 7000 euro provided by the Sofia Municipality.

Here are the 13 films competing for it:

* „Godless”, 2016 – Bulgaria-Denmark-France, director Ralitsa Petrova
* „Groom’s Block”, 2017 – Turkey, director Ilker Savaskurt
* „Light Thereafter”, 2017 – Bulgaria-Belgium, director Konstantin Bojanov
* „House without a Roof”, 2016 – Germany-Iraq-Qatar, director Soleen Yusef
* „Bad Influence”, 2016 – Chile, director Claudia Huaiquimilla
* „Moon Dogs”, 2016 – Great Britain, director Philip John
* „My Happy Family”, 2017 – Germany-Georgia-France, directors Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß
* „Beneath the Silence”, 2016 – Israel, directors Erez Mizrahi and Sahar Shavit
* „The Last Family”, 2016 – Poland, director Jan P. Matuszynski
* „Requiem for Mrs.J”, 2017 – Serbia, director Bojan Vuletić
* „Snow”, 2017 – Turkey, director Emre Erdogdu
* „Quit Staring at My Plate”, 2016 – Croatia-Denmark, director Hana Jušić
* „Hristo”, 2016 – Bulgaria-Italy, directors Grigor Lefterov and Todor Matsanov

For the 14th time the Jameson Short Film Award competition will be held. This award traditionally proves many your cinematographers to present their films or specifically create films to enter the contest. Since 2003 the awarded artists are Ivan Rusev, Svetla Tsotsorkova, Dragomir Sholev, Andrey Tsvetkov, Nikolay Todorov, Petar Valchanov, Boris Despodov, Andrey Paunov, Nikolay Vasilev, Pavel Vesnakov, Neda Morfova, Kolio Karamfilov, Antonia Milcheva, Toma Vasharov. Many of the directors who won or were nominated have created films, which have taken part in prestigious international film forums.

In 2017 the commission consists of Kristina Grozeva – director, Ivan Barnev – actor, Alexander Stanishev cinematographer, Anastas Punev – film specialist, Toma Varsharov – director, winner of the Jameson Short Film Award for 2015. They will determine the 12 finalists from the 60 films taking part. The cash prize is 6000 euro,  provided by Jameson Irish Whiskey and will be awarded to the director of the winning film. The films in the competition are:

- "20 ritnika", director Dimitar Dimitrov

- "Bashta", director Ivaylo Minov

- "Blagodarya ti", director Nevena Yovcheva

- "Dobri", director Orlin Milchev

- "Drehi", director Veselin Boydev

- "Kapiya", director Elena Toncheva

- "Krilo na drakon", director Antonia Milcheva

- "Lea", director Pavel Pavlov

- "Pesen", director Tsvetomir Matev

- "Predi da zaspia", director Nikolay Todorov

- "Patuvashta strana", directors Veselina Dancheva, Ivan Bogdanov

- "I Don't Want to Grow Up", director Filip Andreev

One of the founders of the new wave of Romanian film, Cristi Puiu will be president of the international jury, which will determine the winner of the Sofia City Of Film Grand Prix Award. The director will personally present his new film “Sieranevada”, as well as two more of his films – the legendary “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”, started from Sofia Meetings and “Aurora”.

Amongst the assessors are also the actresses Deborah Kara Unger and Anjela Nedyalkova, film expert Manfred Schmid and director Elitsa Petkova, winner of the Grand Prix Award from 2016 for her film “Zhaleyka”

The Sofia International Film Festival is a part of the "Calendar of cultural events" of Sofia Municipality.

The full program of the festival and information about the events can be found at www.siff.bg

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