International cinema greats, winners of the Sofia Award, will personally present their films
The first part of “SFF 25” includes films by Peter Greenaway, Krzysztof Zanussi, Nikita Mikhalkov, Bille August, Danis Tanovic, Agnieszka Holland, Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Tony Palmer.
The Sofia Award for overall contribution to world cinema is a joint initiative of Sofia Municipality and the Sofia Film Fest. It was presented for the first time in 2005 by the mayor of Sofia, under whose patronage the festival is held. To date, 56 personalities from world and Bulgarian cinema have been awarded this prestigious prize. The plaque is the work of the famous Bulgarian sculptor Georgi Chapkanov – Chapa and is an image of his statue of St. Sophia, which decorates the center of our capital.
On the occasion of the anniversary, we present 25 exceptional filmmakers who have personally received the Sofia Award at the Sofia Film Fest editions over the past 25 years. The presence of such stars at the world cinema at the festival is one of the reasons why Sofia was declared one of the Creative Cities of Cinema of UNESCO. Most of the films in this anniversary program will be presented personally by their authors with a video message that can only be watched in cinemas. Some of the films have been digitally restored and can be seen only in the cinemas and the program of the 25th Sofia Film Fest!
Peter Greenaway is the first winner of the Sofia Award in 2005 and will be represented with the film Eisenstein in Guanajuato.
The premiere of the film was in the program of the Berlinale 2015, and the story is about the legendary journey of the famous Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein to Mexico. Greenaway explores the mind of a creative genius facing the desires and fears of love, sex and death, within ten passionate days that help him shape the rest of his career and become one of the great masters of the seventh art.
Krzysztof Zanussi will be represented with the digitally restored Life As a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease.
The film won the Grand Prix at the 2000 Golden St. George Film Festival in Moscow, as well as all important film awards in Poland in the same year. The plot focuses on a doctor who, after his encounter with an incurable disease, rethinks his life. In the face of imminent death, he began to question the beliefs he had always followed, and with a sense of fatalistic liberation, he began to experiment with both his own life and that of others.
Nikita Mihalkov will be represented with the digitally restored An Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano.
The film won the San Sebastian Grand Prix in 1977 and is one of the emblematic works of Mikhalkov. The story takes viewers to the dawn of the twentieth century. Family and friends gather at the provincial mansion of a general’s widow — Anna Petrovna. Among the salon games and shallow conversations about women’s rights and the possibilities of the villagers, two of the guests revive their love and the question before them is whether to advertise their relationship, abandon their families and run away to pursue lost dreams? The film is considered one of the most successful cinematic interpretations of Chekhov’s work.
Bille August will be represented with the digitally restored Pelle the Conqueror.
This film by the legendary Danish director won the Palme d’Or at Cannes 1988, the Oscar and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. The director tells the story of an elderly widowed farmer who flees from poor Sweden to the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. He and his young son Pelle are employed on a large farm in Denmark, where they are treated as inferior beings, but their strong attachment sustains them during the extremely difficult year.
Danis Tanovic will be represented with Cirkus Columbia.
In the early 1990s, Mickey Manojlovic’s character returned to his hometown after years of exile in Germany. Danis Tanovic tells a story of love, human error and forgiveness, and the background is the political reality: lulled into their daily worries, locals do not notice the looming political conflict. Croatia has seceded, and the people of Yugoslavia must choose whose side they are on as the Serbs bomb Dubrovnik.
Agnieszka Holland will be represented with her latest film Charlatan, shortlisted for the International Oscar 2021.
The story, set against the backdrop of totalitarianism in the 1950s, traces the fate of a man endowed with extraordinary abilities. The film is inspired by the life of the healer Jan Mikolasek, who uses his skills to heal people. Among his high-ranking patients is Czechoslovak President Antonin Zapotocky. After Zapotocky died, Mikolasek was arrested by the communist regime and subjected to brutal charges.
Nuri Bilge Ceylan will be represented with Winter Sleep.
The director is one of the “favorites” of the Cannes Film Festival, but it was with Winter Sleep that he won the highest award – “Golden Palm”, as well as the FIPRESCI award. The story takes place amidst a picturesque winter landscape in a small village in Cappadocia. Like everyone else in the village, local celebrity Aidan, an actor and owner of a small hotel, has plenty of free time. Through several incredible episodes, beautifully written and performed, the viewer witnesses Aiden’s relationship with his wife, his recently divorced sister and a local family, his tenants. The film story is a brilliant work of a skilled narrator and a skilled connoisseur of the human soul…
Tony Palmer will be represented with Vangelis and the Journey to Ithaka.
An exceptional friend of Bulgaria and Sofia Film Fest, the British director Tony Palmer is also a well-known master of films dedicated to music and its creators. Vangelis is a composer of electronic, ambient, jazz, pop-rock and orchestral music, best known for his Oscar-winning music for Chariots of Fire, as well as music for Antarctica and Blade Runner. , 1942: The Conquest of Paradise, Alexander.