Jubilee, hybrid, in a pandemic
March 11-31, 2021 (part 1)
A quarter of a century after the start of the Music Film Fest in 1997, the Sofia International Film Festival is preparing for its 25th anniversary. Started as a thematic festival of cinema and music, which has undergone upward development over the years, Sofia Film Festival has become one of the most important film events in Central and Eastern Europe, the only Bulgarian film festival accredited by FIAPF, included in the list of 50 best unmissable film events in the world and in the calendar of FIPRESCI.
The SFF has hosted a galaxy of world filmmakers, including Wim Wenders, Alan Parker, Nikita Mikhalkov, Volker Schlondorf, Agnes Varda, Jiri Menzel, Costa Gavras, Terry Gilliam, Emir Kusturica, Otar Yoseliani, Bille August, Krzysztof Zanussi, Agnieszka Holland, Hugh Hudson, Claudia Cardinale, Rupert Everett, Franco Nero, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Jerry Schatzberg, Danis Tanovic, Pavel Pawlikowski, Mickey Manojlovic, Ildiko Enedi, Abel Ferrara and many more. Most of them were presented with the Sofia Award of Sofia Municipality.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 25th Sofia Film Festival will take place in two parts. The main festival is in its traditional period in March, when the films from the program will be presented both online (in partnership with the world’s leading platforms Festival Scope / Shift 72) and in cinemas in compliance with all anti-epidemic measures, and international guests will be exceptions. The focus of the first part of the festival will be the competition programs, the presentation of the new Bulgarian feature and documentary films, current films of established directors and young talents, festival favorites in the last year, and films from special anniversary sections.
Later in the year, you can expect a special edition of the 25th SIFF, which will focus on films presented by their authors from around the world. We hope that this edition will take us back to the time when the Sofia Film Festival was called “The Party of the Year!“.
The festival is organized by Art Fest under the patronage of Sofia Municipality, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, EA “National Film Center” and creative program “MEDIA” MEDIA of the European Union, in partnership with the National Palace of Culture, cultural institutes, sponsors, partners and friends.
The official opening of the 25th Sofia Film Festival is on March 11 in Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture. The program of the festival, together with the traditional editions in Burgas, Plovdiv and Varna, will last until the end of March. A special program at the Cinema House and the Czech Center, related to retrospectives and other events, will prepare the audience for the festival from March 4. More than 150 feature and documentary titles, as well as more than 20 short films, will be presented.
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The 25th Sofia Film Festival opens with the premiere of the latest film by director Kamen Kalev – “FEBRUARY“. It was presented in the Works in Progress program of the 17th Sofia Meetings 2020 and received well-deserved recognition – participation in the official selection of Cannes 2020.
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At the opening ceremony of the 25th Sofia Film Festival, the Sofia Municipality Award will be presented to the outstanding musician, film and theater composer Teodosii Spasov for his contribution to the art of cinema and music.
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For the 19th time, an international jury will present the Grand Prize in the competition for the first or second feature film “Sofia – City of Film“, containing a cash prize of 7,000 euros, provided by Sofia Municipality.
The program traditionally includes 12 films. Here are some of the confirmed competition films:
* „The Black Cat“ – Iran, director Karim Mohammad-Amini;
* „The Cemil Show” – Turkey, director Bariş Sarhan;
* „German Lessons” – Bulgaria-Germany, director Pavel G. Vesnakov;
* „Spagat“ – Switzerland, director Christian Johannes Koch;
* „Petya of My Petya” – Bulgaria, director Alexander Kossev;
* „Ravine” – Hungary, director Balázs Krasznahorkai.
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The Balkan competition includes top titles from the region. Among the selected films in the program are:
* „Uppercase Print“ – Romania, director Radu Jude;
* „The Living Man“ – Serbia-Germany-Bulgaria, director Oleg Novkovic;
* „Focus, Grandma” – Bosnia and Herzegovina-Turkey, director Pjer Zalica;
* „Ghosts” – France-Turkey-Qatar, director Azra Deniz Okyay;
* „February” – Bulgaria-France, director Kamen Kalev;
* „Apples“ – Greece-Poland-Slovenia, director Christos Nikou.
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The new Bulgarian feature films will be the main focus of the SIFF program in March. Among the premiere titles for Sofia, in addition to those participating in the competitions, are “Blessed Are the Meek” by Wojciech Todorov and Georgi Stoyanov, written by Krassimir Krumov-Gretz, “The Blessed” by Stanimir Trifonov, “Dante’s Heaven” by Dimitar Radev, “Goodbye, Johnny” of Konstantin Burov. You can expect more Bulgarian movies in the program!
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The 19th Bulgarian Short Film Competition will present 12 films selected by a jury consisting of Vanya Rainova, screenwriter and producer, and the directors Boris Despodov and the winner of the award in 2020 – Hristo Simeonov. For the second year in a row, the award is provided by Doli Media Studio. You will find out the selected films in special press information.
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The main focus of the 25th anniversary Sofia Film Festival is the festival itself. One of his greatest achievements are the visits to Bulgaria of world filmmakers. Some of them were presented with the Sofia Award of Sofia Municipality for their contribution to the development of the art of cinema. The award, founded in 2005, has been presented to over 50 outstanding personalities of world and Bulgarian cinema. The special jubilee section in the program “25” includes films by 25 winners of the Sofia Award. Some of them will personally present their films at the festival. Among them are Wim Wenders, Volker Schlondorf, Michael Palin, Danis Tanovic, Tony Palmer, Roman Balayan… You will learn more about films and directors soon.
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And in 2021 most of the films will be available through one of the most famous cans in the world of cinema – TICKET IN CAN at Sofia Film Festival. Connoisseurs will have the opportunity to complete their collection of cans, and more information can be found at siff.bg/bilet and can be obtained on the toll-free number 0800 18110.
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The 18th edition of Sofia Meetings will bring together the online European elite in the film industry – this will happen between March 17 and 21, 2021. The pandemic situation around the world is a condition that all festivals and film markets comply with, but universal online connectivity provides opportunity for film professionals to attend many more forums around the world.
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OF COURSE, THIS IS NOT EVERYTHING – there will be many more details about the films and the program to share with you throughout the month of February!