The new edition of the Burgas Film Festival will test whether the event will be able to return to its previous size, or even build on what has been achieved so far. Between July 16 and 23, the festival will offer a new selection of independent and art-house cinema not shown elsewhere in Bulgaria. The films bring a fresh breath: often the screenings follow the recent international premieres and so the Bulgarian viewers are among the first to reach these titles.
The festival was one of the few annual events for which 2020 was not zero or carried over online – the event took advantage of the summer window, in which the restrictions were lighter, and made open screenings. The restrictions affect the organization even now – the festival builds plans for its international guests depending on the requirements for travel and entry into Bulgaria.
“Despite the difficulties caused by the restrictions and the pandemic, I realize that we are one of the few festivals in general that will be held on a physical stage, in places where the audience has the opportunity to enjoy their film live or to get acquainted with representative of a production “, says the creative director and creator of the festival Emil Ovanesov, who started the Burgas Film Festival as an event dedicated to cinema in the Black Sea countries, before expanding the concept to the whole new European cinema.
“Burgas Film Festival is emerging as a place where you can see a quality product created outside Sofia. We are pleased with the fact that more and more spectators come from different regions of Bulgaria, and due to the summer season we expect the presence of foreigners.”
Part of the program will be Irresistible Flash by Spanish director Ainoa Rodriguez. The film premiered at the Rotterdam Film Festival, one of the most prestigious forums for independent cinema, and attracted positive reactions in Moscow. Another film from the program in Rotterdam arrives in Burgas – Pebbles, the winner of the festival by PS Vinotraj. Among the main titles in the selection are the Swiss The Girl and the Spider, awarded with two awards at the last Berlinale, and the Venice Award-winning Oasis by Serbian director Ivan Ikic.
For Volkan Uche’s All Inclusive, this will be only the second screening in Europe after the premiere of CPH: DOX in Copenhagen. The Austrian director Pavel Kuzuyok, who has shown before his films in Burgas, will participate with “Please stay online”, both a deep and funny look at the Eastern European workers (including Bulgarians) who repair the telephone wires between the cities. A look at urban and German-speaking Austria is offered by “Fox Behind Bars”, which tells the story of a teacher at a school for children with special needs.
This year’s jury includes actress Martina Apostolova , cameraman Kaloyan Bozhilov , director Deben Van Dam from Belgium and sound designer Atanas Cholakov, who has been working in Austria for years and has more than 50 titles in his biography. In addition, the festival will lend a hand to the emerging film professionals by organizing a youth jury.
More about the program and the guests of the festival at burgasfilmfest.com.