20th International Film Festival – Sofia Film Fest

20th International Film Festival – Sofia Film Fest

Strength, Freshness, and Virtue – the most important films from the world of cinema will be in Sofia in March

Twenty is a symbol of youth but twenty is also a symbol of maturity. With each passing year the SFF audience becomes more impatient because the third month of the year is the most awaited one for all those whose passion is cinema! Everyone becomes a spectator in March. Because the most important works of the incomparable seventh art arrive in Sofia - "the creative city of film", and the meetings with the Bulgarian audience turn into a series of holidays. In 2016 this will happen for the 20th time!

Sofia International Film Festival has established itself in Central and Eastern Europe as a significant film forum, included in the list of the 50 highest-ranking festivals globally (according to Variety magazine) and recognized by FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers Associations). For the twentieth consecutive year the festival will present the most current and valuable works from the Bulgarian and world cinema to its faithful audience and international guests.

The festival is organized by Art Fest and with the help of the Sofia Municipality, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, the National Film Centre and the National Palace of Culture, also supported by the Creative Europe program of the European Union, national and international cultural institutes, sponsors and friends.

The official opening of the 20th Sofia International Film Festival is on the 10th of March. The award ceremony will take place on 19th March. The festival’s program together with the traditional events in Burgas, Plovdiv and Varna will continue until March 31st. A special screening of retrospective productions at the Cinema House will warm up the festival from 1st of March.

The program contains more than 150 full-length feature films and documentaries and more than 50 short films.

For a third year you will be able to find the movie tickets all around you - weeks before the festival! You will spot us in places where you shop, in gift and bookstores, bars and many other places, that you would least expect. Only with a ticket you can be absolutely sure that you will not miss the most interesting and exciting films!
You will have the chance to book your very own seat – online or with an operator (via telephone).

This is your chance!

You and your friend can become special guests at Sofia Film Fest - with access to all screenings and parties!

Five Golden Tickets will expect you at the usual ticket selling locations!
Anyone can win them! If you find your golden ticket in your tin can – make sure not to miss calling us.

The creative and communications partner of SIFF is DDB!

We present to your attention some of the highlights of SIFF 2016:

For the 14th time an international jury will decide upon the winner of the Prize in the competition for 1st or 2nd feature film "Sofia - a City of Film" containing a cash prize of € 7,000, provided by Sofia Municipality.

Among the 13 competing films are:
"Thirst" - Bulgaria, director Svetla Tsotsorkova
"Snow" - Bulgaria, director Ventzislav Vasilev
"I, Olga Hepnarova" - Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, directors Tomas Veynreb, Peter Kazda
"If and When" - Israel director Eran B.YU.
"The Open Door" (La Puerta Abierta) - Spain, director Marina Sereseski
"The Ones Below" - UK director David Farr
"Smac" - Greece, directed by Elias Demetriou

The Jamison Short film Award for Bulgarian short film competition will be held for the 13th time. This award traditionally provokes many young filmmakers in Bulgaria to present their films and to create works specifically for participation. The 2003 winners were Ivan Rusev, Svetla Tsotsorkova, Dragomir Sholev Andrey Tsvetkov, Nikolai Todorov, Peter Valchanov Boris Despodov and Andrey Paunov, Nikolai Vassilev, Paul Vesnakov Neda Morfova, Kolyo Karanfilov Antonia Miltcheva. Many of the winners and nominees subsequently created films that participated in prestigious international film festivals.

The 2016 selection committee is comprised of the following members: Ivaylo Hristov - actor and director, Margita Gosheva – actress, Iliyan Djevelekov - director and producer, Anita Dimitrova – journalist,  Antonia Miltcheva - director, winner of JAMESON award for 2015. They will pinpoint the 12 finalists from all the 95 films that have entered the competition. The winner will be selected by an international jury. The prize is € 6,000 kindly provided by Jameson Irish Whiskey and will be presented to the director of the winning film.

Sofia Film Fest opens on March 10 in Hall 1 of NDK with the official premiere of the new feature film by Iglika Trifonova - "The prosecutor, the defender, the father and his son." The project had started from Sofia Meetings and was aiming for success already in 2011 by winning the Script East award at the Cannes Film Festival. The world premiere of the film took place in November 2015 in the competition program at "Black Nights" international film festival in Tallinn.

The Big Awards program includes films that have earned the most prominent acknowledgments from leading cinema festivals around the world.  Among the titles in the program are: "Taxi" ("Golden Bear" - Berlinale '15) by Jafar Panahi, "From Afar" ("Golden Lion" - Venice '15) directed by Lorenzo Vigas, "Room" (audience awards inf Toronto '15 and '15 Warsaw with four Oscar nominations), by Lenny Abrahamson. The director is familiar to the viewers in Sofia since 2005, when his debut film "Adam & Paul" received the Grand Prix at Sofia Film Fest.

Ted Kotcheff - the legendary director with Bulgarian roots, winner of the "Golden Bear" in Berlin, with two Palme d'Or nominations in Cannes and one Oscar, will be a special guest in Sofia in March and will receive the Sofia Municipality Award for his contribution to the world of cinema. The director of "Rambo: First Blood" will present his retrospective. Ted Kotcheff’s visit is the special gift from JAMESON for the 20th anniversary of the Sofia Film Fest.

The Sofia Award will be also presented to the famous trio – Geogy Stoev – Jacky, Georgy Penkov – Johnny and Hrito Iliev – Charly. Their newest film  “Good Morning, Captain” will be presented with a special premiere at Lumier cinema.

Again, in the Cinema today - the masters programme we will include the latest films of established names of the world cinema, most of them awarded with prestigious international awards. Titles such as "Carol" by Todd Haynes - with exceptional actor incarnations of Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, a film with 39 awards and more than 170 nominations, including six Oscar nominations; "Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen" - the newest work of the Japanese master Takeshi Kitano; "Demolition", by Jean-Marc Vallée, starring with the always challenging Jake Gyllenhaal; the latest film by Julio Medem "Ma ma" (2015) with the exceptional Penelope Cruz and more and more...

In the program Cinema tomorrow - discoveries we will present the Oscar foreign language nominee “Embrace of the Serpent” by Ciro Guerra (Best Film Mar del Plata '15, with CICAE Award in Director’s Fortjhnight in Cannes '15), ”The Childhood of a Leader” by Brady Corbett (Luigi De Laurentiis award for best debut, "Horizons" award for best director; Horizons award nomination for Best film in Venice '15), the Slovakian film “Cleaner” by the director Peter Babiak (participated in the Warsaw competition program of the festival also in Cottbus, Tallinn), also the nearly five-hour unique Chinese film "Family" by Schumin Liu with participations in the Venice and Gothenburg festival, and many more.

Of course, this is NOT ALL, we will have a lot to share with you in February as well!

Traditionally, the the New Bulgarian Cinema program will present feature films, which have been completed after March 2015 and Bulgarian documentary premieres. You can expect a record amount of Bulgarian films! For the first time, international co-productions with Bulgarian minor participation will be presented in a special section. The program of the 20th Sofia International Film Festival continues the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Bulgarian cinema! The Bulgarian program is supported by the United Bulgarian Bank.

The Balkan competition will include top titles from the region and with Domain Boyar’s partnership we will present a cinema gourmet programme for the fifth consecutive year.

For its 20th anniversary SIFF will present a special program "In the beginning there was … music!" - focusing on remarkable cinema works devoted to memorable musicians, marked with their creative eras in the music history of the world. Thanks to Sofia Music Enterprises, Queen’s music fans will experience the thrill to meet Brian May live with the first lady of Broadway - Kerry Ellis. There is hardly anyone on our planet who has not heard the music of the exceptional guitarist, composer, producer and performer Brian May, one of the founders of Queen.

The concert of Brian May and Kerry Ellis organized by Sofia Music Enterprises is included in the program of the 20th anniversary of SIFF, and will be held on March 16 in Hall 1 of NDK. It will be an extremely important event - a nod to the history of the festival, which began in the 90s of the 20th century as a Music Film Fest.

And now – Attention! – The most important news of the day!

Special guest of the 20th Sofia Film Fest will be the legendary TERRY GILLIAM. He is one of the uncompromising giants of cinema – an individualist, an outstanding visionary, a member of the famous comedy group "Monty Python". He has created numerous fun, absurd and full of fantasy films,  won two "BAFTA"awards, as well as four awards from the Venice Film Festival, has been nominated for "Oscar" and "Golden Globe" as well as many other prestigious film awards.

The great director will be honored with the Sofia Municipality Award for his outstanding contribution to the art of cinema! From 1st of March in the Cinema House we will present a retrospective of Gilliam’s work, which, as well as his visit - is supported by the British Council, with whom we celebrate 25 years of extremely fruitful partnership.

"Exactly 20 years ago we made the first festival of Monty Python in the Cinema House together with the British Council.“ – recalls Stefan Kitanov, the festival’s director. “Special guest was Terry Jones. Later that year, Terry helped me to meet the other Terry from the group and take an interview at his home in London. Since then I've always dreamed of having him as our guest. I am glad that on the 20th anniversary SFF  Terry Gilliam’s presence will be a fact."

We expect over 250 foreign guests at this year’s festival. Most of them will come for the 13th edition of Sofia Meetings, which traditionally brings together the European elite of the film industry. Projects for first, second and third feature films will be presented to professional audience - representatives of film funds and institutions, producers, distributors, broadcasters and journalists. Native and regional films will be screened before the festival selectors and sales companies. Sofia Meetings partners are: Producers Network, Cannes Market, Crossroads, Mediterranean Coproduction Market, Mediterranean Film Institute, Moscow Business Square, EAVE, Hungarian Filmlab, Focusfox Studio (Hungary), Synchro Film, Video & Audio (Vienna), Yapimlab (Turkey ), Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, MDM, FilmFestival Cottbus, Connecting Cottbus, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, New Boyana, Europa Distribution, Europa Cinemas.

The festival’s screenings will be held in NPC- Hall 1, Lumiere Cinema, Cinema House, Odeon cinema, Euro Cinema, "G8" cultural center, CINEMA CITY -Mall of Sofia, CINE GRAND - City Center Sofia and ARENA Deluxe - Bulgaria Mall. For the first time we will collaborate with "Slaveykov" hall of the French Cultural Institute. / Ticket prices are 8.00 / 6.00 lev/

Which will be the films in the international competitions?
Who will be the 12th contenders for the Jameson award?
Which filmmakers personally will present their films in Sofia?
Who will be the members of the international jury?
What extraordinary musical events have we planned?
Which country will be on focus this year?
What joint events with the Goethe-Institute to expect?

We have yet to learn the answers to these questions, and many more.
The complete schedule of the festival, detailed cinema program, the films, our guests, partners and sponsors, will be available during the main press conference on 20th Sofia International Film Festival, which will be held at the end of February. Also be sure to visit our web site for all details www.siff.bg and social media channel.