6 titles from the international competition for first and second films at the 28th Sofia Film Fest

12 works from all over the world will compete for the Sofia City of Cinema Grand Prize, which is awarded by Sofia Municipality at the 28th Sofia International Film Festival. They are first or second films for their directors. We present 6 films from the programme, which are the work of authors from 3 continents.

Identified as "the new masters of Mexican cinema" by IndieWire, writers, directors and producers Astrid Rondero and Fernanda Valadez presented their latest collaborative work "Sujo" (Mexico-France-USA) in the Sundance Film Festival program in January and won the Grand Jury Prize in the International Feature Competition. Rondero and Valadez tell the story of a boy named Sujo, orphaned in the adult world and growing up under the shadow of violence - a part of everyday life in the drug cartel. Gradually, the young man discovers that he is unlikely to escape his father's fate. "Sujo" is filled with sensitivity and poetry, with a delicate sense of the tragic origins of those born into poverty, who are often denied the right to choose their life path.

Romanian filmmaker Ana-Maria Comănescu is the author of four short films, the latest of which, "Cat Funeral", featured in the Thessaloniki festival last year. Comănescu's feature debut is "Horia", a co-production between Romania, Bulgaria (Rossitsa Valkanova /Klas Film) and Serbia, and its eponymous protagonist is a rebellious teenager who takes a road trip on his father's old motorbike, the legendary Romanian brand Mobra, to meet his beloved. Along the way, Horia is joined by the attractive and provocative 13-year-old Stella and, surprisingly for both of them, they become friends.

"Beyond the Fog" by young Japanese author Daichi Murase transports viewers to a quiet Japanese village. 12-year-old Ihika lives in this once interesting tourist destination, and her family has been taking care of a country house for several generations. The survival of this particular family business is in jeopardy when the grandfather disappears and it's time for a change for the girl and her mother. Writing and directing his feature debut, with executive producer legend Naomi Kawase, Murase studied directing in Kyoto, and his first short film, "Forget But...", screened in the Cannes Parallel Shorts Program in 2019. 

Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkish filmmaker Aslihan Unaldi has lived in the US since she was 18, studying at Yale and NYU. She is the writer of the docudrama "Young Wrestlers", which premiered at the 2016 Berlinale, and the director of the documentary "Overdrive: Istanbul in the New Millennium". Her feature debut is "Afloat" (Turkey), a suspenseful thriller set on a yacht on the azure waves of the Aegean Sea. A young woman returns to Turkey with her American husband - the goal is a family reunion with her divorced parents and younger sister, with whom they have not communicated for a long time. Sailing on a yacht with his family is the last chance for the elderly father, a dissident journalist with a criminal record, to reconnect with his daughters.

After two short films, writer-director Miguel Faus presents "The Quiet Maid" (Spain). He has an MA in Cinema from the London Film School and has worked as a film journalist for Jot Down and Miradas de Cine magazines. His debut film tells the story of the imperceptible change in a young Colombian woman who takes a job in the mansion of a Spanish rich family - she follows strict instructions for discretion, but gradually it becomes clear to her that she can find her own way to enjoy the summer...

With a strong track record as a director of ten short films and TV series, and as writer of five of them, Ádám Breier's feature debut "All About the Levkoviches" (Hungary) is the story of an elderly boxing coach who finds common ground with everyone except his own son. After a long separation, the death of his wife brings them together, and it becomes clear how difficult it is to achieve the balance everyone craves in communication between the different generations in this family, some of whom follow strictly the Jewish religious traditions.  

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