"SIFF Teen" - competition program of films for young people

Themes that excite young people presented in films selected by director Nadezhda Koseva, will meet the audience for the first time at the 27th Sofia International Film Festival

In the seven days just before the official opening of the Sofia Film Festival 2023, the Cinema House will be home to the first-ever SFF Teen Competition! The Youth Programme contains a jewel-like selection of very special films for everyone in their teens and for anyone who stubbornly refuses to grow up. The program is curated by director Nadezhda Koseva, and after each screening, there will be a conversation with the audience during which they will discuss what they have seen with special guests, the themes, the way they are presented, and the specific cinematic language. Here's what Nadezhda has to say about this program, which is a joint project of Sofia Film Festival and CinemaClass:

Nadia Koseva: "SFF Teen gives you a hand and invites you on a journey. The film adventure will take you to remote corners of the world, will meet your peers from different nationalities, and will tell you their personal stories. Seven contemporary and endearing films about youth will take you through the labyrinths of coming of age, of growing up. You will be able to watch auteur cinema that speaks your language, that tells your problems, your joys, in a daring, unexpected, moving and moving way. As a finale, all you youngsters will award the best film from the SFF Teen Programme. The winning filmmaker will be invited to the Sofia International Film Festival awards ceremony, and the filmmaker will meet the audience and give a short masterclass. And through a specially organized raffle, three of the voters will receive full accreditations to all screenings and events of the 27th Sofia International Film Festival! 

The films of the SIFF Teen program tell the story of that first, inevitable personal encounter with the world - sometimes dark and scary, sometimes bright and joyful, rebellious, shattering, painful, brave, lonely, and free. Original films that, along with the characters, take the audience along the complex path of heartbreak, growth, and self-definition to give us the strength and meaning to be. The selection includes feature films and documentaries from Europe, Asia, and Latin America."

The 27th Sofia International Film Festival's Teen Competition will open on March 10 at the Cinema House with the premiere of the Greek-Bulgarian co-production "Listen" by Greek director Maria Douza. This is a film about prejudice and the people we label, the strangers and the different. 16-year-old Valmira is forced to leave a progressive school for hearing-impaired children in Athens and lives with her father and his family on a small island. Valmira's new environment is anything but a place where she can feel free and understood... The Bulgarian co-producer of the film is Ivan Tonev (Ars Digital), and in one of the main roles we will see Ioana Bukovska-Davidova.

"The Apple Day" is a film by Iranian director Mahmoud Ghaffari, which tells the story of first-grader Mahdi and his family, apple sellers. On the first day of school, the teacher asks the boy to bring fruit for the whole class on the day the students will take the letter "ja". Unfortunately, the fruit truck is stolen, and collecting a basket of thirty apples proves to be an unexpected challenge.

"Riders" is an emotional story about the eternal search for identity, directed by Slovenia's Dominik Mencej. Two friends hit the road on their motorcycles. They are joined by a young woman with a mysterious past and an old motorcyclist who is traveling around the world. The journey through the former Yugoslavia is full of unexpected twists, challenges, pain, sadness, courage, and the search for freedom. The film is a tribute to Dennis Hopper's "The Wolf Rider" and the road movie genre.

Portuguese filmmaker Ines T. Alves traveled to Ecuador and Peru for the filming of her documentary "Waters of Pastaza". It introduces us to the daily life of a group of indigenous children living in the Amazon jungle. They hunt, cook, play with lianas, and watch videos on their smartphones. 

The historical drama "The Lost Transport", directed by Saskia Diesing, takes the audience back to the spring of 1945. A train carrying Jewish survivors gets stuck in a German village occupied by the Red Army. A new friendship is born out of the desperation and lack of a way out, the desire for revenge, and the stalemate of war between Russian sniper Vera, local resident Winnie, and Dutch Jewess Simone.

The full Teen Competition program will be presented in February.

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Nadezhda Koseva is the director of the short films "The Ritual", part of the omnibus "Generation: Lost and Found", which premiered at Berlinale Forum '05; "Omelette", honorable mention at Sundance '09, and "Second Take", honorable mention at Sarajevo '11. Her debut feature "Irina" was nominated for the 2019 European Film Award for Discovery and has won over 20 other international and national awards. In 2018 she founded KinoClas and has been rediscovering the world of cinema with children from all over Bulgaria for five years.

"SFF Teen" at the 27th Sofia Film Festival - screenings in March!

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