Impressive films by young directors in the International Competition for The big prize "Sofia - City of Cinema" at the 26th Sofia Film Festival

In addition to the two Bulgarian films in the main competition program for the first and second feature films of the 26th Sofia Film Festival - "January" by Andrey Paunov and "Humble" by Svetoslav Draganov, we present 6 more bright works by young authors.

"Miss Osaka" by Danish director Daniel Denczyk is builds a kind of bridge between Scandinavia and Japan in search of "a place where you can be who you want to be, a place of freedom and dreams" (Cineuropa). A woman appropriates the identity of a Japanese tourist heading for the Northern Lights and tries to realize herself in an environment that is completely unknown and challenging for her - she becomes a seductress with engagements in a nightclub and even attracts the attention of a dangerous Japanese businessman. . What will happen when the Scandinavian girl's boyfriend tries to solve the disappearance of his beloved and his Japanese girlfriend? This co-production between Denmark, Norway and Japan mixes different genres - psychological thriller and sentimental story with elements of ethnology, thus provoking the audience's imagination by winking at the classic "Blow Up" by Antonioni.

The Polish film "Sonata" by director Bartosz Blazke follows the story of Grzegorz, diagnosed with autism, living in his isolated world, unable to make contact with others. When he turns fourteen, it becomes clear that the reason for the isolation was not autism, butimpaired hearing. Thanks to the hearing implant, Grzegorz begins to learn the sounds, words and music he falls in love with it. His desire is to become a pianist and play in the Philharmonic. No one, except him and the closest of his family, believes that a deaf-mute boy, although with the help of modern technology, can make his dream come true and become a concert musician.

"The Absent Director" by Iranian director Arvand Dashtarey is a one-shot film. He shows the participants in a young theater troupe during their secret rehearsals of "Macbeth" at the home of their director in Tehran, while he works with them remotely from Paris. Their dream is to present the play at the Edinburgh Theater Festival, but things get more complicated - personal conflicts escalate and various secret plans come to light. Tensions are rising and a mysterious tragedy threatens to stop their work. The complex layers of reality unravel slowly as the film brings together reality and fiction.

The Hungarian-Slovak co-production "Wild Roots", a feature-length debut by young director Heini Kish, tells the story of the rebellious Nikki, who ignores her grandmother's outrage and secretly meets her father, who was recently released from prison. After seven years of separation, father and daughter are eager to learn all about each other, to realize what responsibility means, and to discover the power of forgiveness. Author and screenwriter of the film, along with Fanny Zanto, the director relies on non-professional actors - a former martial arts champion and a 12-year-old girl who do a brilliant role.

The Russian drama "Stand by Me", presented as a project at Sofia Meetings, is the work of young director Tamara Dondurey. The film follows the torments of 30-year-old Kira, a successful architect obsessed with the idea of an ideal Moscow. A tragic coincidence forces her to turn to her family's past, ignore her instinctive fear of the future and start all over again…

The Italian low-budget film “The Den" is the debut of director Beatrice Baldacci. The young author, who likes to provoke the audience, tells a love story, born from the meeting between the shy and naive Giulio and the strange, dangerous and sometimes cruel Leah. The two gradually become closer, but the girl's mysterious behavior is provoked not only by her character - she obviously has a reason why she does not allow anyone to step into the old house where she grew up. "The director breaks the narrative by revealing the secrets of the characters, making the most of their bodies and faces to convey her view of reality and life," the Italian edition locchiodelcineasta.com writes about the film.

# 26SofiaIFF