Just before the coronation of King Charles III, the British Embassy in Sofia announced in an official press release in April the decision to award the director and founder of Sofia Film Festival
At a ceremony held on 20 October at the British Embassy's residence, His Excellency British Ambassador to Bulgaria Dr Rob Dixon presented the Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire award to Stefan Kitanov, appointed to him by His Majesty King Charles III for the outstanding contribution to the popularization of British cinema in Bulgaria as director and founder of Sofia International Film Festival. The Medal of the British Empire was also awarded to Valentin Valyovski, the gardener of the residence.
His Excellency British Ambassador to Bulgaria, Dr Rob Dixon said (at the time of the announcement):
I am delighted His Majesty has seen fit to recognize the service done by Mr Kitanov over thirty years to promote British film in Bulgaria. As the founder of the Sofia Film Festival in 1997, after the great success of the Rock Film Festivals in 1993 and 1994 and also the festival of Monty Python in 1996, organized with the support of the British Council, Mr Kitanov has played a significant role in fostering cultural ties between the UK and Bulgaria and bringing great British film to a Bulgarian audience.
Mr Stefan Kitanov MBE said:
It is with great pride and gratitude that I accept this award. Receiving the Order of the British Empire is a great recognition for me, my family, our colleagues at the British Council, Art Fest, Sofia Film Festival, the Cinema House and all the institutions, partners and friends with whom we have been able to create cinema events and make films over the past 30+ years in Bulgaria. You can write a book alone, paint a picture, sing a song or plant a tree. But creating, showing, distributing, presenting cinema is a collective activity. I dedicate this award to all the people with whom we have been together and will continue to walk on the path of Cinema.