Six Intriguing Films from the Balkan Competition of the 27th Sofia International Film Festival

Tradition dictates that we present the most valuable works of filmmakers from the Balkan region, and this year the international jury will be led by director Kostadin Bonev. In total, there are 12 films in the competition. Bulgaria will be represented by the winner of the Golden Rose for Best Film - "Mother" by Zornitsa Sofia

In 2020, Emin Alper's film "Three Sisters" won the Best Film Award in the Balkan Competition of the SIFF - three years later we present to the film lovers in Sofia his new intriguing story "Burning Days" - a kind of parable about corruption in the stifling, patriarchal environment of the backwoods. The film is a co-production between Turkey, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, and Croatia. The story follows the dramatic fate of a young prosecutor, recently appointed in a small Turkish town, who is drawn into political conflict during his first murder investigation. With his distinctive visual style, Alper skillfully portrays the socio-political situation in the country and at the same time his narrative contains wit, irony, and sarcasm. The film received nominations for the Queer Palm and for the Grand Prix in the Cannes Competition's "A Special Look". 

"Safe Place", the debut film of Croatian writer and director Juraj Lerotic, takes place over 24 hours. Conceived as a kind of reenactment with autobiographical elements, it is a poignant film "about the invisible war within ourselves", with Damir as the protagonist - falling into a serious depression, he attempts to take his own life, and his mother and brother turn out to be his saviors. The film arrives in our country with three awards from Locarno - for best debut, emerging director and actor and two from Sarajevo Hearts - for best film and actor. 

After three feature-length films based on his scripts, Romanian director Paul Negoescu decided to trust authors Radu Romaniuc and Oana Tudor for his fourth film, the Romanian-Bulgarian co-production "Men of Deeds". Presented to great acclaim at the Sarajevo and Warsaw festivals, the story follows the travails of the chief of police in a village in northern Romania who becomes involved in illegal machinations alongside the mayor, but - after a murder occurs in the village - the representative of the authorities must make difficult decisions to stop tensions building up in the small community.

Writer-director Pjer Zalica's latest film, "May Labour Day", is a co-production between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro and was awarded the Grand Prix at the Warsaw Film Festival. The plot depicts the shock of an emigrant returning to Bosnia who discovers that his father has been arrested on suspicion of a war crime committed in the 1990s. 

Following the major success of Theona Strugar Mitevska's "God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunia" - which won two awards at the 2019 Berlinale and was nominated for the Golden Bear, with a LUX Award from the European Parliament - the director's next project is a major co-production between North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, and Slovenia, debuting in Venice's Horizons program, and co-written with Mitevska by Elma Tataradzic, a long-time Sarajevo festival selector. The story in "The Happiest Man in the World" is linked to the memories of the war that shook the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s - in an attempt to find the romantic love she so longed for, a middle-aged woman befriends a peer with whom she was on both sides of the firing line in Sarajevo years before, and the most important thing in her life is to receive forgiveness.

Özkan Alper's debut film "Autumn" received the Best Director Award in the International Competition of the 2009 SFF, and 14 years later in the Balkan Competition of the festival we present his sixth feature film "Black Night", awarded Best Film and Best Screenplay at the Antalya Film Festival. The film tells the story of the violent passions that rule the heart of a small mountain town resident and the irreversible consequences of an officer's disappearance that echo years after what happened on an impenetrable black night...

The other participants in the Balkan Competition of the 27th Sofia International Film Festival will be presented further.

We look forward to seeing you at #CINEMA!