The 25th anniversary Sofia International Film Festival presented in the spring of 2021 a total of 134 films from 53 countries. Screenings of 129 films are planned at cinemas in Sofia and other cities, 73 films are available ONLINE from anywhere in Bulgaria till 11 April at

The Awards Ceremony took place at Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture on 20 March 2021. 


Theodore Ushev (Canada/Bulgaria) – Director, Jury President
Ilya Khrzhanovskiy (Russia) – Director
Svetla Tsotsorkova (Bulgaria) – Director
Natasha Petrovic (North Macedonia) – Actress
Szabolcs Hajdu (Hungary) – Director 


THE SOFIA CITY OF FILM AWARD for best film in the International Competition for first and second films, in the amount of 7 000 Euro provided by the Sofia Municipality, went to THE PINK CLOUD (Brazil) by director Iuli Gerbase and producer Patricia Barbieri.
„This film brings the pinch of optimism we all need in these times. For the ridiculous time the film is situated in and where we are situated ourselves. It’s a very well made poetic film by a young 31-year old Brazilian female director.“

THE SPECIAL JURY AWARD went to GERMAN LESSONS (Bulgaria-Germany) by director Pavel G. Vesnakov.
„A story of universal value about the pains of a mid-life crisis, the existential swamps of Eastern Europe, and a loss of faith in a ‘homeland’. A great sense of style, proportion and a unique sensitivity is demonstrated in every element of this film, from the photography to the set design, and the truly powerful acting.“

AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR went to Zhou Ziyang for his film WUHAI (China).
„This film is really a crystal, which concentrates the picture of life and traditions from the big, strong and very different to our understanding of the reality of this country. Through this film we can understand something about another part of the world and about ourselves.“

SPECIAL MENTION was awarded to the film SPAGAT (Switzerland) by director Christian Johannes Koch.
„An intimate and brave approach to the delicate topic of illegal immigration in Switzerland. Successfully reflecting the world in general by portraying emotional characters, who are struggling with injustice and inequality.“

The BEST BULGARIAN SHORT FILM AWARD in the amount of 9 500 Euro (1 500 euro cash prize and 8 000 euro in post-production services), provided by Doli Media Studio went to SANTIAGO (Bulgaria) by director Andrey Koulev.

SPECIAL MENTION was awarded to the film TANDA (Bulgaria) by director Teodora-Kosara Popova.

BEST BALKAN FILM AWARD provided by Domaine Boyar and awarded by Balkan jury president Doron Eran (producer and director, Israel) and members Lili Horvath (director, Hungary) and John-Paul Davidson (director, United Kingdom), went to QUO VADIS, AIDA? (Bosnia and Herzegovina-Austria-Romania-Netherlands-Germany-Poland-France-Norway-Turkey) by director Jasmila Zbanic.
„One film stood out from this very strong selection of films. A film, where gripping visual storytelling and breath-taking acting go hand in hand with a haunting personal story that makes us remember forever the most shameful and darkest hours of recent European history.“

The Balkan Jury also awarded a SPECIAL MENTION to the film OASIS (Serbia-Slovenia-Netherlands-France-Bosnia and Herzegovina) by Ivan Ikic.
„Not in every festival do we encounter a film that is both an artistic achievement and an important document. This film puts people with special needs in the forefront of the public agenda and can change the way we see people with disabilities and open our hearts to their hardships and struggles.“

THE BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD was awarded by the international jury with president Lech Kowalski (director, USA) and members Tue Steen Müller (director and consultant, Denmark) and Natasha Dack Ojumu (producer, United Kingdom), went to the film AKASA, MY HOME (Romania-Germany) by Radu Ciorniciuc.
„A really intimate approach of the filmmaker - this privileged access along with the complexity of the issues, and the questions the film raises about family and the environment among other things made this film a winner.“

The Documentary Jury also awarded a SPECIAL MENTION to the film ANNY (Czech Republic) by Helena Třeštíková.
„This film is about so many things, and it’s such an important film because it’s about a class of people, who’re ignored. It’s a class of people that is growing around the world and this woman is just an incredible survivor.“

The Documentary Jury awarded a second SPECIAL MENTION to the film GUNDA (Norway-USA) by Viktor Kossakovsky.
„Viktor Kossakovsky surprises his audience once again by making a film which is beautiful to watch - black & white, and has quite an interesting protagonist. A very dramatic and emotional story about what it means to be a mother… It’s about our environment, it’s about our attitude, our connection to nature and animals. Kossakovsky is a master in cinematography and has again done something extraordinary.“

THE AWARD FOR BEST BULGARIAN FEATURE FILM was awarded by a jury of festival programmers Christine Dollhofer (director, Crossing Europe Film Festival, Linz), Stefan Laudyn (director, Warsaw IFF) and Lenka Tyrpáková (programmer, Karlovy Vary IFF) to FEBRUARY (Bulgaria-France) by director Kamen Kalev.
„This is a singular poetic and mysterious piece of work that in a masterful way creates an experience of acceleration and deceleration of the flow of time while exploring life and its biographical fractures. It is an immersive portrait of a man in the XX century which opens up spaces for contemplation through an outstanding cinematic approach. It opens for us a universe of time and takes us on a cinematic journey through life.“

THE FIPRESCI AWARD awarded by jury members Marcella Jelic (Croatia), Manuel Halpern (Portugal) and Dimitar Kabaivanov (Bulgaria) went to the film GERMAN LESSONS (Bulgaria-Germany) by director Pavel G. Vesnakov.
„For the social sharpness, showing the weakness and contradictions in a strong male character, overcoming the problems of his past and present in an intense psychological journey before heading to a new world of his dreams“.

THE AWARD OF THE BULGARIAN GUILD OF FILM CRITICS for a film from the Balkan Competition went to UPPERCASE PRINT (Romania) by Radu Jude.
„There was a strong selection in the Balkan competition and it was difficult for the jury to choose only one film - they were different, with important themes and individual styles. But the award is given to Radu Jude's „Uppercase Print“ for its experimental and unconventional approach to Romanian recent history and Securitate.“

THE YOUNG JURY AWARD of the festival for a film in the International Competition went to LUZZU (Malta) by director Alex Camilleri.
„It responsibly affects current and multifaceted issues, which will only become even more sensitive in the world in which we live. It touches and influences with its sincere and intimate approach to the story.“

Within the framework of the 25th Sofia International Film Festival THE SOFIA AWARD of the Sofia Municipality for contributions to the art of film was presented to:

Theodosii Spassov, musican and composer (Bulgaria)
Jafar Panahi, director (Iran)

The special FIPRЕSCI 96 PLATINUM AWARD by the world association of film critics was awarded to

Terry Gilliam, director (UK)

The SPECIAL EDITION of the 25th Sofia Film Festival is coming in SEPTEMBER with more films, guests and awards!

#DoNotMiss * #25SofiaIFF ONLINE – until 11 April!

The Sofia International Film Festival is supported by the Sofia Municipality.

Our main co-organizers and partners are the Ministry of culture, the Bulgarian National Film Centre and the European Union 'Creative Europe MEDIA' Programme.