The 27th Sofia International Film Festival presents in 2023 a total of 170 films from 53 countries.
Special selection of the films is available ONLINE from anywhere in Bulgaria till 9 April at The festival welcomed over 300 international guests.

The Awards Ceremony took place at Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture on 25 March 2023.


Milcho Manchevski (North Macedonia) – Director, Jury President
Agnieszka Smoczynska (Poland) – Director
Milena Kaneva (Bulgaria-Italy) – Writer, Director, Producer and Actress
Alexandra Kotcheff (USA – Writer, Director, Producer and Actress
Vladmir Penev (Bulgaria) – Actor


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 RED SHOES (Mexico-Italy) by director Carlos Eichelmann Kaiser and producers Gabriela Maldonado, Paolo Ansaldi, Alejandro de Icaza and Maria Pia Billi.

„Simple, focusing on humanity. The filmmakers’ craft is original and seamless.”

THE SPECIAL JURY AWARD went to CLOVES AND CARNATIONS (Turkey-Belgium) by director Bekir Bülbül.

„Тhe story unfolds patiently, surprising the viewers with beauty and minimalism, answering questions in a mystical way.“

AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR went to Vasilis Katsoupis for his film INSIDE (Greece-Germany-Belgium-Switzerlad-United Kingdom).

„For the director's exemplary craft in sucking us into a claustrophobic world.”

SPECIAL MENTION was awarded to the film THE OTHER WIDOW (Israel-France) by director Maayan Rypp.

„For an emerging unique voice that successfully strikes a balance between comedy and drama.”

SPECIAL MENTION was awarded to MALIN KRASTEV for his economical yet powerful performance in the film THE GOOD DRIVER (Finland-Sweden-Bulgaria) by director Tonislav Hristov.

The BEST BULGARIAN SHORT FILM AWARD in the amount of 9,500 Euro (1,500 Euro cash prize and 8,000 Euro in postproduction services), provided by Doli Media Studio, went to TRACE (Bulgaria) by director Asparuh Petrov.

„For the evocative and symbolic storytelling and original act.“

BEST BALKAN FILM AWARD awarded by Balkan jury president Kostadin Bonev (writer, director and producer, Bulgaria) and members Hana Cielová (scriptwriter and festival programmer, Czech Republic) and George Ovashvili (director, writer and producer, Georgia), went to BURNING DAYS (Turkey-France-Germany-The Netherlands-Greece-Croatia) by director Emin Alper.

„The film combines strong story with strong cinematic vision. The director brings to the silver screen the real life with real problems of contemporary society not only in Turkey but also in other places. This real life is reflected in all elements of the film, including the script, the actors, or the camera work.“

THE BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD, awarded by the International Documentary jury with president Kate Cragg (director, United Kingdom) and members Ralitsa Golemanova (director and writer, Bulgaria) and Ahmet Boyacioğlu (director of Golden Orange IFF, Antalya, director, producer and editor, Turkey), went to the film APOLONIA, APOLONIA (Denmark) by Lea Glob.

„For its emotional complexity, for its multi-faceted representation of women, for its embodiment of a fracturing Europe and identity, for its questions about art, artists and borders. And for its meditations on a life worth living and loss in all its forms.”

The Documentary Jury also awarded a SPECIAL MENTION to the film FRAGILE MEMORY (Ukraine-Slovakia) by Igor Ivanko.

„For its sensitive representation of many disintegrations, for its tender and curious look at the history of Cinema, the history of a studio and the history of a man and for its questions about what we can preserve in history and life.“

THE AWARD FOR BEST BULGARIAN FEATURE FILM was awarded by a jury of festival programmers - Dimitris Kerkinos (programmer, Thessaloniki IFF), Basak Emre (artistic director at Antalya Film Festival Golden Orange), and Stefan Uhrik (programmer of Febiofest, Prague) to THE GOOD DRIVER (Finland-Sweden-Bulgaria) by director Tonislav Hristov.

„For its honest treatment of personal responsibility and its emphasis on the importance of solidarity. Imbued with the melancholy of a wasted past when life was easier but full of wrong decisions, the film highlights, without any sentimentality, the protagonist’s futile efforts to make up for his past wrongdoings and balances the heavy burden he must carry with the soothing power of friendship.“

THE FIPRESCI AWARD awarded by jury members Ladislav Volko (Slovakia), Michael Ranze (Germany) and Rossen Spassov (Bulgaria) went to the film RED SHOES (Mexico-Italy) by director Carlos Eichelmann Kaiser.

„A gripping story about an old man forced to leave behind his home in the countryside to go to Mexico City. The lead's naturalistic and touching performance engages the viewer through this tragic tale. The film's message is universal, but heightened by the specific cultural context.”

THE AWARD OF THE BULGARIAN GUILD OF FILM CRITICS for a film from the Balkan Competition went to A SAFE PLACE (Croatia) by Juraj Lerotić.

„For the courage, sincerity and dignity with which this existential but also deeply personal story is told.”

THE AUDIENCE AWARD for a film in the International Competition for first and second films and Balkan competition went to THE ART OF FALLING (Bulgaria) by director Orlin Milchev.

THE YOUNG JURY AWARD of the festival for a film in the International Competition went to RED SHOES (Mexico-Italy) by director Carlos Eichelmann Kaiser.

„We were looking for a story that transcends the different tastes and understandings of everyone. A sincere story in which everyone can find something meaningful. The film that we chose as our winner reminds us of these meaningful things, which „should not be put off too long, lest it be too late“. The theme of human intimacy and its fragility stopped our choice on Carlos Kaiser's „The Red Shoes“.

YOUNG AUDIENCE has chosen its winner in the first “SFF Teen” competition from the specially selected films - and it is WATERS OF PASTAZA (Portugal) by director Inês T. Alves.

Within the framework of the 27th Sofia International Film Festival THE SOFIA AWARD of the Sofia Municipality for contribution to the art of film was presented to:

Geraldine Chaplin, actress (USA)
Radoslav Spassov, cinematographer, director, writer, producer (Bulgaria)

The Sofia International Film Festival is financially supported by the Sofia Municipality and the Ministry of Culture.
Our main co-organizers and partners are the Bulgarian National Film Centre and the European Union’s Creative Europe MEDIA Programme.