Sofia Film Fest Begins in Bulgaria, with Famed Filmmakers from Turkey and Russia

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6 March 2008 | The twelfth edition of the yearly international Sofia Film Festival – Bulgaria’s most significant cinema event, begins today (3/6), to the delight of movie lovers in Bulgaria.

The festival’s programme includes around 100 feature films, 20 documentaries and 60 short films. More than 150 international guests are expected to attend the festival which will officially close on March 16, though some of the films will continue to be screened until the 27. All the films in the programme, regardless of their original language, will have English subtitles.

Among the festival’s guests will be Fatih Akin, the Turkish-German filmmaker, whose latest feature The Edge of Heaven will officially close the festival. In addition, the Russian film titan Nikita Mikhalkov will be awarded the Sofia Prize for Outstanding Merits to Film and his latest project 12 will be shown.

Beside an international competition and a world screen selection, the festival has a special focus on Balkan and Bulgarian cinema. Its Balkans Film Showcase, Lost&Found; Reunion, Bulgarian Features, the Best Balkan Shorts and the Bulgarian Shorts Jameson competition are just some of the categories that will showcase films from the region.

A highlight in the documentary program is the Bulgarian film Corridor # 8, which premiered and was awarded at the Berlinale Film Festival in February, as BalkanTravellers.com reported.

When it was launched 12 years ago, the Sofia Film Fest was a little more that chief organizer Stefan Kitanov’s attempt to bring Bulgarian audiences a few international films that didn’t make it to the movie theatres. More than a decade later and without any support by the state, the festival has established itself as an important cinematic event in the region and the world.

Each year, during the time of the festival – perhaps aided by the impending spring, the city’s mood elevates. The crowds that gather around the half a dozen venues where the films are screened, but also the buzz of the numerous parties, dinners and press conferences make the city feel like a truly European one.

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