24th Sofia International Film Festival - Summer #RESTART


25th of June – 19th of July 2020

SIFF AUTUMN is Coming Soon

The Sofia Film Festival returns to bring joy to it’s numerous admirers. The 24th edition of the biggest Bulgarian international film festival was postponed 3 days prior to the scheduled opening on the 12th of March 2020. Following the months of State of Emergency and Emergency Epidemic Situation, the festival provides an adaptive solution according to the measures preventing the dissemination of COVID-19.

The Festival is organized by Art Fest, under the patronage of the Sofia Municipality, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, with the support of the Creative Europe – MEDIA program of the European Union, national and foreign cultural institutes, sponsors, partners and friends.

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The 24th Sofia Film Festival will take place in two editions in two periods of 2020 – summer and autumn.

THE SOFIA FILM FESTIVAL SUMMER will take place ONLINE in the whole country, at open-air platforms and with selected screenings at Cinema House in Sofia.

The Festival restarted with preliminary screenings at Cinema House from the 5th of June with the retrospective of Aki Kaurismaki and the exhibition of Marja Lena Hukkanen “The Golden Land of Desire – photographs from the films of Aki Kaurismaki” at the Synthesis Gallery, organized in partnership with the Embassy of Finland and the Finnish Film Institute.

The Official opening of SIFF Summer will be held on the 25th of June on Platform A6 of the National Place of Culture with the Bulgarian premiere of the film “Parasite” by director Bong Joon-hoo, winner of 4 Academy Awards (including best picture), Palme d’Or at Cannes and more than 200 other recognitions from all over the world. At the the ceremony the Sofia Award will be presented to the artist animator, director, producer and set-designer Anri Kulev for his contribution to the art of cinema.

For the first time in its history the Sofia Film Festival will offer a part of its program ONLINE in partnership with the international platform Festival Scope&Shift72, leaders in offering online festival services in the world. The SIFF ONLINE program includes around 80 films. There are mostly films from the competition sections of the 24th SIFF: International First and Second Feature Competition, Balkan Competition, Documentary Competition, Bulgarian Short Film Competition. Among them are „A Fish Swimming Upside Down” by Elitza Petkova, „How to Fake a War“ by Rudolph Herzog, „Nocturnal“ by Natalie Biancheri, „18% Gray“ by Victor Chouchkov Jr., „Father“ by Sardjan Golubovic, „A Tale of Three Sisters“ by Emin Alper, „Honeyland“ by Tamara Kotevska and Lyubomir Stefanov (nominated for two Academy Awards), „Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound“ by Midge Costin. In the program you will also see films from the sections New Bulgarian Features, Cinema Today (films of established directors), Kaleidoscope and others. Among them are „Despite the Fog“ by Goran Paskalevic, „The Traitor“ by Marco Beloccio, „Martin Eden“ by Pietro Marciello, „State Funeral“ by Sergey Loznica, „Mr Kohl’s Final Hour“ by Doron Eran, „Young Ahmed“ the Dardin brothers, „Sorry we missed you“ by Ken Loach, „Physics of Sorrow“ by Theodore Ushev, animation features for children and their parents dubbed in Bulgarian „The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily“ by Lorenzo Mattotti and „The Prince’s Voyage“ by Jean-François Laguionie and Xavier Picard. The films will be available for a limited number of views in a period of a little over 3 weeks. Once the limit for a certain film is reached, the screening will be labeled as SOLD OUT and the film will not be available for anymore online screenings. With its ONLINE edition, the Sofia Film Festival becomes a festival for the whole country. Film lovers will have the opportunity to enrich their knowledge of a different, auteur and thoughtful cinema that can only be seen at a big international festival.

A special selection will be presented at the Cinema House - the only cinema hall during the summer edition of Sofia Film Fest, which will have indoor cinema screenings. With the exception of some Bulgarian films, the program will contain titles that are not repeated with the online edition or open-air screenings of the SFF. The programme at the Cinema House will provide an opportunity to meet some authors of the new Bulgarian feature and short film.

The third module of the summer edition of SFF will happen on open alternative cinema platforms. The opening and the ceremony, as well as some other gala screenings will be in Platform A6 of the National Palace of Culture. Special premieres with audience and presented by a team will have the Bulgarian feature film "Sister" by Svetla Tsotsorkova (honorary diploma from San Sebastian and the Grand Prix in Cottbus), as well as the German-Bulgarian co-production "Pelican's Blood" by director Catherine Gebe, who opened the competition "Horizons" in Venice and was shot entirely in Bulgaria (Bulgarian co-producer - "Miramar"). The film stars German film star Nina Hoss, Bulgarian child actors Katerina Lipovska and Adelia Oklepo, actors Yana Marinova, Dimitar Banenkin and others. On July 6, after the SFF Awards Ceremony, the co-production of Belgium, the Netherlands, Croatia and Bulgaria “The Barefoot Emperor” by the author's tandem Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens will have its Bulgarian premiere. The film, starring Peter van den Begin, Geraldine Chaplin and Udo Kier, is a sequel to the comedy “The King of Belgians” (nominated for European Comedy of the Year). The SFF Summer will also present films on the Open Stage platform in the park of the Military Academy, and content will be shared on the new Sofia Summer Fest platform behind the “Earth and People” Museum next to the Hilton Hotel, which will be part of the festival program and will presented for the first time in Sofia the Bulgarian feature film "The Father" by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov ("Crystal Globe" from Karlovy Vary and "Golden Rose" from Varna).

For the 18th year, an international jury will determine the favorite for the Grand Prize in the International Competition for the first or second feature film "Sofia - City of Film", containing a cash prize of 7,000 euros, provided by Sofia Municipality. The chairman of the jury is the British director Peter Weber ("The Girl with the Pearl Earring"), and its members are the producers Nicholas Celis (Mexico, producer of "Roma") and Jim Stark (USA, producer of the early films of Jim Jarmusch), and the Bulgarian actress Irmena Chichikova. The international jury will also determine the Award for Bulgarian short film, provided by Dolly Media Studio (8,000 euros in post-production services and 1,500 euros in cash prize). The Balkan jury will present the Domaine Boyar Award for Best Regional Film. Its members are directors Mira Fornay (Slovakia), Benedict Erlingson (Belgium) and Simona Kostova (Germany-Bulgaria). The chairman of the Documentary Jury is the Russian director Vitaly Mansky, and the members are the directors Andreas Horvat (Austria) and Svetoslav Draganov (Bulgaria). The international jury for a Bulgarian feature film will present the Bulsatcom Award of 3,000 euros. The members of the jury are Gaya Führer (artistic director of the Venice Days program at the Venice Film Festival), Stefan Laudin (director of the Warsaw Film Festival) and Ahmed Shauki (artistic director of the Cairo Film Festival).

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The Sofia Film Festival Autumn is previsioned from the end of September to the middle of October in sever cinema halls in Sofia and will include mainly films that are not a part of the summer edition. Among them are hits such as „The Dead Don't Die“ by Jim Jarmusch and „Lighthouse“ by Robert Eggers, „On Eternity“ by Roy Anderson, „Diego Maradona“ by Asif Kapadia, „Synonims“ (Golden Bear at Berlinal) by Nadav Lapid, „Guest of Honor“ by Atom Egoyan, „Ina de Yard“ by Peter Webber, „I am not alone“ by Garin Hovanisyan, „Cunningham“ by Alla Covgan, „La Dolce Vita“ by Federico Fellini, „By the Grace of God“ by Francois Ozon, „Arab Blues“ by Manele Labidi Labeh, „The Son“ by Mehdi Barsaoui, „Papisha“ by Mounia Meddur and „Adam“ by Mariam Touzani from the Francophonie 50 programme, „Lilian“ by Andreas Horvat, „The Problem with Being Born“ by Sandra Wollner and „Little Joe“ and Jessica Hausner from Focus Austria, Cinema-Gourmet, Music-box and other. In the autumn, the premieres of Bulgarian documentaries of the SIFF program will be held , as well as certain Bulgarian Feature Films premieres. We plan on welcoming some of the directors who has confirmed their visit for the March edition. In the autumn, the SIFF will realiza it's postponed tour in Bourgas, Plovdiv and Varna in cinema halls and it will also visit several other destinations from its travelling edition, where the audience can live the emotion of watching films on a big screen. Of course, it all depends on the epidemic situation in the country.

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The 17th Edition of the Sofia Meetings Co-production Market will be held entirely ONLINE. It’s beginning was set by the Works in Progress section which presented films in progress between the 27th of May and the 2nd of June. They were seen by a groundbraking number of festival selectioners (49) and sales representatives (16) from 27 countries on 5 continents, whichis a record in the history of the forum. Thus, Bulgarian and regional films were seen by the leading festivals of the world, among which were Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, Sundance, San Sebastian, Karlovy Vary, Moscow, Sarajevo, Thessaloniki, Warsaw, Talin and many others. It  was for the first time that festivals from Latin America (Mar del Plata, Cartagena) and Africa (Cairo) joned the screenings, as well as China (Shanghai) and even Mongolia (Ulaan Bator). The biggest success among the selected films was the inclusion of Kamen Kalev’s fourth feature film “February” in the official program of the Cannes Film Festival in 2020. The remaining modules of Sofia Meetings (First, second and third Feature Films Pitching), discussion and masterclass panels will be held between the 3rd and the 8th of July ONLINE on the Festival Scope Platform.

Many of the films in our program are available in the well-known way - TICKET at KEN, one of the symbols of Sofia Film Fest. For all spectators who still keep their KEN TICKETS purchased in March - they will apply to screenings at the Cinema House with online registration, it is necessary to carefully follow the text with instructions for its use. For all outdoor screenings, which are provided in the program of Sofia Film Fest Summer, a TICKET in KEN * VOUCHER can be handed directly at the box office to gain access to the selected screening. A TICKET IN KEN can be found in the trade network, and more information is available at siff.bg/bilet and can be obtained on the toll-free number 080018110.

The visual identity of the festival is once again produced by guts&brains DDB – Yordan Zhechev, Vassil Patrakov, Aglika Spasova, Mirela Dimitrova, who designed the visual identity for  the 2020 edition; the festival trailer was directed by Drago Sholev and is the resulted of the united creative efforts of Art Fest, guts&brains DDB and MatchPoint Productions.

The full festival program, detailed information about the ONLINe edition, the cinemas, the open platforms, the films, our partners and sponsors, you can find everywhere in Sofia.

For more details you can follow our website www.siff.bg, as well as our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube).


The Sofia Film Festival is part of the Sofia Municipality Cultural Events Calendar for 2020