Sofia Fest takes Shelter as top prize
by Stefan Dobroiu
14/03/2011 - Local film Shelter [trailer] by Dragomir Sholev has won the 15th Sofia International Film Festival (SIFF), which ended Sunday night with an awards gala at the National Palace of Culture. The black comedy – written by Sholev with Romania’s Razvan Radulescu and Dutch filmmaker Melissa De Raaf (directors of First of All, Felicia [trailer, film focus]) – about a couple's misadventures following the disappearance of their teenage son in Sofia's punk underworld also won the Best Bulgarian Film Award and the Audience Award.
The jury headed by Iceland's Fridrik Tor Fridrikson and comprising directors Alvaro Brechner (Uruguay), Kamen Kalev (Bulgaria) and Ognjen Svilicic (Croatia), and German industry expert and journalist Gabriele Brunnenmeier gave the Jury Special Award to Selim Gunes’ Turkish film White as Snow. The drama centres on a young boy desperate to win some money for his family, impoverished after the father's imprisonment.
The Best Director Award went to Brazil's Joao Nuno Pinto for his debut feature America (US/Russia/Spain/Brazil), while Ivailo Hristov’s Bulgarian film Footsteps in the Sand received the Best Balkan Film Award.
The Jameson Short Film Award for Best Bulgarian Short Film Award went to Pavel G. Vesnakov's Trains, Best Documentary to The Rules of Single Life by Tonislav Hristov and Swedish title Sound of Noise [trailer] by Ola Simonson and Johannes Stjarne Nilsson took the FIPRESCI Award.
Famed actress Claudia Cardinale, Bulgarian actor Russi Chanev and directors Otar Iosseliani and Claude Lelouch received Lifetime Achievement Awards for their contribution to world cinema.
From March 4-13, SIFF screened a total of 205 films from 53 countries.