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SOFIA 2021 Awards

Iuli Gerbase's The Pink Cloud wins the Sofia City of Film Grand Prix

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- Films from Bulgaria, Romania and Switzerland were also among the winners at the Bulgarian gathering, including Pavel G Vesnakov’s German Lessons, which scooped the Special Jury Award

Iuli Gerbase's The Pink Cloud wins the Sofia City of Film Grand Prix
Director Pavel G Vesnakov receiving the Special Jury Award for German Lessons

After a hybrid edition that was continuously under threat of being moved exclusively online, the 25th Sofia International Film Festival (11-21 March) managed to reach its scheduled conclusion still screening films in cinemas at 30% capacity. But, because the Bulgarian authorities closed all cinemas around the country yesterday, the Plovdiv, Burgas and Varna editions of the festival have had to be cancelled. Nevertheless, the Sofia IFF is still screening films online until 11 April.

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On Saturday, the festival managed to organise an awards gala in the imposing National Palace of Culture, where the Brazilian feature The Pink Cloud by Iuli Gerbase was crowned the winner of this edition’s top award, the Sofia City of Film Grand Prix.

The jury, led by Bulgarian-Canadian director Theodore Ushev (whose debut feature, Phi 1.618, was presented in the Sofia Meetings Works in Progress programme – see the news) and consisting of Bulgarian helmer Svetla Tsotsorkova (winner of the 2020 Grand Prix with her second feature, Sister [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Svetla Tsotsorkova
film profile
]
), Russian filmmaker Ilya Khrzhanovsky, Hungarian director Szabolcs Hajdu and Macedonian actress Nataša Petrović, handed the Special Jury Award to the debut feature German Lessons [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pavel G Vesnakov
film profile
]
(Bulgaria/Germany) by Pavel G Vesnakov, who also nabbed the FIPRESCI Award.

Starting on Monday, the festival continues online, with 73 films available through the festival’s streaming partners until 11 April. In September, there will be another edition of the Sofia IFF, with the organisers hoping that the autumn edition will be much more welcoming for foreign guests willing to introduce their work to an eager Bulgarian audience.

Here is the complete list of the award winners at the 25th Sofia International Film Festival:

Sofia City of Film Grand Prix
The Pink Cloud – Iuli Gerbase (Brazil)

Special Jury Award
German Lessons [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Pavel G Vesnakov
film profile
]
- Pavel G Vesnakov (Bulgaria/Germany)

Best Director
Zhou Ziyang - Wuhai (China)
Special Mention
Christian Johannes Koch - Spagat [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Christian Johannes Koch
film profile
]
(Switzerland)

Best Documentary
Acasă, My Home [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Radu Ciorniciuc
film profile
]
- Radu Ciorniciuc (Romania/Germany)
Special Mentions
Anny - Helena Trestikova (Czech Republic)
Gunda [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Viktor Kossakovsky (Norway/USA)

Best Balkan Film
Quo Vadis, Aida? [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jasmila Žbanić
film profile
]
- Jasmila Žbanić (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Austria/Romania/France/Netherlands/Germany/Poland/Norway/Turkey)
Special Mention
Oasis [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ivan Ikic
film profile
]
- Ivan Ikic (Serbia/Slovenia/Netherlands/France/Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Best Bulgarian Feature
February [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Kamen Kalev (Bulgaria/France)

FIPRESCI Award
German Lessons - Pavel G Vesnakov

Award of the Bulgarian Film Critics' Guild
Uppercase Print [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Radu Jude (Romania)

Young Jury Award for a Film in the International Competition
Luzzu [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alex Camilleri
film profile
]
- Alex Camilleri (Malta)

Best Bulgarian Short
Santiago - Andrey Koulev (Bulgaria)
Special Mention
Tanda - Teodora-Kosara Popova (Bulgaria)

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