The 18th edition of Sofia Meetings announces its winning projects
- Projects from Serbia, Bulgaria, Cyprus and the Czech Republic have scooped awards at the Bulgarian co-production market
For the second time, Sofia Meetings, the industry event of the Sofia International Film Festival, took place online (17-24 March), presenting dozens of new projects to an audience of producers, distributors and film-festival representatives. The organisers announced the winners on Wednesday evening.
Frost by Pavle Vuckovic won the Ten Dots Film & TV Virtual Production Studio Award. This feature, produced by Stefan Mladenov, is being staged by Serbian production company Plan 9. The story follows a police detective, Miryana, who arrives in a small town to investigate the disappearance of a girl. Confronting the locals during her investigation, she will soon come to understand that her case may be connected to a bigger secret.
The Cinelab Romania Award was bestowed upon Gregorious the Chosen One by Tomasz Mielnik (Czech Republic). The film, produced by Klara Zaloudkova and Mikulas Novotny through Background Films, will follow the extraordinary journey of a medieval orphan, who will become a knight and save a kingdom. And, when the world needs a new pope, he may take it upon himself to become just that.
As for the Focusfox Award, this was pocketed by Tonia Mishiali for Maya (Cyprus). Following her successful debut, Pause [+see also:
interview: Tonia Mishiali
film profile], Mishiali is directing and producing (together with Stelana Kliris and Bark Like a Cat) a new feature centred on a female protagonist. It is about Maya, a rebellious psychiatrist who arrives in an isolated mountain village to inherit her parents' house. Maya will be amazed by the patriarchal community and its plethora of superstitions, fears and fables, and her new experiences may help her discover herself and her family's history.
Meanwhile, the Eastwest Filmdistribution Award went to Grace for Sale by Emre Sert and Gozde Yetiskin (Turkey). A story about greed, this feature developed at Guverte Film by producer Suzan Guverte follows a poor villager who happens upon a valuable meteorite. But, as he struggles to sell it for a larger amount, the hero will discover that he may very well end up losing what little he has.
DJ Ahmet by Georgi M Unkovski (North Macedonia) was deemed deserving of the Young Producer Award YAPIMLAB. Staged by Cinema Futura and Sektor Film, the film follows Ahmet, a teenager living in a small Turkish village in North Macedonia. His dreams of becoming a DJ are threatened when his father announces that Ahmet is to stop going to school in order to take care of the family's livestock and his little brother. The 15-year-old will soon clash with his father’s expectations and the conservative community he lives in.
The Villa Kult Berlinale Residency Award was presented to Yassen Grigorov for The Elevator (Bulgaria). This project, produced by Chouchkov Brothers, focuses on Peter, a nine-year-old boy visiting his grandparents for the summer holidays. Peter tragically realises that this may be the last time that he sees his grandfather, as the elderly man is slowly fading away. Supported by his friends, Peter will try to accept this eventual loss.
Finally, the Mediterranean Film Institute Award was shared by DJ Ahmet by Georgi M Unkovski and I'll Be Gone in June by Katharina Rivilis (Germany). The screenplay of the latter follows Franny, a 16-year-old exchange student from Germany who arrives in the United States in 2001. Franny may be searching for freedom and the American Dream, but she ends up in a small town in New Mexico, where she meets Elliott, a teenager who seems to have failed in life even before reaching adulthood. And, as Franny is getting ready to leave, the two try to stop time from running out…
Mira Staleva, the head of Sofia Meetings, tells Cineuropa, “This year’s Sofia Meetings was richer and more vibrant, with new sections like [the one presenting] TV series projects alongside the traditional trans-media corner, and with inspiring speakers like Agnieszka Holland; Jeff Gomez, who is behind titles of the likes of Avatar [+see also:
film profile] and Pirates of the Caribbean; Zeinep Atakan, the long-time producer of Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s films; casting director Beatrice Kruger; and many others. The discussions with distributors, streamers and exhibitors were some of the highlights, as we know the market is changing and remoulding its shape quite intensely at the moment. Different ways of approaching films are complementary, and this is so important for building our strategies for the future.”
Here is the full list of awards that were handed out at the 18th Sofia Meetings:
Ten Dots Film & TV Virtual Production Studio Award
Frost - Pavle Vuckovic (Serbia)
Producer: Stefan Mladenov (Plan 9)
Cinelab Romania Award
Gregorious the Chosen One - Tomasz Mielnik (Czech Republic)
Producers: Klara Zaloudkova and Mikulas Novotny (Background Films)
Maya - Tonia Mishiali (Cyprus)
Producers: Tonia Mishiali and Stelana Kliris (Bark Like a Cat)
Eastwest Filmdistribution Award
Grace for Sale - Emre Sert and Gozde Yetiskin (Turkey)
Producer: Suzan Guverte (Guverte Film)
Young Producer Award YAPIMLAB
DJ Ahmet - Georgi M Unkovski (North Macedonia)
Producers: Cinema Futura, Sektor Film
Villa Kult Berlinale Residency Award
The Elevator - Yassen Grigorov (Bulgaria)
Producer: Chouchkov Brothers
Mediterranean Film Institute Award
DJ Ahmet - Georgi M Unkovski
I'll Be Gone in June - Katharina Rivilis (Germany)
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