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SOFIA 2021

The Sofia International Film Festival’s autumn edition emphasises physical presence

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- The second part of the festival’s 25th gathering is having the crème de la crème of the Eastern European film scene present their works to Bulgarian audiences

The Sofia International Film Festival’s autumn edition emphasises physical presence
Brighton 4th by Levan Koguashvili

After a socially modest edition in March, which was nonetheless rich in terms of content and took place both online and offline, Bulgaria’s main film festival is now taking a chance on returning to normal. Showing a compact programme that summarises the best from the spring edition, between 14 and 30 September, the Sofia International Film Festival offers the luxury of most of its titles being introduced by their authors during live and outdoor screenings. The festival clearly emphasises the importance of physical events over online streaming.

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Georgian director Levan Koguashvili will present his latest film Brighton 4th [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Levan Koguashvili
film profile
]
at the opening on 14 September, which was co-produced by SIFF’s president Stefan Kitanov and managing director Mira Staleva through production company Art Fest. The same evening, Hungarian helmer Kornél Mundruczó, who won the festival’s first official competition in 2003 with Pleasant Days [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
and is now bringing his most recent film Pieces of a Woman [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Kornél Mundruczó and Kata W…
film profile
]
, will receive the Special Award of this edition.

A number of other established Eastern European film artists will attend the event to personally discuss their works with spectators: provocative Russian director Ilya Khrzhanovskiy (DAU. Natasha [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ilya Khrzhanovskiy
film profile
]
), Ukrainian documentarist Vitaly Mansky (Gorbachev. Heaven [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), Macedonian actress Nataša Petrović and filmmaker Igor Ivanov (Only Human), Serbian director Oleg Novković (The Living Man [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), Slovak director Martin Šulík (The Man with the Hare Ears [+see also:
trailer
interview: Martin Šulík
film profile
]
), Hungarian actress and producer Orsolya Török-Illyés (Treasure City [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Szabolcs Hajdu), Armenian director Garin Hovannisian (I'm not alone [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), Romanian Cristi Puiu (Malmkrog [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Cristi Puiu
film profile
]
) who will also receive the FIPRESCI 96 Platinum Award and will give a masterclass. Among the physically present international filmmakers are British director John-Paul Davidson (The Man in the Hat) who was part of the Balkan Competition Jury in March, Brazilian debutant Iuli Gerbase who won this year’s international competition award with The Pink Cloud, and Iranian director Siamak Etemadi (Pari [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Siamak Etemadi
film profile
]
).

Two contemporary film masters will be honoured with retrospectives during the autumn SIFF edition: Finnish veteran Mika Kaurismaki, who will also receive the Sofia Municipality award, and Bulgarian-Canadian animator Theodore Ushev, who was serving as the head of the international competition jury in March, and will showcase his experimental work for the first time in Bulgaria.

The documentary selection’s special guest is German filmmaker Andres Fayel, invited to introduce his films Boys and Ecocide, while Bulgarian documentaries Occupation or Liberation by Svetoslav Ovcharov and Destiny of a Bum by Anna Kitanova will have their premieres.

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