13rd Sofia International Film Festival

Bulgaria, March 5 - March 15 2009

The jury

Einar Staalesen (Norway), Tonci Valentic (Croatia), Ingeborg Bratoeva-Daraktchieva (Bulgaria)

Awarded films

Each year, in March, the world looks a bit different seen from Sofia. For the 13th time, the Sofia International Film Festival presented more than 200 films through its international, regional and national programs, featuring captivating stories, told from the distinct perspectives of either insiders or outsiders. Most films reflected the close relations of film directors to their native culture and society. At least this was the case with the twelve films in the competition program of “young cinema”, introducing first or second works of directors around the world, which was assessed by the FIPRESCI jury.

Alongside the majority of films, portraying the world from an insider, or local point of view, there were a number of films out of competition, which, like The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, told their stories from without, offering examples of films with unusual identity.

The European Screen program consisted of 13 films; the Special Screenings — of 9 films; the selection of Monty Python’s films and New British Films (made in 2008) was introduced by Michael Palin. The festival also featured a focus on Turkish cinema as well as two more competition programs — of Balkan films and of Bulgarian films. In addition, the Sofia Meeting Forum promoted and presented new Balkan projects and screenings of almost completed new Bulgarian film productions.

The guest list comprised of 200 names. The general public had the opportunity to buy tickets for most screenings, but seemingly only those with a special interest in film grabbed the chance. There was definitely room for a greater number of viewers at most venues. (Einar Guldvog Staalesen)

Sofia International Film Festival: www.siff.bg