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Film Festivals

Film Festivals
Film Festivals in Sofia are numerous and diverse in their thematic trend.

  1. World Film Panorama KINOMANIA. It was launched in 1987 as World Film Panorama. The programme of each edition includes premieres of some of the most prominent films from world cinema of the previous two years, and that were not yet projected on Bulgarian screen. The selection of movies at KINOMANIA is very precise, and each year the format is upgraded to be even more interesting to viewers.
  2. Sofia INTERNATIONAL Film Festival. The 19th edition of Sofia Film Fest – the largest cinema event in Sofia and Bulgaria took place in March this year. Apart from film screenings and a competition programme, the Festival brings together very notable filmmakers, stars, journalists and lovers of cinema. It is organised by “Art Fest” under the auspices of Sofia Municipality, in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, the National Film Centre, and The National Palace of Culture, with the support of the MEDIA programmes and MEDIA Mundus of the European Commission, the UNESCO, The Regional Bureau for Sciences and Culture in Europe, national and foreign cultural institutes, and other sponsors.
  3. The International Festival of Independent Film SO INDEPENDENT, Sofia & New York. The mission of the Festival of Independent Film SO INDEPENDENT is to create and enhance cultural contacts between Bulgaria and America, to support the movement of artists and works of art across the Atlantic, to promote Bulgarian culture in the United States and the American culture, not well-known in Bulgaria. The first edition of the festival took place in 2010.
  4. The International Festival of EUROPEAN CO-PRODUCTIONS. This is held in Sofia in the spring (May-June) in the categories of feature and documentary films for the big screen. New European films of the previous two years that have never been shown in Bulgaria, created in co-production with at least one European country, participate in the event. The organiser of the Festival is the National Film Centre (NFC).
  5. The International Animation Film Festival Golden KUKER. Its launch took place in 2010 in Sofia with the objective to support young animators and animation students. It is held each spring in May. Young professionals from around the world meet at the Festival. It is organised by an NGO, the Bulgarian Association of Independent Cartoon Animators BAICA “Proyko Proykov” (a legendary Bulgarian animator).
  6. The Forest Film Fest. GROVE Film Festival is part of the project “Agents of Change”, a platform for awareness-raising and realisation in a more sustainable future. It is funded within the framework of the Programme in support of NGOs in Bulgaria, and under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic plan. 2009-2014
  7. The International Festival of ETHNOGRAPHIC FILM (MFEF). It was launched in the autumn of 2010, and presents different aspects and elements of cultures from around the world. This year the MFEF is organised by the “Association of Cultural Initiatives” in partnership with the division “Ethnology” at Sofia University SU “St. Kliment Ohridski” and the “Academic Ethnological Association”. They have the financial support of the programme “Culture” for 2015 of the Municipality of Sofia. Also, the Student’s Council and the Cultural Centre of SU, and the Regional Centre for the protection of intangible cultural heritage in Southeast Europe under the auspices of UNESCO.
  8. The Sofia MENAR Film Festival. Its purpose is to acquaint the Bulgarian audience with the culture and traditions of the Islamic world. The programme of Sofia MENAR Film Festival presents the best of feature, documentary and short films of the Middle East and North Africa. It includes especially selected themed events associated with the countries of this region, and customs of ethnic groups that inhabit its lands. The event is held each year in January, and is delivered in Sofia in parallel with other major Bulgarian cities. It is organised by “POZOR” and is the largest of its kind cultural event of the Balkans. The MENAR acronym comes from the name under which the countries of this region are determined as a whole – Middle East and North Africa Region. Menár / منار, is pronounced MANAR, in Arabic means lighthouse, light tower, or beacon. It is a derivative of the word NUR / نور /, which in Arabic means light.
  9. The NORTHERN LIGHTS Festival. The Festival is focused on Nordic and Baltic cinema, which is less known in Bulgaria. It is usually held in December, and so far the Festival has carried out five editions.
  10. EARLY BIRD. Early Bird is an international student film festival for arts students who wish to present their projects to colleagues and world audience, share their knowledge and skills and to present a challenge before the world. The International Student Film Festival “Early Bird” is organised by the association “Early Bird” and the American Foundation for Bulgaria in partnership, and with the support of the Foundation “America for Bulgaria” and Jameson. In 2014 “Early Bird” celebrated its tenth anniversary, in which 122 student films from 37 countries were screened. The jury is international, and distributes awards in ten categories.
  11. Sofia BITING DOCS presents a selection of documentary films, and focuses on important topics for society – human rights violations, discrimination of various minorities and their integration in host countries, environmental issues, as well as everything from documentary filmmaking, which shows interesting stories and people – films made in order to inform and provoke, and put forward various issues to be discussed. Within the framework of the Festival and along side with film screening, debates and lectures are also organised. It is held in early October. The Festival has carried out two editions so far.
  12. Meetings of YOUNG EUROPEAN CINEMA. This is a new festival debut for Bulgaria, which was launched in September 2014 in Sofia. The event integrates screenings, master classes and workshops with the participation of young European filmmakers.
  13. SOFIA PRIDE Film Fest.  The Festival presents films treating the theme of sexuality, and the attitude of different European societies to homosexuals. The Festival, which is held in June, is a call for tolerance towards people with different beliefs, sexual inclinations, political and religious mores, and other tendencies. Its eighth edition will be carried out this year.
  14. FILMINI is an international festival of short-films with a competitive character. It aims to contribute to the production and presentation of creative short-films, and to promote a friendly spirit of cooperation among professionals from all over the world. FILMINI is organised by a not-for-profit association for the public interest “SEDEM” and “Screening Emotions”. Ltd.
  15. International Film Festival for the heritage “IDOLS”: The participating films are in the categories “Culture”, “Archeology”, and “Traditions”. Together with the Bulgarian cultural heritage, they present significant world models of their field, provided by international cultural institutes, embassies, international film festivals, and independent authors. The Festival’s programme anticipates seminars on the issues of cultural heritage, and also matters related to minors audience. The Festival has already organised eight editions.
  16. International film festival “NEW WAVE is organised by the Department of “Film, Advertising, and Show Business” of the New Bulgarian University. Participants in the Festival come from the Balkan Peninsula, and the Black Sea region.

Awarded Bulgarian films for the past ten years see here.

Sofia creative city cinema UNESCO

On 01.12.2014, Sofia joins the network of creative cities of UNESCO, and was awarded the title "City of Film". The certificate was presented by the Director General of the International Organisation Mrs. Irina Bokova, the Mayor of Sofia Mrs. Yordanka Fandoukova


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