Bulgaria’s biggest annual cinema event, Sofia International Film Festival, opens on March 5 at the National Palace of Culture (NDK) in familiar fashion – the screening of a feature film by a Bulgarian director, in this case The Petrov File by Georgi Balabanov.
Another familiar feature of the festival is that it brings critically-acclaimed big-name feature films unlikely to see a wide theatre release in Bulgaria. This year, it includes Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning Leviathan, a bleak look at life and corruption in modern Russia, closing the festival on March 15.
In addition to Leviathan, the festival programme includes the screening of three other films nominated for the best foreign-language film in Tangerines (Estonia-Georgia), Timbuktu (Mauretania) and Wild Tales (Argentina). The sole absentee is the winner of the Oscar, Poland’s Ida.
In the documentary section of the festival, the biggest name is Oscar-winning Citizenfour, the story of whistleblower Edward Snowden.
This year’s special screenings series is focusing on Georgian cinema, which includes both Tangerines and Nana Dzhordzhadze’s fellow Oscar nominee (in 1997), A Chef in Love. Another area of focus is Bulgarian cinema – celebrating its centenary this year – with special screenings of communist era (pre-1989) classics and the best Bulgarian films released in the last quarter of a century.
For the full programme, screening times and cinemas, visit Sofia International Festival’s website. The programme can be navigated by film, listed alphabetically, by date and by cinema.