Sofia Film Fest to Kick Off March 7

The region’s main film event is to feature the international and Balkan competitions.

MOSCOW -- On March 7, the 17th edition of the Sofia International Film Festival will kick off in the Bulgarian capital, with about 300 films to be screened in the fest’s various sections.

The festival’s main section is the International Competition, in which 12 features are to compete for the Grand Prix.

The section’s highlights include Gimme the Loot by the U.S. director Adam Leon, the Latvian-Icelandic co-production Mona, directed by In?ra Kolmane, Oh Boy by Germany’s Jan Ole Gerster, El Ultimo Elvis (The Last Elvis) by Argentine director Armando Bo and the German/Moldovan film Panihida, directed by Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu.

Eleven features have been selected for the Balkan Competition, including Praktican Vodic Kroz Beograd Sa Pevanjem I Plakanjem (A Practical Guide to Belgrade with Crying and Singing), co-produced by Serbia, Germany, France, Hungary and Croatia and directed by Bojan Vuleti?, and Despere Oameni Si Melci (Of Snails and Men) by Romania’s Tudor Giurgiu.

The festival’s other sections include Cinema Today -- Masters, Cinema Tomorrow -- Discoveries, New Bulgarian Features and the documentary and short film competitions.

Costa Gavras, Itzhak Finzi, Paolo Taviani and Jos Stelling are to receive honorary awards.

The Sofia Meetings, a co-production market run as part of the festival, is being held March 15-18. The event is to consist of three sections: Second Film Pitching, Plus Minus One and Projects in Bank, for which 27 projects have been selected.

The festival’s awards will be handed out at the closing ceremony on March 23.