Sofia International Film Festival Kicks Off Friday

A scene from Jaffe Zinn's "Magic Valley," which will make its Sofia Film Festival debut.

The fest is one of the main film events in the Balkan region.

MOSCOW – The 16th edition of the Sofia International Film Festival, one of the main film events in the Balkan region, kicks off on Friday.

The festival’s program consists of 138 features, 39 documentaries and more than 80 shorts that are to be screened in the fest’s traditional sections, such as the International Competition for the First and Second Feature Films, Cinema Today, Discoveries, New Bulgarian Features and the Balkan Competition.

The main highlights of the International Program, in which films will compete for the Grand Prix, are Magic Valley by the American director Jaffe Zinn, the Brazilian/French/Argentine co-production Historias que so existem quando lembradas (Stories Only Exist When Remembered), directed by Júlia Murat, and the British film Holy Flying Circus directed by Owen Harris.

The fest’s other notable events are the premiere of Anja SalomonowitzSpain, the gala screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis with piano accompaniment by Marcus Horne and the Bulgarian premiere of the Austrian movie A Late Summer’s Night, directed by Bernhard Kammel, which is to feature actors Sofia Kuzeva, Martin Geraskov and Christa Cherneva.

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The opening night film will be Ave by Bulgarian director Konstantin Bozhanov, which had its premiere at the Critics Week in Cannes last year and later won the Special Jury Prize at the Sarajevo International Film Festival.

On March 18, the international jury, presided by British director David Mackenzie, is to announce the winners of the festival’s prizes.

Jodaeiye Nader az Simin (A Separation)by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi and Borislav Kolev’s documentary Stoichkov, centered on the legendary Bulgarian footballer Hristo Stoichkov, will be simultaneously screened as the fest’s closing night movies at different venues.

The Sofia Meetings co-production market is to be held as part of the festival on March 15-18, featuring 18 projects in three sections – Second Film Pitching, Plus Minus One and Projects in Bank.