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, 01 May 2003
, 01 May 2003
7th Sofia Film Festival
Sofia 2003 programmed over 120 films 989 features, 15 documentaries, plus shorts), a competition for first and second features (12 films), a Bulgarian showcase, French coproductions, Scandinavian cinema, European films, documentaries, avant-premieres of commercial hits, tributes to Otar Yoseliani and Takeshi Kitano - a rich program that drew crowds to the National Palace of Culture, the adjacent Lumiere Cinema, and four other city venues. Critics, as well as the jury, were unanimous in their praise for Hanna Slak's Blind Spot (Slovenia), about a girls attempt to help a friend withdraw from heroin.
KINO GERMAN FILM, 01 May 2003
NOT AN EASY SCRIPT
Patrick McGrath, author and scriptwriter talked to Spot On

What is your opinion of Sofia Film Festival?
I thought the festival was excellent. It was very well-organized, and it seemed well-funded, as we were all made very comfortable in the Radisson. The hospitality was wonderful, plenty of good food and wine. The range of films screened was impressive and truly international. The catalogue was well-produced and well-written. Stefan Kitanov was superb not only as organizer and host, but also as front man for a fine pickup band which played all the music I love best one night at a club called Back Stage. And he had a team of lovely, friendly, efficient people working for him whose job it was to make life easy for us visitors, and they did.
SPOT ON, 26 Apr 2003
THE 7th SOFIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The 7th edition of the annual Sofia International Film Festival can only be described in two words - total success. In a relatively short time, the founder and director of the festival Stefan Kitanov has managed to turn a small local music and film festival into one of the mos well-known and regular European cinematic events with the potential of taking a prominent position among authoritative film festivals such as the ones in Berlin and San Sebastian. Many new aspects have been added to the festival since it became a member of the prestigious European Coordination of Film Festivals and has joined the MEDIA Programme of the European Commission, which is aimed at supporting and promoting European cinema. For the first time there was a competition programme and two international juries, one of which was the impressive FIPRESCI (la Federation Internationale de la Presse Cinematographique) jury.
The most serious achievements of the Sofia International Film Festival are, in the first place, to promote new Bulgarian cinema and, in the second, to show Bulgarian cinema lovers the best in European and American films, most of which are sadly still ignored by Bulgarian distributors.
The very professionally and carefully selected programme of the festival included more than 120 films - 89 feature films, 15 documentaries and more than 30 short films. Of them, 97 had their premiere in Bulgaria and ti was a pity that 99 of the films will never be shown again in the country. There was an interesting emphasis on Balkan films in an attempt to make a bridge with the festivals in Skopje - Macedonia and Belgrade - Serbia and Montenegro. There were other, deliberate accents on Scandinavian, Japanese and British cinema, as well as on French co-productions with African and Asian producers.
The many discussions and conferences organised in parallel with the screenings of films made this year's festival even more attractive and interesting. There was a Round Table which discussed the opportunities for experimental work which digital techniques provide. This discussion was combined with the screening of the two latest films by the proiment British director Mike Figgis - Timecode and Hotel.
Among the numerous talks, the one with the famous Georgian director Otar Iosseliani, who presented his new film Monday Morning, stood out. The German writer professor Martin Thau also held a seminar on script writing.
Among the Bulgarian feature films two debuts stood out - Emigrants by Ivailo Hristov and Rhapsody in White by Teddy Moskov. Both films are encouraging signs that the flagging cinematic production of the country is on the road of recovery. To help this process, Sofia International Film Festival became the best venue to see the finest of Bulgarian cinema in recent years. All the films were screened with English subtitles that attracted the attention of the 60+ guests of the festival. This resulted in keen interest expressed by the famous Venice Festival towards one of the Bulgarian feature films.
SPOT ON, 26 Apr 2003
SOFIA 2003
A BIG CULTURAL EUROPEAN EVENT


It maybe a surprise but the 7th Sofia International Film Festival turned in a big cultural European event held according all high international standards and rules. Moreover, held with love namely for art in cinema both from the side of its organizers and from the side of the huge for a little country like Bulgaria young audiance. All these proofed that even the unbelievable can be done when there is an art management of good quality like the one shown by the Sofia Film Festival director Stefan Kitanov and his team.
As a Bulgarian film critic I had a look how this festival developed during the years without any compromise and how quickly it succeeded to turn to the cinema of art quality from Europe and all over the world. Therefore, in 2002 the Sofia International Film Festival become member of the European Coordination of Film Festivals of the European Union and already is supported by the European MEDIA Programme.
This year Sofia International Film Festival reached beyond the confines of Sofia as Sofia International Film Festival "AT THE COAST" that was held in Bulgarian sea-town Bourgas.(...)
It is worth nothing the high quality and design of the festival catalogue.
Sofia International Film Festival 2003 was attended by more than 60 foreign guests - filmmakers, critics, producers, festival directors.
After the very successful 7th edition of the festival we can expect that Sofia International Film Festival will continue to develop as one of the respectable European film forums and will attract the attention of the international media that cover the cultural events in Europe.
ISKRA DIMITROVA, FIPRESCI FESTIVAL REPORTS, 20 Apr 2003
, 16 Apr 2003
PLEASANT DAYS WINS SOFIA FESTIVAL'S FIRST INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
Hungary's Pleasant Days has been awarded the Grand Prix at The Sofia International Film Festival's first ever competitive event.
The seventh edition of the Bulgarian Film Festival had a total of 12 films were competing for the prizes awarded by a five member jury including Bulgarian actress Ani Valchanova, Croation director Dalibor Matanic, Czech director Petr Zelenka, Serbian director Radivoje Andric and founder and director of the Umea International Film Festival Thom Palmen.
The Grand Prix of Stella Artois was awarded to the Hungarian entry, Kornel Mundruczo's drama Pleasant Days, the award included a diploma and a purse of Euros 5,000.
The jury awarded the Best Director prize to young Slovenian filmmaker Hanna A. W. Slak for Blind Spot, an intimate drama about outcasts. The jury also awarded the Jameson Short Film Award to Bulgarian Ivan Rusev's animation Yellow - out of the twelve films in competition.
the festival's FIPRESCI jury awarded its prize to Romanian director Cristian Mungiu's Occident and gave a special mention to to Deyan Donkov, Ivan Radoev and Valeri Yordanov for their performance in Emigrants.
BLANKA ELEKES SZENTAGOTAI, SCREEN INTERNATIONAL, 14 Apr 2003
, 04 Apr 2003
PLEASANT COMPETITION IN SOFIA
Kornel Mundruczo's Pleasant Days won the Grand Prix at the Sofia International Film Festival, the first time in its seven-year history that the event has included a competition. Slovenian film-maker Hanna A. W. Slak was named best director for Blind Spot; Bulgarian Ivan Rusev's animation Yellow was named best short film and Romanian director Cristian Mungiu's Occident won the FIPRESCI award. But the films could do little to compete with the festival's true highlight - a performance by the festival band led by director Stefan Kitanov.
SCREEN INTERNATIONAL, 04 Apr 2003
Bulgarian festival as world one
PETYA ALEXANDROVA, LIK, 01 Apr 2003
The biggest and most ambitious film event in Bulgaria.
SVIAT PANORAMA, 30 Mar 2003
"Huge cultural event.
NARODNO ZEMEDELSKO ZNAME, 28 Mar 2003
"Sofia International Film Festival 2003 is a high opened window."
GRIGOR CHERNEV, DUMA, 28 Mar 2003
For few years Sofia International Film Festival become the most important film event in Bulgaria. It was attended by International Distributors and representatives from the main European international festivals.
DNEVNIK, 27 Mar 2003
"For seven years (since it was found) Sofia International Film Festival become the biggest and most important film event in Bulgaria."
MILA VOINIKOVA, EKRAN, 26 Mar 2003
, 24 Mar 2003
, 18 Mar 2003
"The 7th edition of Sofia International Film Festival has finally established the event as the only real International Film Festival in Bulgaria."
ANITA DIMITROVA, SEGA, 18 Mar 2003
'PLEASANT' NABS TOP PRIZE AT SOFIA FEST
Foreign critics and fest programmers came away from the 7th Sofia International Film Festival (March 7-16) in upbeat mood, following three days of screenings of new and recent Bulgarian fare over the final weekend.(...)
Festival mavens attending the SIFF showcase included reps from Cannes (Critics' Week and Directors' Fortnight), Berlin, Venice, Rotterdam, Edinburgh, Karlovy Vary, Thessaloniki and Warsaw.
DEREK ELLEY, VARIETY, 18 Mar 2003
"The film event of the year."
NOVINAR, 07 Mar 2003
, 07 Mar 2003
, 01 Mar 2003
, 01 Mar 2003
The 7th edition of Sofia International Film Festival is film event of the year.
YANKO TERZIEV, KAPITAL, 01 Mar 2003
One of the key film events in Bulgaria.
EGOIST, 01 Mar 2003
Sofia International Film Festival is awaited and beloved film event for all professionals, journaliusts and cinema lovers in Sofia.
BEAUTY, 01 Mar 2003
Stefan Kitanov, director of Sofia International Film Festival and his team gave prove that there is nothing impossible for the will even in reality as hard as in Bulgaria in the age of post-communism.

GEORGI NEDELCHEV, TEMA, 22 Feb 2003
Sofia International Film Festival is not just the most prestigious film event held in Bulgaria, but also the one with best organization.
LITERATUREN VESTNIK, 01 Feb 2003
Sofia International Film Festival - the obligatory film event
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AZ, 01 Feb 2003
Sofia International Film Festival - most ambitious than ever
Sofia International film Festival is the biggest and most ambitious film event in Bulgaria.
MONITOR, 25 Jan 2003
, 24 Jan 2003
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