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The newest installment of Patrick Sandrin's film conference initiative "Regards sur le monde" (started in 2005), Impressions of Africa, attracted researchers and film lovers this weekend at the Sfumato Theatre Laboratory in Sofia. The 10th Open Class of the high profile European Intercultural Project took place under the honorary presidency of Bulgarian mediator Ginyo Ganev.

The latest of the Open Class seminars has wound up in Sofia after playing host to a number of Bulgarian filmmakers, researchers and students. The two-day seminars are organized by the Patrick Sandrin's Sofia-based production company Sofilm (www.sofilm,net) and the Bulgarian National Academy for Theatre and Cinema (NATFIZ - www.natfiz.bg).

The board of directors of Nu Boyana Film Studios has unveiled plans to construct 10 new ultramodern stages, one of them larger than 5,000 square metres, as part of a rapid expansion that could double production of big-budget films in Bulgaria. The construction plans are currently awaiting a green light from the Sofia municipal architectural department.

Award-winning cult director David Lynch came to Bulgaria this week to open a transcendental meditation university - with time out to attend Cinemania 2007, Sofia's biggest autumn film festival.

Hollywood heartthrob Antonio Banderas is in Sofia this month shooting the $25 million crime thriller The Code directed by Mimi Leder at Nu Boyana Film Studios, which itself is in the midst of a $30 million expansion program.

Warden of the Dead, Bulgaria's candidate for an Oscar nomination by Iliyan Simeonov, is the second serious recognition of a young Bulgarian filmmaker in the last year.

The woman responsible for gaining two Erasmus EuroMedia Awards in 2007 from the Vienna-based European Society for Education and Communication says the last two years have been of great benefit for the Union of Bulgarian Film Makers, where she is responsible for creative projects.