Hungarian director Janos Szasz accepted the invitation to preside on the international jury that will decide on the winner of the Grand Prix for best feature at the 13th edition of Sofia International Film Festival, as well as the JAMESON Bulgarian Short Film Award. Sitting also on the panel will be Israeli producer and director Doron Eran, Bulgarian actor Momchil Karamitev, residing and working in the United States and Italy, renowned Bulgarian journalist Elena Yoncheva and Serbian director Stefan Arsenijevic (winner of the Best Director Award at the 12th edition of Sofia International Film Festival, 2008).
Janos Szasz (director, Hungary)
Janos Szasz was born on March 14, 1958 in Budapest. He studied drama and stage directing at the Academy of Theatre and Film Art, where he currently teaches. He is member of the European Film Academy. For years he has been working at the National Theatre in Budapest, where he mounted productions of Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts”, “The King Stag” by Carlo Gozzi, Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire”. He also directed Chekhov’s “Seagull”, Eugene O”Neill’s “Desire under the Elms”, Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya”, Peter Weiss’ “Marat/Sade”, and Brecht’s “Waal”, and “Mother Courage”; he staged “A Streetcar Named Desire” at Arena Stage in Washington D.C. He has directed TV series and the films “Don't Disturb!” (1990), “Woyzeck” (1994) and “The Witman Boys” (1997). Szasz has directed a documentary film for the Steven Spielberg Foundation in memory of the victims of the Holocaust “Eyes of the Holocaust” (2000), which was presented at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. “Woyzeck” won 20 distinctions at 55 international film festivals throughout Europe, including the FELIX Prize of the European Film Academy for Best Young European Film in Berlin and the Silver Rose at Bergamo Film Festival. “Witman Boys” toured 50 international festivals, was presented in the official selection at Cannes and won several prizes including for Best Director at the Moscow International Film Festival and the main prize at the Ghent film festival. “Don't Disturb” won the best director’s prize at the Bogota film festival in Colombia, and was named best foreign film in Bratislava. Janos Szasz has been included in the top 10 emerging hopefuls in film directing declared by the Sundance film festival and Variety magazine in 1998. His all-time favourite film is “The Matrix”. He is an avid reader – in Hungarian and English. He takes part in archery competitions because this is one of his hobbies, and also loves designing software, since he has dealt with engineering design and loves creating things and working on various projects. “Note down on paper every script idea you have. File all the ideas. Look them over from time to time. If an idea keeps popping up over and over, write a screenplay around the idea. If you find that a particular idea makes you happy, write a screenplay around the idea. Have some source of income besides writing. It will make screenwriting fun.” Films:
2007 - Opium: Diary of a Madwoman
2000 - Eyes of the Holocaust
1997 - The Witman Boys
1994 - Woyzeck1990 - Don't Disturb!
Doron Eran (producer/director, Israel)
The famous Israeli film producer and director who has more than 35 films to his credit Doron Eran was born on June 20, 1955 in Tel-Aviv. His artistic CV includes more than 40 TV dramas, as well as documentaries for the national and international markets alongside the feature films. Very often his works get selected and nominated for prizes at major international festivals – "God’s Sandbox" (Best Film – Manchester Film Festival, Best Director – Vermont Film Festival, Special Jury Award – Worldfest Houston), "White Night" (screened during the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes and Young Cinema Award – Cannes Film Festival), "Burning Land" (presented at Berlin Film Festival, Critics’ Award – Turin Film Festival, Italy), "Beyond The Walls II" (Best Actor – Valencia Film Festival, Spain), "Overdose" (Best Actress – Beijing Film Festival, China), "Back To Freedom" (special prize at the Cita Del Vasto Film Festival in Italy), Best Foreign Film – Festival Internacional de Cinema de Figueira da Foz, Portugal, "Dawn" – Berlin Film Festival, "Flash" – Valencia Film Festival, and "Stalin's Disciples" – in the “Un certain regard” selection of the Cannes Film Festival, France. Besides working in the world of film, Doron Eran has created the “Good News” magazine, which focuses on the positive developments in society, science and art. As member of the Israel Association of the Periodical Press, and also a writer, he published a novel, "Loneliness behind the Camera" (1999) and the academic book "Being a Producer" (2002), which the film and TV majors at the Israeli universities and colleges use as a textbook in their studies. Doron Eran is holder of the Award of Excellence at the International Forum of New Cinema in Calcutta, India (2002) and the Special Tribute Award for Entrepreneurship and Creativity in Israeli Film and Television by the Society of Commerce and Industry. Doron Eran has founded and for two years managed the International Film Festival in Ashdod, south of Tel-Aviv on the Mediterranean Sea.
FilmsSelected filmography as producer : filmography as director
2007 - Wild Dogs 2006 - A Wedding Film
2006 - A Wedding Film 2004 - God's Sandbox
2005 - Days of Love 1990 - The Voice of Ein Harod
2003 - To Be a Star 1986 - Flash
1998 - Primal Justice
1996 - White Night
1993 - Overdose
1993 - Strangers in the Night
1990 - Where Eagles Fly
1986 - Stalin's Disciples
1983 - Fun Forever
Momchil Karamitev (actor, USA - Bulgaria)
Momchil Karamitev calls himself a “citizen of the world”. When he was nine, he got on the Orient Express from Sofia to Paris with his mother and sister for the first time, and admits that it was then that he realized that regardless of the nationality or the colour of the skin people all over the world are either lovers or haters. In the United States he is better known as Max Freeman. Born on October 25, 1960 in Sofia, the son of Apostol Karamitev and Margarita Duparinova naturally followed in the footsteps of his stellar parents. He joined school plays from an early age. Later he studied acting at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Art in Sofia. About a year upon his graduation in 12986 he was working with the theatre company in the town of Kurdzhali, Southeastern Bulgaria, when he won a job at the Youth Theatre company in Sofia, where he remained for 4 years. He won a scholarship for the prestigious Academia D'Arte Dramatica Silvio D'Amico in Italy, and after that continued his specialization in directing at a private university in Rome. He graduated with a film based on Woody Allen’s short stories and worked as Federico Fellini’s assistant on his film “La Voce della Luna”. In the 1990s Momchil Karamitev studied film dramaturgy in New York. His first role was in “Dangerous Charm” in 1984. He took part in Lyudmil Stajkov’s “time of Violence”, “Only You, My Heart”, “Ivan and Alexandra”, “Longing for the Wide, Wide World”, “transports of Death”, “Death Can Wait Awhile”, “The Man on the Road”, the Spanish film “dali”, the Italian movie “Racket”, as well as the Bulgarian film “Emilia’s Friends” by Ljudmil Todorov. He worked for a while for the Bulgarian National Television after which she left for Los Angeles. He got wonderful reviews in Variety, Los Angeles Times and Boxoffice Magazine for his performance in “The Insurance”. He took part in some of the episodes of the Star Trek: the Experience” TV series (2003), the Bones show and the film “Hit Me”. He has had more than 90 roles in theatre, and works also as screenplay writer and producer. He is currently shooting in the Italian TV series „Un Caso Di Coscienza 4” of Italian director Luigi Perelli, and on a documentary project as director, and has two film projects for feature films. Karamitev has been working and residing in Los Angeles, California.
Elena Yontcheva (journalist, director of documentary films - Bulgaria)
Elena Yontcheva is a renowned freelance journalist. She has made many documentary films in some the world’s hottest spots. She has been at the heart of the conflicts in Kosovo, Algeria, Chechnya, Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela and Colombia. She was born in 1964. In the year when the Berlin Wall fell down she graduated TV journalism with honours at Lomonosov Moscow State University. She began work for the Bulgarian National television, and later developed an impressive work record – by 1999 she was a reporter and editor of the Panorama weekly political magazine; she founded and authored the Reporter section; For two years sh worked in the information feature of the Bulgarian National Television – Team 4. She specialized at Oxford, BBC - London and Cardiff, and The German Marshall Found and United States Information Agency in the United States. She taught investigative journalism at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia 1998-2000. In 2000 she founded the “Authors TV” producing company and continued working as author and producer of TV documentaries. She has been awarded the prize for Bulgaria’s best TV reporter 1995-2000 without exception. Some of the work that has attracted the attention and interest of the TV audience are the documentary films “Sarajevo”, “The Russian Elections – Who Said Perestroika?”, “The New Colours of South Africa”, “Bosnia’95 – the Last Summer of War?”, “The White Wolves”, “The Russian Tango”, “Welcome to Afghanistan”, “Ten Days in Kosovo”, “Japan – Profile of a Nation”, “Iraq – the 21st Day”, “Ukraine – the Orange Revolution”, the “Common Borders” documentary series in six installments filmed in UK and Bulgaria, “Iraq – two years later”, “Azerbaidjan – the big challenge”, “Azerbaidjan – the petrol revolution”, etc.
Stefan Arsenijevic (film director – Serbia)
Stefan Arsenijevic knew he would be working in film ever since he was a child. While the other kids told stories of their wanting to become doctors or pilots, he dreamt of becoming an actor. Born in Belgrade in the spring of 1977, he studied philosophy, and worked for some time as journalist; he graduated film and TV directing on the Faculty of Drama Arts in Belgrade, and became a lecturer there in 2005. He is co-founder of the film production house “Art & Popcorn”. For his short films he won over 30 national and international awards, including Golden Bear in Berlinale, European Film Award and nomination for the Oscar for his short film „(A)torsion” in 2003. Stefan Arsenijevic directed the “Fabulous Vera” novella part of the successful co-production “Generation: Lost and Found” (2005). His feature film “Love and Other Crimes” had its premiere at Berlinale 2008, and won the best director award at Sofia International Film Festival in 2008. He has won directors’ awards at the international film festivals in Wiesbaden and Bursa, and the film “Love and Other Crimes” was made best picture at his presentation in Novi Sad and the Tbilisi film festival, and won the audience prize in Linz. His greatest dream is making films. He knows success – “it is a an illusion, and just like wine you have to be careful not to become dizzy”. For him the most enchanting thing about a film narrative is the cooperation with the actors; when he works he has the feeling of doing something different and very honest.
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