The 26th Sofia International Film Festival presents in 2022 a total of 165 films from 56 countries. 75 of the films are available ONLINE from anywhere in Bulgaria till 30 April at The festival welcomed over 70 international guests from 19 countries.

The Awards Ceremony took place at Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture on 19 March 2022.


Iglika Triffonova (Bulgaria) – Director, Jury President

Lech Majewski (Poland) – Director

Oleh Sentsov (Ukraine) – Director

Zlatina Rousseva (Belgium-Bulgaria) – Director

Radivoje Andric (Serbia) – Director


THE SOFIA CITY OF FILM AWARD for best film in the International Competition for first and second films, in the amount of 7 000 Euro provided by the Sofia Municipality, went to SONATA (Poland) by director Bartosz Blaschke and producers Sylwester Banaszkiewicz and Marcin Kurek.

„For the detailed and compelling telling of a real person's life and their painful journey in finding the meaning of living. For the elegant cinematic approach in creating a reality of suffering, stoicism and kindness. For a remarkable acting presence. For believing in the power of art and talent.”

THE SPECIAL JURY AWARD went to HUMBLE (Bulgaria-Romania) by director Svetoslav Draganov.

„For having the courage to look inward and turn his own torment into an important conversation. For the ascetic cinematic means by which he creates an image of the battle between the ego and the pursuit of success in life, and the painful search for the most faithful and honest way to live his life. For the power of irony, self-irony and humility. For the touching and delicate acting.“

AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR went to Andrey M. Paounov for his film January (Bulgaria-Portugal-Luxembourg).

„For the courage to interpret and build upon a well-known Bulgarian play that has become an undisputed classic and to make it a new reality. For daringly turning literature into film metaphors. For the impressive cinematic construction of the film's vision and atmosphere. For his talented work with the actors.”

SPECIAL MENTION was awarded to the film THE ABSENT DIRECTOR (Iran) by director Arvand Dashtaray.

„For his difficult and innovative way of telling the story, for daring to reach the limits of the theatrical and make it into a vibrant cinema.”

The BEST BULGARIAN SHORT FILM AWARD in the amount of 9,500 Euro (1,500 Euro cash prize and 8,000 Euro in postproduction services), provided by Doli Media Studio, went to GAME (Bulgaria) by director Orlin Menkadzhiev. 

For the cinematically convincing and memorable way it tells the story of two boys in real time. For exploring each man's instinct for supremacy. For its skilful focus on the psychology and mechanics of violence, that actually starts every war.”

BEST BALKAN FILM AWARD awarded by Balkan jury president Alberto Simone (director and producer, Italy) and members Jan P. Matuszyński (director, Poland) and Yana Titova (director, Bulgaria), went to MURINA (Croatia-Brazil-USА-Slovenia) by director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović.

„The award is given for the undeniable artistic qualities of the film, for the exciting tension in which it keeps the viewer from the very first frame to the finale. For the extremely precise cinematic language, and the impressive acting incarnations. For the many subtle metaphors so well intertwined in the story, and for the exquisite work with the camera that reveals the ocean to us in a tense but very candid, true and beautifully poetic way.“

The Balkan Jury also awarded a SPECIAL MENTION to the film BLUE MOON (Romania) by Alina Grigore.

„The award is given for an excitingly told family story, beginning with a sharp scream and taking the viewer through many unexpected situations. For the complex full-blooded characters and incredibly real and natural acting. For the cinematography, which is extremely true to the history and for its harshness and genuineness. “

THE BEST DOCUMENTARY AWARD, awarded by the international jury with president Levan Koguashvili (director, Georgia) and members Monica Lazurean-Gorgan (director and producer, Romania) and Petya Alexandrova (film critic, Bulgaria), went to the film ZO REKEN (Canada) by Emanuel Licha.

„The award goes to ZO REKEN for the surprising and minimalistic way of telling a big story about a vulnerable country. Using a special construction and an authentic concept, we discover devastated Haiti through the windows of a Toyota car. “

The Documentary Jury also awarded a SPECIAL MENTION to the film OUR QUIET PLACE (France-Bulgaria) by Elitza Gueorguieva. 

„The Special Mention goes to a film that is an intimate construction about plunging into the past to be able to reconstruct yourself in the present.“

THE AWARD FOR BEST BULGARIAN FEATURE FILM was awarded by a jury of festival programmers - Stefan Laudyn (director, Warsaw IFF), Tiina Lokk (director at Black Nights Film Festival), and Roberto Cueto (director, San Sebastian Film Festival) to IN THE HEART OF THE MACHINE (Bulgaria) by director Martin Makariev.

THE FIPRESCI AWARD awarded by jury members Mike Naafs (The Netherlands), Nicola Falcinella (Italy) and Ingeborg Bratoeva (Bulgaria) went to the film THE WINDSEEKER  (Romania-Bulgaria-Serbia) by director Mihai Sofronea. 

„For the artistic and skilful reflection on human existence and for the delicate use of the language of cinema in revealing the beauty of nature and everyday life.“

The Award of the Bulgarian Guild of Film Critics for a film from the Balkan Competition went to FISHBONE (Bulgaria) by Dragomir Sholev.

The AUDIENCE Award for a film in the International Competition for first and second films and Balkan competition went to SONATA (Poland) by director Bartosz Blaschke.

THE YOUNG JURY AWARD of the festival for a film in the International Competition went to A LOVE SONG (USA) by director Max Walker-Silverman.

„We often hear people say Life is ahead of youlike it's something to look forward to and not fear. Cinema is what gives us a direction, courage, determination to keep going. From the programme of the 26th edition of SIFF one movie gave us the solace that you don't really need to know the way or walk in a certain direction to be sure you will find what you're looking for.

Within the framework of the 26th Sofia International Film Festival THE SOFIA AWARD of the Sofia Municipality for contribution to the art of film was presented to:

Angel Wagenstein, Screenwriter and writer (Bulgaria)

Iglika Trifonova, Director (Bulgaria)

#DoNotMiss * #26SofiaIFF ONLINE – until 30 April!

The Sofia International Film Festival is financially supported

by the Sofia Municipality and the Ministry of Culture.

Our main co-organizers and partners are the Bulgarian National Film Centre and the European Union’s Creative Europe MEDIA Programme. 

For further information, please contact

The Press Office of the Sofia International Film Festival

Svetlana Damianova

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On Saturday, 26 February 2022, the shooting of the Slovenian live-action feature Observing by the director Janez Burger started in Ljubljana. The screenplay was written by the director and Srđan Koljević. This is Burger’s sixth feature film.

The 27-year-old Lara, an empathic paramedic intern, helps bring Kristijan to the hospital. Although he is in a coma, Lara starts to receive video clips from his Facebook profile, showing unidentified persons watching him get beaten. She reports this to detective Borut, who discovers that the observers were not present at the scene but watched a Facebook stream. When Lara realises that the observers keep dying one by one, Borut reassures her that it is all an internet scam. In one of the videos, Lara’s sister appears, and she dies after confessing to Lara that she has watched the beating as well. Lara wants to kill Kristijan, whom she blames for the deaths, but she fails to go through with it and suffers a breakdown. Kristijan nevertheless dies. When Lara receives a video of her watching the live Facebook stream, she realises that she too is an accomplice in Kristijan’s murder.

Starring Diana Kolenc and featuring Nataša Keser, Vladimir Vlaškalić, Benjamin Krnetič, Jure Henigman, Blaž Setnikar, Pavle Ravnohrib, Damjana Černe, Mojca Funkl, Lara Vouk, Robert Prebil, Sreten Mokrović, Vito Weis, Timon Šturbej, Maks Dakskobler, Gregor Zorc, Luka Cimprič, Aleš Kranjec, Barbara Medvešček, and others.

Director of photography: Marko Brdar; editor Miloš Kalusek; production designers: Vasja Kokalj and Špela Jelovčan; makeup design Ana Bulajić Črček; costumes design: Ana Savić – Gecan.

The film, produced by Miha Černec and Jožko Rutar from the Slovenian production company Staragara, is an international co-production, co-produced by the Propeler Film production house from Croatia (producer Boris T. Matić), Transmedia from Italy (producer Igor Prinčič), and Kaval Film from North Macedonia (producer Robert Jazadziski). The film’s executive producer is Nina Robnik.

Observing, which will be filmed over an estimated 35 days in and around Ljubljana, Trieste, and Gorizia has received the financial support of the Slovenian Film Centre, Croatian Audiovisual Centre, RTV Slovenija, Viba Film Studio, North Macedonia Film Agency, Creative Europe – MEDIA, Friuli Venezia Giulia Film Commission, and the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Janez Burger was born in 1965 in Slovenia. He studied at the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana and at the FAMU in Prague, where he graduated from film and TV directing in 1996. His films have won numerous awards at national and international film festivals. Burger, who is also dedicated to theatre and opera, lives and works in Ljubljana.

In the framework of the 20th Cyprus Film Days International Festival 2022 and in partnership with Thessaloniki International Film Festival Agora

The third edition of Industry Days, organised by the Cyprus Film Days International Festival, the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth and the Rialto Theatre, will be held in Cyprus between 14 - 16 April 2022, in the framework of the 20th Cyprus Film Days International Festival (8 - 16 April 2022). Due to the restrictions brought on by the pandemic, the two first editions of the event were held online, but this year the organisers are aiming for the first physical edition in Cyprus. Industry Days is a co-production, training and networking platform that brings producers, directors and scriptwriters from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, from across the three neighbouring continents of Cyprus, together with international film professionals. It provides an opportunity to filmmakers from these countries to present their new feature film projects and network with international industry professionals. 

Producers and directors will "pitch" their new feature film projects to representatives of the international film industry. Following group works and individual meetings, the filmmakers will take steps towards forming future collaborations between other filmmakers, international producers, financiers, sales agents, broadcasters, distributors, festival and film fund representatives.

The organisers' vision is the development of this initiative into a dynamic platform for artistic and financial collaborations, which will contribute to the development of the art of filmmaking in Cyprus and the wider region, serving as a hub for films originating from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

The forum will be implemented in partnership with Thessaloniki International Film Festival Agora.

The application process begins on the 24th January 2022, while all submissions must be received by the 25th February 2022. Interested parties must read the terms of participation and submit their application online at Industry Days includes two (2) sections:

  • Meeting Point
  • Cinema Talks 
  1. Meeting Point Meeting Point is an international co-production forum which creates a platform to offer filmmakers the opportunity to pitch their projects to the international film industry and to find the right connections to get the projects co-produced, financed, developed and/or distributed. It aims at a strong selection of projects, giving producers and directors the opportunity to present their ideas to a number of potential financial, development and distribution partners during a 3-day event in Cyprus. Meeting Point presents up to six (6) hand-picked feature-length fiction projects currently in development and financing stage, to a selection of international professionals. Projects originate from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, from across the three neighbouring continents of Cyprus: Europe, Africa and Asia. Film industry professionals attending are mainly producers, financiers, sales agents, distributors, representatives of film festivals and funds, development experts and broadcasters.

The producers, directors and scriptwriters of the projects chosen for Meeting Point will pitch their projects in a series of prearranged one-on-one meetings and a pitching session. An international jury will determine the projects that will be presented with the awards. The awards will be presented during the closing ceremony of the festival, Saturday, 16 April 2022. The list of awards will be announced at a later stage.

To apply please visit

  1. Cinema Talks Cinema Talks offers a series of masterclasses, debates, seminars and workshops with acclaimed industry professionals. Cinema talks are open to everyone, with priority given to industry professionals and accredited festival guests. The detailed programme will be announced a few weeks before the festival.

Sixteenth edition of Talents Sarajevo, the prestigious programme of the Sarajevo Film Festival founded in collaboration with Berlin International Film Festival and Berlinale Talents, will be held under the title Dis/Content 

Talents Sarajevo, the prestigious programme of the Sarajevo Film Festival, continues its tradition of welcoming up-and-coming directors, producers, actors, scriptwriters, cinematographers, editors and film critics in the programme that will take place from 13th to 18th of August.

The call is now open for applicants from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo*, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey and – this year for the first time – Ukraine.

Talents Sarajevo 2022 will thematically address the contemporary concept of “content”, which dominates the spheres of arts, media and entertainment in our digital, Web 2.0 epoch. The very title Dis/Content critically engages with this complicated concept, omnipresent and elusive at the same time.  A programme of master classes, workshops, lectures, discussions and screenings will provide a forum for a careful examination of “content” and its effects, especially those detrimental for cinema and audio-visual industry at large.

Founded in collaboration with Berlin International Film Festival and Berlinale Talents, Talents Sarajevo has become the foremost regional hub for meeting and training of aspiring film professionals. In times that continue to be challenging for a variety of political and economic reasons, Talents Sarajevo will continue to provide unconditional support to aspiring film professionals.

The closing date for applications is May 31.

Please find more information and apply at

The 28th Sarajevo Film Festival will take place from 12th to 19th August 2022.


Talents Administration

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* This label does not prejudge the status of Kosovo and is in accordance with Resolution 1244 and the opinion of the ICJ on Kosovo's declaration of independence

Due to the full-scale war that Russia is waging against Ukraine, part of the 13th Odesa International Film Festival will take place at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The festival will host a presentation of Ukrainian Works in Progress projects, which is part of the professional section of the OIFF Film Industry Office. The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will take place from July 1-9. In Karlovy Vary, the program will be known as OIFF WIP Selection.

The current conditions of the war in which the Ukrainians find themselves have a direct impact on the film industry. Therefore, we were offered to hold the industrial part of the Odesa International Film Festival as part of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. We are extremely grateful to our colleagues for this opportunity. For the opportunity to show Ukrainian cinema, Ukrainian talent and culture to the world,” Anna Machuh, General Director of OIFF said.

We are convinced that broad solidarity with war-afflicted Ukraine must also include support for the country’s cultural life, which at this moment has come almost to a halt. As a film festival, we have thus tried to find ways of supporting Ukrainian cinema, and we are glad that we have managed to work with the Odesa International Film Festival to find a meaningful form of cooperation,” says Hugo Rosák, head of KVIFF’s Industry Department.

Work in Progress at the Odesa International Film Festival is a presentation of the completed feature-length films by their producers and directors to be distributed in 2022-2023.

Follow the link to read requirements and fill out the application form. Applications are accepted until May 10.

The main goal of the Works in Progress presentation is to promote Ukrainian films in the world and local markets and to attract the attention of international distributors and also to find the partners for future projects.

The selection committee of the OIFF selects 8 feature film projects in the final stage of shooting or in post-production produced in Ukraine or in co-production with Ukraine. Projects should meet the international quality standards to be demonstrated in frames of the Works in Progress presentation.

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is the largest film festival in the Czech Republic and the most prestigious such festival in Central and Eastern Europe. It is one of the oldest A-list film festivals. Every year, the festival presents some 200 films from around the world, and regularly hosts famous and important filmmakers. The Karlovy Vary festival is intended for both film professionals and the general public, and offers visitors a carefully designed programme, excellent facilities and a broad range of other services.

OIFF Film Industry Office is a platform for professional communication, support and development of Ukrainian film industry as well as for its presentation to the international film community. Within the framework of the section Pitching (competition of Ukrainian and co-produced with Ukraine feature film projects on the pre-production stage) and Work in Progress (presentations of feature films projects produced in Ukraine or co-produced with Ukraine on the final stage of production intended for theatrical distribution), pitching of projects that have the potential for film adaptation Book Pitch, as well as non-competition events are held.

The 15th Fest Anča International Animation Festival has announced its selection of animated short films! More than 1,250 films from 68 countries from all over the world have been submitted to the festival this year. The selection features films from both familiar and fresh creators. It is an overview of the best of world and domestic animation, encompassing varied animation techniques, authors’ unique styles and diverse themes. 

Only one sixth of films submitted to Fest Anča 2022 make it through to the festival’s official selection. “We received many high-quality animated short films. It was difficult to choose, and unfortunately many good films missed out,” stated programme dramaturge Jakub Spevák and festival director Ivana Sujová in unanimously evaluating the quality of submitted films. 

Both familiar and fresh creators 

In the competition and non-competition sections, animation fans will recognize some names from previous editions of Fest Anča. These include former guests and award winners (Peter Millard, Koji Yamamura, Sarina Nihei, Steven Subotnick), as well as Chilean directors (Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña) who were jury members last year and this time will present their film The Bones in the World Panorama. Audiences can look forward to animated videos by Raman Djafari, and abstract animation by Hungarian animator Réka Bucsi.  

The competition section will feature the porcelain animation Beast, which was also Oscar-nominated this year. Inspired by true events, the film depicts the story of a secret police agent during the military dictatorship. The pre-selection committee was intrigued by the film with the copious title In My Chest of Fire There Is Still Place to Temple Your Dagger: A Love Story, which is a distinctive retelling of the relationship between Ash and Pikachu. The selection also includes Imaginary Landscapes by renowned Ukrainian animator Mykyta Lyskov.

A third of the main competition comprises student films. For example, Wet depicts the recesses of a sauna, guiding viewers through a labyrinth of sensuality, bodies and steam. Student films are also represented in the Slovak competition. These include r a u u by Zlata Golecová, a recent graduate of the Academy of Performing Arts, who used various animation techniques to portray a story about a mysterious character. 

Slovaks on screen 

Slovak films are also represented in the international selection. Once There Was a Sea…. by Joanna Kożuch (which has already won the Student Jury Prize at the Clermont-Ferrand Festival) has been selected for the main and Slovak competition. Love, Dad, an animated Slovak co-production documentary about the relationship between a daughter and her father by Diana Cam Van Nguyen is part of the main competition as well. Another Slovak co-production, Suzie in the Garden (which premiered at the prestigious Berlinale 2022), will be presented in the World Panorama section.

As for the Slovak section, the pre-selection committee commented on its quality: “This year we are presenting a very balanced and diverse competition section. We’re interested to see which film appeals most to our jury.”

 Video killed the radio star 

Slovakia is also represented in the music video competition with animators Milan Stanco (Charms Kids: Les Miserables) and Marián Vredík (Queer Jane: Gerard Love). “It’s great that the music video competition is consistently high-quality -  different musical styles and imaginative animations,” says dramaturg Jakub Spevák. The music video section will also feature animation by Sarina Nihei, the winner of last year's Anča Award for Best Animation. 

Kids love films too! 

At Fest Anča children and their parents can look forward to one competition and two non-competition sections of the best films for children. This international section is full of the fun, education, creative approaches, imaginative artistic stylizations, and original techniques that only animated film can offer children.

“We are happy to show films that have an equal dialogue with children and stimulate their imagination,” says Ivana Sujová. For example, the competition section’s Elevator Alone is the story of four characters who behave differently in an elevator when alone and together. This humorous puppet animation touches on the individual-group relationship in a playful and child-friendly way. In the non-competition children's section, Slovak animator Filip Diviak’s Sounds Between the Crowns has also been selected. 

In conclusion 

As regular visitors know, Fest Anča also includes a number of specialised sections such as Anča in Mordor and Anča in Wonderland. And this year the festival will again feature a Short Animated Documentary section, as well as an extremely short film section dedicated to extremely short films.

Every year the festival presents films premiering in Slovakia. “So viewers have the unique opportunity to watch most films for the very first time,” concludes Ivana Sujová. 

The festival annually includes an international competition of animated short films and music videos, as well as thematic and special focused film sections. Over its four days, Fest Anča offers lectures, exhibitions, workshops, screenings for children, and many accompanying events.

More information at:
photos from past edition