Born as a natural continuation of his background as an economist and a film critic, Stefan Kitanov founded Bulgarian distribution company Art Fest in 2001.

Javor Gardev's provocative neo-noir debut Dzift, which won a best director prize at the Moscow fim festival, is Bulgaria's bid for an Oscar nomination.

The 4th Kind and Command Performance are keeping locally based production companies Nu Boyana film studio, Millenium Films, Nu Image, and producer Gold Circle Films busy with action thrillers this summer.

Never mind the relatively high number of TV channels in Bulgaria (195): two more are to start regular broadcasts. The first is the satellite channel of Nova TV, Nova+, aiming international audience with Bulgarian versions of Big Brother. The second is the children's channel JimJam, offering programs of animated, musical and fantasy films. Along with 197 TV channels, the number of radio stations will soon be over 300.

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 -

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.