Sonata by Bartosz Blaschke Sonata by Bartosz Blaschke

    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 online.siff.bg. 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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