Zift wins at Bulgarian film awards

By Pavlina Jeleva
    Javor Gardev's radical neo noir Zift was awarded "best film" of the year during an official ceremony on July 30 at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia.

    The ceremony was broadcast by the Bulgarian National Television (http://www.bnt.bg/ ).

    Already displaying an impressive collection of national and international recognitions, the black and white 2008 box grosser also received prizes for best script (Vladislav Todorov ), best cinematographer (Emil Christov), best actor (Zahari Baharov), and best editor (Kevork Aslanyan).

    Two other films were nominated in the same category: Stefan Komandarev's "The World is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner" and Svetoslav Ovcharov's A Farewell to Hemingway. With his intimate story on a possible visit of young Hemingway in Bulgaria Ovcharov lost the battle for the top prize but won for best director.

    The talented emerging actress Gergana Pletniova who played the lead in A Farewell to Hemingway was named best supporting actress in Kostadin Bonev's TV production The War Correspondent. The prestigious best actress award went to Andrei Slabakov's wife Ernestina Shinova, who pleasantly surprised the audience by performing two roles in Hindemith.

    The delivery of a posthumous award to the great Bulgarian actor Petar Slabakov (Andrei's father), who passed away in May this year was emotionally noted by Shinova, who said, "It was a great honor for me to play next to him in Hindemith, the film of his son. Unfortunately it will be remembered as the last one!"

    One of the most respected Bulgarian directors, 80-year-old Nikola Korabov (Tobacco, 1966, Ivan Kondarev, 1974 Destiny, 1983) received the life achievement award.

    For the first and the last time the annual awards were given by the National Film Center (http://www.nfc.bg/) and the Union of the Bulgarian Filmmakers (http://www.filmmakersbg.org ) simultaneously. Starting from next year, a specialized Academy, comprised of elected representatives from all professions in cinema, will vote for the nominations not later than next February. For the director of the NFC Alexander Donev "it is important that the awards are decided by the film professionals themselves and not by the institutions."