FESTIVALS: Eastern Plays wins Bulgaria's Golden Rose

By Pavlina Jeleva

    Bulgaria's international success Eastern Plays (www.easternplays.com) continued its winning streak, taking the Golden Rose of the 29th Varna National Film Festival. Headed by director Ivan Nitchev, the feature film jury also awarded Kamen Kalev as best director.

    "He took the challenge to show pain in life," the jury stated. Because of its "authentic, clear minimalistic and tough style" Dragomir Sholev's Shelter, based on the script of Romanian/Dutch couple Razvan Radulescu and Melissa de Raaf, received the best debut award.

    The award of the town of Varna (www.varna.bg) went to Victor Chuchkov Jr.'s debut Tilt (www.ch-bros.com) which will have theatrical distribution later this autumn.

    The audience gave its prize to Footsteps in the Sand (www.imdb-bg.net) by actor/director Ivaylo Hristov, appreciating the touching immigration story of a young man during the communist regime, played by popular actor Ivan Barnev.

    The critics chose Zvetodar Markov's HDSP (Huntting Down Small Predators) which is running in traditionally and digitally equipped theatres.

    The best DoP award was shared by Krum Rodrigez and Anton Bakarski respectively for Shelter and HDSP.

    Mariyan Valev (HDSP) and Yavor Baharov (Tilt) were named best actors. The jury did not give best actress and best script awards.

    Bulgarian National Television (www.bnt.bg) production was singled out as "intriguing and good." The best TV award went to Forced Landing by Peter Valchanov and Kristina Grozeva. The award of the Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers (www.filmmakersbg.org) was given to The Sacred Family by director Krasimir Krumov.

    Contrary to expectations the all time national box office topper "Mission London" did not get any awards. "I do not believe there was a penalty action against the film targeting my participation in the filmmakers' protest against the drastic financial cuts. I have had all the proof that a large audience adores the film," said director Dimitar Mitovski.

    The jury announced a Declaration of its own supporting the need of adequate financing of the national cinema. According to film critics, during the last years, the artistic qualities of the Bulgarian films are growing and the "positive process must be treated with special care."

    For the first time in its history the main Bulgarian film festival had no closing ceremony, due to the refusal of the awarded artists to officially accept the awards on stage.