And in 2023, “Sofia Film Fest on the way to Ruse” will present to the Ruse audience an extremely rich program of Bulgarian and world films. The 10th anniversary edition of the film festival will take place within three days – 10, 11 and 12 November in the “Europe” hall of the Revenue Building. The event is organized by Art Fest/Sofia Film Fest and the Municipality of Ruse, as part of the “Operation Cinema 2023” project with the support of the Europa Cinemas chain of cinemas and the National Culture Fund.
The program starts on November 10 (Friday) at 6 p.m. with a screening of Kostadin Bonev’s latest documentary film “The Lead Soldier”. The tape is dedicated to the poet Alexander Petrov, whose poems are still heard live in the repertoire of dozens of Bulgarian favorites groups and artists such as “Tangra”, “Signal”, “Factor”, D2, Kiril Marichkov, Stanley and many others. “The Lead Soldier” is a film about personal freedom as a supreme value and about the witnesses of the Bulgarian transition. This is the cry for freedom of thousands of “lead soldiers”. The film was realized with the support of IA “National Film Center”. The director Kostadin Bonev will be a special guest of the audience in Ruse and will talk with the viewers after the screening.
The second film on the first night of the festival – the latest film of the world-famous director Fatih Akin – “Rhine Gold”, has a starting time of 20:30. The fate of Hattar, one of the most famous rappers in the entire German-speaking world, who has released six studio albums, sold in thousands of copies, is the basis of the film. The script is based on the rapper’s autobiographical novel “All or nothing: We say the world belongs to you”. Expat life in Germany offers many opportunities, but also obstacles – Jivar Hajabi rises from a petty criminal to a serious drug dealer.After the disappearance of a shipment, the famous gold heist is organized in order to clear debts to a cartel.
On November 11 (Saturday) at 4 p.m., a special screening of director Milena Kaneva’s latest documentary “Here You Are in the Milk of Dreams” is included. The film focuses on the essence of the creative process of the contemporary visual artist Mihail Mihailov, presenting his work on the creation of the Bulgarian pavilion for the 59th edition of the Venice Art Biennale in 2022. Mihail Mihailov is an author who works with a variety of mediums / performance, drawing, video, sculpture, installation/ to create meditative territories in which the viewer makes sense of unexpected aspects of being. The music is by Nikolay Ivanov – OM, Patrick Lamer, Harald Stoyan. The film stars Mikhail Mihailov, Irina Batkova, Hannes Anderle, Roberto Cicuto, Cecilia Alemani. The director, operator and producer of “Here you are in the milk of dreams” is Milena Kaneva.
The second day of the festival – November 11, continues at 6 p.m. with Nikolay Vasilev’s documentary “Vaklus”. It was filmed over a period of almost three decades – between 1994 and 2022 and contains extremely curious archival footage from the life of the famous spiritual leader and teacher Vaklush Tolev. The film is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of his birth and is a story about the life path and ideas of one of Bulgaria’s most enigmatic personalities. Known as the Teacher of Wisdom, Vaklush is a theologian by education, lecturer and author of numerous works with cultural-historical and religious-philosophical themes. Having passed through the prisons and camps of communism, persecuted by the repressive State Security apparatus as an “enemy of the people”, after the changes in Bulgaria he was invited to teach at the University of Plovdiv and Sofia University. He formulated his teaching, which he called the “Way of Wisdom”, in which he outlined what the man of the third millennium should be.
Nikolay Vasilev will personally meet the audience in Ruse and will be available for a conversation after the end of the screening.
The Saturday movie night on November 11, starting at 8:30 p.m., will delight fans of French cinema with “The Two Sides of the Blade” by the legendary French director Claire Deny. The film, winner of the Silver Bear Director’s Award at the 2022 Berlin Film Festival , is based on Christine Ango’s novel A Turning Point in Life, co-written by Claire Denny with Ango. The lead roles are played by stars Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lyndon, who are popular with audiences around the world and pique the interest of fans of European cinema.The two play the roles of a couple in love who gradually enter a serious relationship crisis after the unexpected intervention of a former best friend and lover from the past.
On the third festival evening, November 12 /Sunday/, at 6 p.m., an emblematic Bulgarian film from the beginning of the millennium will be presented – “Cremation”, directed by Stanimir Trifonov. Winner of the grand prize for the best film from the Bulgarian Feature Film Festival cinema “Golden Rose” 2004, as well as awards for the performances of Stefan Valdobrev and Paraskeva Dzhukelova from “Golden Rose”, “Love is Madness” and “Golden Chest”, the film tells about the dramatic turns in the life of the romantic Italian Enrico and his wife Kalina. He falls into the clutches of the DS in Sofia because her employee Stoev is also in love with Kalina. Despite the drama they experience, Kalina and Enrico continue to search for and love each other. He manages to escape from the sinister concentration camp, and she is extradited by the Bulgarian authorities in Italy.The two travel to each other, haunted by their painful memories, to meet again in the country where they once met.
The director Stanimir Trifonov will be a special guest of the audience in Ruse and will talk with the viewers after the film.
The finale of the 2023 “Sofia Film Fest on the Road to Ruse” will be staged on November 12 at 8:30 p.m. with “Luke” – the latest work of “Golden Lion of the Future” winner Jessica Woodworth. The film is inspired by Dino Budzati’s masterpiece “Tatar desert”. Woodworth’s first encounter with Budzati’s book was when she was studying Italian literature. The main character, Luca, is a young soldier who yearns to go into battle and finds himself in an isolated fortress. In this harsh, unforgiving environment, Woodworth chooses to entrust the role of the General to the only woman – and that is the unique Geraldine Chaplin. Art Fest /Stefan Kitanov, Mira Staleva/ is the Bulgarian co-producer of the film.
Within the framework of the 10th edition of the “Sofia Film Fest on the way to Ruse”, a special program for children has been prepared, which continues the tradition with the presentation of thought-provoking European animations intended for the whole family.
On November 11 (Saturday) at 11 a.m., young and old moviegoers will be able to enjoy “The Journey of the Prince”, told through the drawings of Jean-Francois Lagioni and Xavier Picard. An elderly descendant of a noble monkey family finds himself on an unknown shore. Wounded and confused, he is discovered by 12-year-old Tom, who takes him to his parents, a pair of scientists rejected by their community because they believe in the existence of another civilization of apes.The film is dubbed in Bulgarian and is suitable for all audiences.
On Saturday at 12:45 p.m., the youngest will be able to participate in a special animation workshop organized by Sofia Film Fest in partnership with “Little Makers”. The event will last until 2:30 p.m. and is intended for young moviegoers between the ages of 7 and 12. The characters of the film will come to life thanks to the talent of the little animators and their teachers in the lobby of the Revenue Building.
On November 12 /Sunday/ at 11 a.m., the screening of “Titina” begins. The film is a wonderful animated story by director Kaisa Ness, which tells the story of a legendary dog and its owner Umberto Nobile, an airship engineer from the 20th century. The co-production between Norway and Belgium is inspired by the real events of a century ago – the famous explorer Roald Amundsen contacts Nobile and orders him an airship to conquer the North Pole. The Italian adventurer takes Titina with him and joins the expedition headed for one of the most intriguing, unexplored corners of the Earth. The trek is a success, and this adventure is recreated through the eyes of the dog of the same name. The film is dubbed in Bulgarian and is suitable for all ages, being also adapted for blind audiences.
From 12:00 p.m. on November 12 /Sunday/ Sofia Film Fest and VR Lab BG provide an opportunity for those who wish to touch the three-dimensional images that tell different stories. Thanks to VR projections in the lobby of the Profitable Building, the curious will be able to see short films, and this additional highlight in the festival program will last until 5 p.m.
“Sofia Film Fest” 2023 is part of the large-scale cinema project that the Art Fest team has been developing and implementing since 2009. It includes the international film festival “Sofia Film Fest” with editions in Sofia, Burgas, Plovdiv and Varna, as well as regional editions in over 20 cities, which were implemented as part of the international project “Operation Cinema”, and the youth edition of the festival – “Sofia Film Fest for Students”. The festivals on the road are part of the “Operation Cinema on the Road 2023” project with the support of the Europa Cinemas cinema chain and the National Fund “Culture”.
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