The postponed Sofia International Film Festival returns on 25 June
- For the first time ever, the gathering will screen dozens of titles in its selection online
It would be hard to find a festival more severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic than the Sofia International Film Festival, the 24th edition of which was cancelled just three days before it was supposed to start in March. But the gathering is now back on track, favouring as many as three different strands in order to make the world's newest films available to its audience.
The festival is splitting into two physical editions, SIFF Summer and SIFF Autumn. The first will start on 25 June with the Bulgarian premiere of Bong Joon-hoo's Parasite and will end on 6 July with a screening of Jessica Woodworth and Peter Brosens' The Barefoot Emperor [+see also:
interview: Jessica Woodworth
film profile], a Bulgarian minority co-production. SIFF Autumn will take place in September and October, with dates to be announced soon.
For the first time ever, the festival will be available online. SIFF Online is being organised in partnership with Festival Scope and Shift72, with approximately 80 titles set to be available to watch from home, geo-blocked to the country's territory. Most of these titles are competing in the festival's four competitions: the International Competition, Balkan Competition, Documentary Competition and Bulgarian Short Film Competition. Eliza Petkova's A Fish Swimming Upside Down [+see also:
film profile] (which debuted at this year's Berlinale), Viktor Chouchkov's 18% Grey [+see also:
interview: Viktor Chouchkov
film profile], Srdan Golubovic's Father [+see also:
interview: Srdan Golubović
film profile], among many others, will be available through SIFF Online for a period of three weeks.
"With its online edition, SIFF becomes a festival for the whole country," the organisers stated in a press release, stressing that the challenging itinerary of the 2020 edition has led to a more open and accessible festival. As for its physical edition, the event will favour outdoor and alternative venues, with screenings also taking place in Sofia's Cinema House, the only indoor venue used for the summer edition of SIFF.
The festival's jury consists of British director Peter Webber, Mexican producer Nicolás Celis, US producer Jim Stark and Bulgarian actress Irmena Chichikova. The award winners of this edition, including the recipient of the “Sofia City of Film” Trophy, will be announced on 6 July.
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