Talеnted filmmakers wanted!

21st Sofia Meetings is looking for 1st, 2nd or 3rd feature film projects, TV series in development and Works in Progress!

Requirements for feature film projects: 

  • Logline and Synopsis
  • Script or Treatment
  • Budget
  • Financing Plan
  • Director's Notes
  • Producer's Notes
  • CV of the director
  • CV of producer(s) and/or the production company
  • Links to previous films of the director

Requirements for TV series in development: 

  • 1-2-page Pitch of the project
  • Pilot Treatment or Script
  • Bible of the Series (Characters, World, Season Overview)
  • Dialogue Scene (script excerpt)
  • Financing Plan
  • Budget
  • Teaser/Visuals (where available)
  • CV writer(s)
  • CV producer(s)

All materials for film projects and TV series in development have to be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than December 15th, 2023

Works in Progress requirements:

  • The film must be in a late stage of post-production or just completed.
  • The film must be over 60 minutes in length.

Required materials and information: 

  • Synopsis/annotation
  • Head info: Director/Producer/Creative departments
  • Running time
  • Country of origin
  • Stage of post-production
  • What are you looking for at the co-production market
  • Please send us the whole film/rough cut or up to 20 minutes excerpt.

Works in Progress have to be sent by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than January 15th, 2024

The 21st Sofia Meetings will take place from 20th till 24th of March 2024 in the framework of the 28th Sofia International Film Festival (13– 24 March 2024).

Sofia Meetings  is an event, supported by Creative Europe MEDIA sub-programme of the European Commission, EA Bulgarian National Film Center and Sofia  Municipality.

It has three separate modules:

Feature Films Pitching  – presentation of first, second and third feature fiction film projects of the director, looking for co-producers, sales and distribution.

TV Series Pitching - presentation of projects for TV series looking for co-producers. 

Works in Progress  – a showcase of films at different stages of post-production to festival programmers, sales agents, distributors, exhibitors and international press.

Sofia Meetings also presents Industry programme with various events - Instrustry Talks, Europa Distribution and Europa Cinemas WorkshopsVR/Transmedia Hub presenting immersive interactive experiences and key speakers, panels, presentations and many informal events. 

More than 700 industry executives – producers, distributors, representatives of the film markets, sales companies, film funds, TV buyers and other film professionals from different parts of the world, as well as representatives of the key film festivals and directors come together in Sofia to discover new projects and films. 

Four new winners have been added to the list of Arthouse Cinema Awards 2023, chosen these last months by the CICAE juries at the Sarajevo Film Festival, the CineFest Miskolc, the Filmfest Hamburg and Loft Film Fest.
The juries met to view the films in the main competitions and awarded the arthouse cinema prizes to what they considered to be outstanding arthouse films, deserving of increased visibility and wide distribution.

The jury for the 29th edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival awarded Tudor Giurgiu's "Libertate".
At the 29th Sarajevo Film Festival, Gregor Janežić (Cerknica Cultural Centre, Cerknica, Slovenia), John Sarkanjac (film director, Skopje, North Macedonia), and Ula Śniegowska (New Horizons, Wrocław, Poland) awarded LIBERTATE by Tudor Giurgiu, about the Romanian revolution in December 1989.
You can read about the jury’s statement here.

At the 19th CineFest Miskolc, the jury formed by György Paraszkay (Art-Mozi Egyesűlet, Hungary), Joan Parsons (Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast, United Kingdom) and Tamara Visković (Centar Zlatna vrata, Split, Croatia) assigned the Arthouse Cinema Award to BLACKBIRD BLACKBIRD BLACKBERRY, by Elene Naveriani. The film tellsthe story of the pursuit of hapiness of a 48-years-old independant woman in Georgia.
More about the film here.
At the 31st Filmfest Hamburg, the film HOW TO HAVE SEX by Molly Manning Walker received the Arthouse Cinema Award from the international jury composed of Deborah Cohrs (Shirleys, München, Germany), Jure Matičič (Mestni kino Domžale, Domžale, Slovenia) and Erwin Rajkovcanin (Schauburg Kino, Dortmund, Germany). The movie also won the Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes Film Festival 2023.
You can read the jury’s statement here
Discover the trailer here

The film FANCY DANCE by Erica Trembley received the Arthouse Cinema Award at the Loft Film Fest 2023. The jury was formed by Klaudia Elsässer (Pannonia Entertainment, Budapest, Hungary), Jeff Mitchell (Phoenix Critic’s Circle / Art House Film Wire, USA) and Anaïs Pitkevicht (Festival consultant, France).
Read what the jury stated about the film here

At the 68th edition of the Valladolid International Film Week (SEMINCI) - which also marked the first year of collaboration between the CICAE and the festival - the film FEMME by Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping stood out in the eyes of the jury, who awarded it the Arthouse Cinema Award.
The jury for this collaboration was composed of Pedro Barbadillo (CineCiutat, Palma de Mallorca, Spain), Martin Castillo (Centro Arte Alameda, Santiago, Chile) and Céline Pain (Cinéma Le Drakkar, Dives-sur-Mer, France).
Find out more on our website or watch the trailer here.

At the 68th SEMINCI - Valladolid International Film Week - which also marked the first year of collaboration between the CICAE and the festival - the film Femme by Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping received the Arthouse Cinema Award by the CICAE jury. Also, Ali Ahmadzaheh's film CRITICAL ZONE received a special mention from the jury.

The jury, composed of Pedro Barbadillo (CineCiutat, Palma de Mallorca, Spain), Martin Castillo (Centro Arte Alameda, Santiago, Chile) and Céline Pain (Cinéma Le Drakkar, Dives-sur-Mer, France), stated as following about FEMME:

"In a labyrinth of ambiguities, in which violence and seduction, revenge and redemption converge, certainty becomes a misstep in the quicksand of sex and love. Although we believe we live in a better and freer world, this film reminds us that forgetting the rights we have won, even for a second, leads us to risk of losing those developments in the blink of an eye."

United Kingdom, 2023, 99 minutes

Jules’ life and career as a drag queen are destroyed by a brutal homophobic attack. But when some time later, in a gay sauna, he meets by chance his attacker, Preston, who keeps his sexual orientation hidden, Jules finds his opportunity for revenge. Unrecognisable without his wig and make-up, Jules infiltrates into Preston’s life and, in doing so, starts up a dangerous seduction.

Long statement:

In their debut feature, a thriller developed from a short film of the same title, directors Sam H Freeman and Ng Choon Ping immerse us in a rabidly current time and space, in the slippery universe of gender identities. 

In London right now, on the front line of the transformations and resistances that identities experience, this story takes place that transgresses and overflows gender roles, in its lights and shadows. Clothing, often treated superficially in the world of cinema, in this case is transformed into a powerful narrative artifact, playing with stereotypes and their nuances, exploring their deepest meanings, posing a dichotomy between what we want to show and what that we want to hide.
The outstanding performance of the protagonists, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and George MacKay, without giving away so much information about their past lives, leads us to imagine what they were before and what they will be after.
In a terrain of ambiguities, where violence and seduction, revenge and redemption converge, certainty becomes a false step in the quicksands of love.
Understanding the dangerous game of social networks, and absorbing images that range from music videos to video games, the film is an x-ray of our ephemeral present where everything is in constant change and movement.

Machismo, fear, ignorance and homophobia are still there as a latent danger, and even if we believe that we live in a better world, if we forget, even for a second, the rights that we have achieved, we run the risk of losing those advances in a blink of an eye.

Credits & Casting

Directed by: Sam H. Freeman, Ng Choon Ping

Written by: Sam H. Freeman, Ng Choon Ping

Cinematography: James Rhodes

Editing: Selina Macarthur

Music: Adam Janota Bzowski

Cast: George MacKay, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett


International Sales:

The Arthouse Cinema Award

The CICAE Arthouse Cinema Award was conceived as an impetus for a film to have a wider recognition as a work of art and to stand as a mark of quality for cinema-goers and cinephiles.

Would you like to know what independent cinemas around the world are up to? Do you need inspiration for your program, marketing, or management? Do you have a great idea you want to share with your community? The Arthouse Cinema Hub ( is the place to learn, connect, and share your ideas about programming, marketing, business, audience development and cinema space with the arthouse cinema industry worldwide.

The hub will provide:

  • Best practices for cinemas
  • An overview of initiatives, projects and networks worldwide
  • A chance to connect and contribute your own experiences, insights, and ideas

Discover ideas to celebrate the European Arthouse Cinema Day

With the upcoming European Arthouse Cinema Day, the Arthouse Cinema Hub has gathered best practices to support the over 600 participating cinemas in all matters concerning communication and creating a great event to celebrate European film and movie theatres on November 12th.

Join the Hub, Share your ideas

You have a great idea, intiative, or project to share with the arthouse world? We would love to hear from you!

  • Write us an This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name, occupation, country, short bio and your idea.
  • Your idea does not have to be fully edited already, simply let us know about the content you would like to share.
  • We will contact you immediately with a blueprint and you can start writing.
  • Of course, our team of editors will support you during the process.*
  • Time to publish!

*You can always choose to write in your preferred language and we will translate for you.

Share your local actions:

We are especially looking forward to share your local actions planned for the European Arthouse Cinema Day. Please share your insights to inspire other cinemas and document the celebrations via photo and social media tagging the" href="http://%20http//" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">@artcinemaday and @cicaeartcinema channels.

About the Arthouse Cinema Hub

Initiated by the CICAE, the Arthouse Cinema Hub will become the central resource and home for arthouse cinema's best practices. It serves to showcase the exceptional contributions arthouse cinemas are making around the world. Here, you can find and share initiatives, projects, experiences and ideas and find inspiration for your own work.

The Arthouse Cinema Hub is an initiative by the CICAE, developed in cooperation with the European Arthouse Cinema Day. The hub is funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe MEDIA programme.


The Awards of the 27th Ji.hlava IDFF were presented at Jihlava’s DKO on Saturday night! The Contribution to World Cinema award was presented to legendary Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr. The Opus Bonum Award for the most notable international documentary film was granted to Ship by Croatian director Elvis Lenić, while Photophobia by Ivan Ostrochovský and Pavol Pekarčík took home the Best Czech Documentary award. The award for the Best Central and East European documentary went to to Polish film Distances by Matej Bobrik, the Best film from the Visegrad region is The Third End of the Stick by Slovak director Jaro Vojtek. The award for the Best Debut went to You Will Never See It All by Czech director Štěpán Pech and Maia Gattás Vargas from Argentina received the Award for original approach for her East Wind. The Czech director Nikola Klinger received the students' prize for La Reine. The jury of the Testimonies section appreciated Mighty Afrin: In The Time Of Floods by Greek director Angelos Rallis. The Best Experimental Documentary film is Silhouette by Japanese director Yoshiki Nishimura and The Commodity Catalogue by Zbyněk Baladrán was named the Best Czech Experiment. The Short Joy Award went to Kata's Motherhood by Santwana Bayaskar from India, and Is There Any Place For Me, Please? by Jarmila Štuková was voted the audiences' favourite. See all awards and jury statements here.


Nine projects participating in the third edition of the Ji.hlava New Visions Forum were awarded at the 27th Ji.hlava IDFF. The Award for the most promising European project went to Czech-Slovak co-production If Pigeons Turned to Gold by Pepa Lubojacki, the Award for the best U.S. project was divided between Valley of the Night and Vestibule. The awards were presented in cooperation with our partners, which include UPP, Soundsquare, AmDocs, FilmAid, Current Time TV, EURODOC, #Docs Connect Taskovski Training, Cannes Docs – Marché du Film, Documentary Association of Europe, European Film Market, and Meeting Point Vilnius. See the full list of Ji.hlava New Visions 2023 winners as well as other industry awards here.


The APA World Excellence Award for the Best Producer of 2023 accorded by the Czech Producers’ Association was handed at the 27th Ji.hlava to French producer Pierre-Olivier Bardet. Pierre has produced dozens of films and many have received awards at major international film festivals. “The fascination of working with those who reject the usual conventions of filmmaking is what drives me,” says Pierre-Olivier Bardet in an interview from Ji.hlava. Bardet was the fifth laureate of the award, after Ada Solomon, Jacques Bidou, Gabriele Kranzelbinder and Heino Deckert. 


Over the last week, the Ji.hlava industry programme featured various pitchings, discussions, and masterclasses, a conference on ethics in documentary filmmaking, workshops, networking events, a film market, and presentations. In total, over 500 one-on-one meetings were organized during the festival’s Matchmaking Accelerator. In the coming days we will share with you recordings of selected events – including the presentation of EMERGING PRODUCERS 2024, the Czech Joy in the Spotlight overview of new Czech documentaries, and the Visegrad Accelerator debate on the rapidly changing world of virtual reality. All accredited film professionals have access to the Ji.hlava Videoteque where they can now watch the festival's selection online.


We have officially announced the creation of new co-production project Ji.hlava/JB Films – a joint initiative of Ji.hlava and the festival’s long-term partner Jan Barta. Next year, up to EUR 110,000 will be allocated to creative documentaries from the region of Central and Eastern Europe. The films will be selected through a call for proposals to be announced in February 2024. The film projects in which Ji.hlava/JB Films will step in as a co-producer shall be announced in June 2024. 


For the thirteenth time, the Ji.hlava’s unique Inspiration Forum offered discussions with dozens personalities from across the world and representing different walks of life, including writer Andri Snær Magnason, astrobiologist and physicist Sara Imari Walker, sociologist and cultural theorist Jan Sowa, technology journalist Paris Marx and many others. We focused on food, space, water, communities and artificial intelligence. The brand new Inspiration Forum websIte is conceived as a library of ideas and thoughts – so we invite you to start discovering at


The Ji.hlava IDFF should extend from the current six days to ten in the coming years. This was announced at a joint press briefing by the festival, City of Jihlava, and the Vysočina region on Saturday. "We want to provide greater comfort for our audience. This will free up accommodation capacity, which will be available to more festival guests and visitors. The extension will also result in a greater number of screenings, allowing us to have up to four screenings of a single film,” said festival director Marek Hovorka. 


Until November 12, viewers in the Czech Republic can enjoy a selection of 170 films from the Ji.hlava online programme. The Ji.hlava online selection includes films in the competition programme including the winners, as well as titles from the retrospective sections. Enjoy the selection and we look forward to meeting you at the 28th edition of Ji.hlava IDFF, scheduled for October 25 – November 3, 2024. See you soon!  


After unveiling all projects, works in progress, professionals and companies selected in the different sections of the market, WEMW is happy to announce the four juries and all the awards, as well as the complete programme of panels, lectures and case studies. 

The WEMW Co-Production Forum Jury consisting of Darya Bassel (Moon Man), Pierre Dallois (Ciclic Centre-Val de Loire), Gordan Matic (Film Center Serbia) and Elma Tataragic (Sarajevo IFF) will assign three cash prizes of the value of 5.000 € each: the Film Center Serbia Development Award, the Ciclic WEMW Award (granted by the French, Centre-Val de Loire Region) and the ArteVideo Co-Production Award. Moreover, all selected projects will be eligible for the EWA Network’s I HAVE A DREAM Award for Equality & Inclusion of the value of 1.000 €. In addition to these cash prizes, the Co-Production Forum will also feature a series of other major awards, including the EAVE Producers Workshop scholarship, the Marché du Film Producers Network Badges, the Pop Up Film Residency Award, the DAE Talent Development Prize in cooperation with the EFM and the #DocsConnect Taskovski Training Award.

The Last Stop Trieste Jury composed by Martina Droandi (Autlook Film Sales), Tereza Keilova (HBO Europe) and Freddy Olsson (Göteborg IFF), be called upon to decide the winner of the HBO EUROPE Award, a cash prize of the value of 1.000 €; whereas the This is IT Jury, headed by Remi Bigot (Semaine de la Critique), Vincenzo Bugno (Berlinale World Cinema Fund/TFL), Wouter Jansen (Square Eyes) and Giancarlo Chetta (Laser Film), will assign the LASER FILM Award, a prize consisting in 4.000 € in colour grading and an additional 40% discount on post-production facilities. Finally, the First Cut+ Jury, consisting of Esra Demirkiran (TRT), Stefan Ivančić (Locarno Film Festival) and Daniel Vadocky (Pluto Films), will award the TRT Prize, worth 5.000 €.

Alongside the traditional pitch of projects in development and the three Works in Progress sections for fiction and documentary films, WEMW has put together a series of sessions tackling different cutting-edge topics, thanks to the close collaboration with several major long-lasting content partners. 

The 2023 edition will open with the conversational inspiring keynote “The role of cinema as an identity marker & a mean of cultural reproduction”. The talk will attempt to highlight the concept of national identity and discuss whether cinema is an art-form that can shape, influence or promote related value sets. In the panel “Digital campaign for your Film Premiere”, First Cut+ will give hands-on tips on how to use digital tools to better understand the audience and to reach it with a meaningful, tailored-made campaign. EAVE will host the session “The Secret Life of a Producer” where Joanna Szymanska and Krystyna Kantor (Shipsboy, PL) will discuss their strategies on how to expand from a couch in the living-room to running a team of six, from a unique perspective of a Central European country. MIDPOINT Institute, key partner of the ‘Cold Open Inspirational Lab’, will organise the lecture “The State of Global Scripted Productions”, which aims at exploring the current opportunities and challenges facing local language scripted series. ACE Producers will host the “ACE Interview with Volodymyr Yatsenko”, founder of production company ForeFilm (UA). Finally, ESoDoc will give a comprehensive overview on how Think-Film works across Europe in the panel “Accelerate IMPACT: bring impactful films to the right audiences”, whereas thanks to the partnership with MEDICI-The Film Funding Journey (organised by FOCAL) Tamara Tatishvili, in conversation with fund representatives and producers, will explore the funding Landscape in Armenia, Moldova and Georgia in the panel dedicated to the 2023  East Spotlight Territories.

The new ecosystem of When East Meets West 2023 will include a record number of different industry activities running simultaneously over four intense days. Thanks to the close partnership with more than 15 European and international training programmes and funding bodies*, WEMW will feature 6 Inspirational Labs, the EAVE Slate programme, the First Cut Lab for films in editing phase, the EAVE Impact Think Tank on anti-racism, the EWA Mentoring Programme, the DAE Confidential chats about documentary film financing and distribution, the Circle Doc Accelerator breakfast sessions, thematic panels on the 2023 spotlight countries and a series of enlightening lectures, live-streamed on Cineuropa and accessible on Festival Scope Pro after the market, and available to more than 500 onsite and 200 online WEMW registered participants and the whole European film industry.

With this new ambitious 2023 edition, WEMW wishes to  become "more than a market", it will be a perfect mix of co-financing, training, matchmaking, mentoring, screening, networking, inspiration and brainstorming. Everything carefully shaped under one single underlying idea: there is something for everyone.

In 2023, the shooting of eleven live-action features will begin: Tartini’s Key (directed by Vinci Vogue Anžlovar, produced by Blade produkcija), Ciao Bela (directed by Jani Sever, produced by Sever & Sever ), the debut Little Trouble Girls (directed by Urška Djukić, produced by SPOK Films), the debut Fantasy (directed by Katarina Rešek – Kukla, produced by December), the debut Neither Voice (directed by Ester Ivakič, produced by Temporama), Block 5 (directed by Klemen Dvornik, produced by A Atalanta), Everything That’s Wrong With You (directed by Urša Menart, produced by Vertigo), the debut This Is a Robbery! (directed by Gregor Andolšek, produced by Temporama), The Lost Son (directed by Darko Štante, produced by Staragara), FC Freedom (directed by Boris Petkovič, produced by Iridium film), and Tales of Friuts and Monsters (directed by Gregor Božič, produced by Nosorogi).

At the 2022 calls for applications, the Slovenian Film Centre, Public Agency of the Republic of Slovenia (SFC), supported the following films:

  • Seven live-action feature projects with a total value of EUR 3,745,000: Whites Wash at Ninety (directed by Marko Naberšnik, produced by Perfo), 20 Metres (directed by Damjan Kozole, produced by Vertigo), FC Freedom (directed by Boris Petkovič, produced by Iridium film), Girl of the Night (directed by Luka Marčetič, produced by Temporama), Tales of Friuts and Monsters (directed by Gregor Božič, produced by Nosorogi), Tartini’s Key (directed by Vinci Vogue Anžlovar, produced by Blade produkcija), Ciao Bela (directed by Jani Sever, produced by Sever & Sever);
  • Two documentary feature projects with a total value of EUR 270,000: Once Upon a Time in the Soča Valley (directed by Ema Kugler, produced by Zavod Zank), OHO (directed by Damjan Kozole, produced by Vertigo);
  • Three live-action shorts with a total value of EUR 150,000: Rimbaud From My Backyard (directed by Matjaž Jamnik, Gaja Naja Rojec, produced by Nosorogi), Becoming/Unbecoming (directed by Ivana Vogrinc Vidali, produced by Temporama), Welcome Home (directed by Filip Jembrih, produced by Perfo);
  • Four animated shorts with a total value of EUR 123,700: Nobody Has Ever Looked at Elephants Like You (directed by Sandra Jovanovska, produced by Staragara), The Girl Who Was Not Afraid of Bears (directed by Lea Vučko, produced by Invida), Fin People (directed by Veronika Hozjan, produced by Dagiba), Dystopias (directed by Sara Bezovšek, produced by Temporama).

From the beginning of January 2023, the following films will be screened in Slovenian cinemas: the live-action documentary film Wracked Piano (directed by Miha Vipotnik, produced by Casablanca), the live-action film Grandpa Goes South (directed by Vinci Vogue Anžlovar, produced by A Atalanta), and at the end of January also the documentary film Melting Dreams (directed by Haidy Kancler, produced by Studio Virc). In April, the distribution of Riders – the first film by the director Dominik Mence, which had its world premiere at the Sarajevo Film Festival and won four Vesna Awards (for Best Leading Actor, Best Editing, Best Sound, and the Audience Award) at last year’s Festival of Slovenian Film in Portorož – will begin. The film was produced by the Staragara production house. This year’s cinema distribution will also include the following works: Wake Me (directed by Marko Šantić, produced by Vertigo), the debut The Man Without Guilt (directed by Ivan Gergolet, produced by Staragara), the experimental film The Birdbreeder (directed by Robert Černelč, produced by Tramal Films), Lunatic (directed by Igor Šterk, produced by A. A. C. Production), Role Model (directed by Nejc Gazvoda, produced by Perfo), The Last Hero (directed by Žiga Virc, produced by Studio Virc), and the documentary films Pero (directed by Damjan Kozole, produced by Vertigo), Cannabis Will Set You Free (directed by Miha Čelar, produced by Astral film), The Body (directed by Petra Seliškar, produced by Petra Pan Film), The Table (directed by Neli Maraž, produced by Cvinger film), and the debut Cent’anni (directed by Maja Doroteja Prelog, produced by Cvinger film).

 In 2022, Slovenian films were seen by 307,776 out of a total of 1,760,000 cinema-goers. According to the data collected so far, the estimated market share of Slovenian films in 2022 was 17.49 %. This is an absolute record: while this share exceeded 9 % in 2013 and 2016, it has never been higher than 10 % in independent Slovenia.

The SFC Director Nataša Bučar highlighted the current international successes of the Slovenian national cinema and its filmmakers: “The most successful year for Slovenian film is behind us. It was record-breaking both in terms of the number of viewers in the Slovenian cinemas and international successes, including the European Film Award for the short film Granny’s Sexual Life by Urška Djukić. Regarding the efforts to attract foreign productions to Slovenia, 2022 was also a landmark year, as the shooting of Netflix’s The Union, the biggest foreign production ever in Slovenia, took place in Piran. In 2023, the SFC will have significantly increased funding for national film production at its disposal, heralding an even brighter future. I am positive Slovenian film is in excellent shape and on the right track.”

In 2023, the SFC and its partners will continue to work on already established projects such as Our Films at Home, Slovenian Film Premiere, Slovenian Film Database, the so-called Scenarnica, Scenarnica ABC, and Dokumentarnica workshops, the Filmarija podcast, Incubator, as well as the new project titled Short Scene.

Meanwhile, the 26th Festival of Slovenian Film will take place between 3 and 8 October 2023 in Portorož.

The Swedish director, whose films have won not only the global film awards, but also the audience’s hearts, will hold a series of masterclasses on Lopud in Croatia

After the first two editions of the Ponta Lopud Festival which takes place on island of Lopud, nearby Dubrovnik, in Croatia, during which some of the greatest film professionals in the world, including Joel Coen, Frances McDormand and Pawel Pawlikowski, shared their knowledge and experience with the masterclass participants, the baton of a master will be passed to the multiple award-winning Swedish director Ruben Östlund. 

„For me filmmaking is social and that’s the biggest reason why I enjoy doing it. The intimate atmosphere of Ponta Lopud creates a great opportunity to meet colleagues and friends, talk about work and get inspiration. I’m really looking forward to it!”, said Ruben Östlund.

In 2022, the director of "Triangle of Sadness," a satire that "exposes roles and classes and metaphorically depicts the end of Western civilization," won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. In addition, the film won four major prizes at the European Film Awards: Best European film, Best director, Best actor, and Best screenplay. The awards by the film profession representatives did not stop there, and Östlund's "Triangle of Sadness" was nominated for an Oscar in the categories of Best film, Best director, and Best original screenplay. Co-founder of the Ponta Lopud Festival, Mirsad Purivatra from Sarajevo’s Obala Art Centar is the associate producer of this film.

“I'm happy to announce that Ruben Östlund, one of the greatest directors today, will be the guest of the Ponta Lopud Festival. The Sarajevo Film Festival has followed his career since the beginning, and we have loved not only his works but also the get-togethers and discussions we had during his visits to Sarajevo. Our mutual respect and love for the film resulted in our work together, and as a result, Obala Art Centar was one of the producers of his most recent, multi-award-winning movie, Triangle of Sadness. In the laid-back and intimate atmosphere of the Ponta Lopud Festival, Ruben will be sharing his wealth of knowledge and expertise with new regional authors, and we are looking forward to that very much.” said Mirsad Purivatra.

Long sequences are a defining feature of Östlund's work, which he structured and perfected while attending the University of Gothenburg. It was there that he also met Erik Hemmendorff, with whom he later co-founded the Plattform Produktion company.

Starting with his second feature, "Involuntary" (2008), which debuted in the Un Certain Regard programme, all of Östlund's subsequent films have had their world premieres at Cannes, making this gifted director a member of a select, elite group of filmmakers who have won awards twice at this prestigious festival.

Östlund was also awarded the Golden Bear in Berlin for his short film "Incident at the Bank". This film provided him with the chance to experiment with other techniques and styles, which became even more visible in his third feature, "Play," which had its world premiere in Cannes as part of the Directors' Fortnight programme and for which he later won the Nordic Prize, the most prestigious Scandinavian cinema award. In addition to receiving nominations for the prestigious Golden Globe and the Oscar, his fourth feature film, "Force Majeure," had its world debut in Cannes' Un Certain Regard programme and won the Jury Prize. His fifth movie, "The Square" from 2017, won Östlund not only the Palme d'Or at Cannes, but also got nominations for the Golden Globe and the Oscar.

In addition to winning the Palme d'Or, his most recent film "Triangle of Sadness" opened the 28th Sarajevo Film Festival, and Ruben Östlund was awarded the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo in recognition of his outstanding contribution to film art.

The third edition of the Ponta Lopud Festival takes place on 20-24 June 2023 on a beautiful island of Lopud, nearby Dubrovnik, in Croatia. The Festival is a creative hub that organizes invite-only masterclasses and lectures by the greatest filmmakers working today, specifically tailored for directors, actors and cinematographers of the new generation in Southeast Europe. In a relaxing and friendly island atmosphere, the Festival creates opportunities for regional rising stars to meet with top film professionals and talk about film, visual art and the art of living that has been practiced in the region for centuries. The founders of the Ponta Lopud Festival are Mirsad Purivatra, former director and founder of the Sarajevo Film Festival and Tilda Grossel Bogdanovic from island Lopud.

The Ponta Lopud Festival will once again invite around twenty filmmakers from the region – directors, actors and cinematographers who are on the verge of launching their careers internationally.

All news and information about the Ponta Lopud Festival are available on the Festival official website and the Festival social media.

Online film and drama series submissions for the programmes of the 29th Sarajevo Film Festival, which will be held from 11th to 18th August 2023, are now open.

Film authors and producers can submit their films / drama series for the following programmes:

- Competition Programme - Feature Film

- Competition Programme - Documentary Film

- Competition Programme - Short Film

- Competition Programme - Student Film

- In Focus

- Avant Premiere - specialized for regional drama series

- Open Air

- Kinoscope

- Summer Screen

- European Shorts

- Children’s Programme

- TeenArena

- Dealing with the Past

- BH Film Programme

All entries for programmes: Competition Programme – Feature Film, Competition Programme – Documentary Film, Competition Programme – Short Film, Competition Programme – Student Film, In Focus, Avant Premiere, Open Air, Kinoscope, Summer Screen, European Shorts, Children’s Programme, TeenArena, Dealing with the Past and BH Film, unless otherwise specified, must be submitted to the Festival for selection by May 26th, 2023.

The submissions fees, unless otherwise specified at the film submission page are as following:

Competition Programme – Feature Film – FREE to submit!

Competition Programme – Documentary Film – FREE to submit!

Competition Programme – Short Film – FREE to submit!

Competition Programme – Student Film – FREE to submit!

BH Film – FREE to submit!

All other programmes open for submission:

- Feature length film and Middle-length film (60 minutes in length or more; 31 to 59 minutes in length) – 80 BAM or 40 EUR

- Short film (up to 30 minutes in length, including closing credits) – 40 BAM or 20 EUR

Please find rules and regulations and online entry form HERE.

Download press release HERE.

The 29th Sarajevo Film Festival will take place from 11th to 18th August 2023.

Press Office

Sarajevo Film Festival

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Each year, goEast shines a spotlight on the oeuvre of a notable Eastern European filmmaker with an extensive retrospective. In so doing, the festival chooses to alternate between accomplished veteran directors and filmmakers who are in the middle of their career journeys. Following last year's Homage to Lana Gogoberidze, the 2023 Portrait is devoted to Jasmila Žbanić, in an extension of the line of strong women from Central and Eastern Europe at the heart of the festival's programming. Jasmila Žbanić is without a doubt among the most significant filmmakers from Bosnia and Herzegovina – and her recent European Film Award for QUO VADIS, AIDA? (2020) represents a great success on the international stage.

Born in Sarajevo in 1974 and educated at the city's Academy of Fine Arts, in 1997 the Bosnian director founded the artists' collective "Deblokada", which has also produced her films since its inception. The name was coined in the 1990s in reference to the siege of Sarajevo. Following the city's liberation, the after-effects of the war remained palpable in the form of diverse political, economic and psychological blockages, which have continued to shape the society of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the present day.

Jasmila Žbanić tackles these impasses through cinema. Her video art and documentary films were already featured at the documenta in Kassel in 2004. In her numerous, internationally award-winning films, the Bosnian director processes traumatic events and personal experiences of the impact of the Bosnian War. This conflict, nearly forgotten in Western Europe in the interim, is a recurrent theme in Žbanić's films. Her feature-film debut GRBAVICA (2006) was awarded the Golden Bear at the 2006 Berlinale. The film treats the systematic rape of women as a means of waging war, which managed to spark a political discussion in her native country. A look at Ukraine shows that this subject is today sadly still as relevant as ever.

Jasmila Žbanić's critical engagement with essential socio-political issues runs through her body of cinematic work like a guiding thread. For instance, QUO VADIS, AIDA? (2020) grapples with the massacre at Srebrenica. However, her filmography also includes less dramatic productions, such as the comedy LOVE ISLAND (2014). Somewhat astonished, she answered the question as to why she had made a film that wasn't about war and its effects by saying that she does only something when she has something to say about a topic and not when it is expected of her. Following her success at the European Film Awards, she was also hired as a series director in the United States, for example most recently for the video game adaptation THE LAST OF US (2022).

goEast is delighted to be able to welcome Jasmila Žbanić personally to Wiesbaden in April. Curator and film scholar Borjana Gaković will be moderating the workshop conversation with the director. Alongside her fiction features, the comprehensive retrospective will also include screenings of a selection of Žbanić's documentary films and shorter works.

Empowering Emerging Artists and Producers:  East-West Talent Lab

In 2023, goEast's educational program for up-and-coming film talent is open to all filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe as well as Germany who wish to develop their current documentary film projects further and network with like-minded peers. Running parallel to goEast Film Festival, the East-West Talent Lab is home to an intensive co-ordinated workshop program, one-on-one mentoring for projects and a public pitching session in front of a three-member expert jury.

The following prizes are awarded in the scope of the East-West Talent Lab: 

-          the Renovabis Research Grant for a documentary film project focussing on human rights issues, endowed with 3,500 euros in prize money;

-          the Pitch-the-Doc Award, featuring a further education prize package valued at 500 euros. 

In addition, the EWTL master class, traditionally open to the public, will also be taking place once again: the Polish directorial duo of Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski, whose film THE HAMLET SYNDROME (2023) was recently released in German theatres, will be offering the audience insight into their cinematic work.


Beginning Friday, 3 March, members of the press can register here for accreditation for goEast – Festival of Central and Eastern European Film. During the festival, accredited industry guests and members of the press will receive access to an online media library featuring the festival films. Accreditation is free of charge for members of the press who wish to report on the festival.

Save the Date: goEast Press Conference

The press conference will take place at Wiesbaden's Caligari FilmBühne as a live, in-person event on the morning of Wednesday, 19 April, starting at 11:00.