Astra Film Festival brings again the Dome-type cinema to Piața Mare in Sibiu and proposes, between October 9-16, the special AFF New Media program, dedicated to viewers of all ages who want to be initiated in digital cinema - Concept Art, VR, Augmented Reality. The International Documentary Film Festival in Sibiu will thus be an exceptional itinerant excursion, from classic non-fiction cinema to immersive, unconventional cinema that uses the latest creative technologies, from viewings in the cinema to the unprecedented 360-degree cross-media projections experience. Tickets for AFF2022 films and events have gone on sale and can be purchased here:

Started six years ago, as the only program of its kind in Romania, the films created and projected in the format of new technologies are grouped this year under the aegis of Astra Film NewMedia, signaling the fact that, after 6 years, the production of films dedicated to immersive stories has changed, it has diversified and evolved.

"If 2020 was the year of a reinvention forced by the pandemic, and we had Astra Film Online and Astra Film Outdoor, in 2022 we are returning to the digital education platform and transforming Piața Mare into the most intense point of interaction for fans of unconventional cinematography. In the dome located in the heart of Sibiu, immersive and 360° films will be projected, a selection of the best productions of the moment, relevant for the New Media area", declares Dumitru Budrala, director-founder of Astra Film Festival.

AFF New Media audiences will enjoy an immersive cinematic experience, watching some of the newest and most immersive 360° films. It will basically be a continuous journey. From the microcosm to the macrocosm, from the microscopic to the celestial, on the rhythms of electronic music and jazz ("Black Mantis" - UK, 2021). We will immerse in a spiritual journey, triggered by a dose of ayahuasca ("Ayahuasca, Kosmik journey" - France, Luxembourg, 2019 - film selected at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in 2019), or into the story of the endless journey of the two Voyager space probes, which carry with them the interstellar message sent from Earth to possible extraterrestrial civilizations ("Voyager: the never ending journey", Ukraine, 2019).

The audience will be drawn into a hypnotic and immersive experience where questions are raised subtly, with fantasy and lyricism ("I don't understand" - Spain, 2022), in a visual feast that amazes with the instant connection with the sky and nature, through music ("Piano Under the Stars" - Chile, Spain, 2020), or directly into the mysteries of the Universe, as they are revealed by scientists from the largest radio telescope in the world, together with the Yamaji people - on whose land the telescope is built ("Star Dreaming" - Australia, 2021).

There will be screenings dedicated also to younger audiences, invited to find out curiosities and explanations about light and the way we perceive it, in a unique fulldome experience ("Travelling with light" - Spain, 2020), traditions and scientific methods derived from a journey in the footsteps of Captain Cook and the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman ("Ngā Tohunga Whakatere - The Navigators" - New Zealand, 2021), the story of the seasons, with a strong educational character ("Magic globe - a story of the seasons" - Poland , 2020) or "Legend of the Enchanted Reef" - Germany, 2021, an adventure film to be watched with the whole family.


About Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival Sibiu, launched in 1993 as an innovative project, is one of the most important non-fiction film festivals in Europe, and was included by the European Film Academy on the list of festivals that have the right to make direct nominations for European Film Awards.

Astra Film Festival is placed under the High Patronage of the President of Romania and is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation, with the support of the Sibiu County Council, The Ministry of Culture, The National Center of Cinematography, The Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu and The Filmmakers Union. The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the Sibiu City Hall and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.

Sponsors: Campari, Promenada Sibiu, Ursus, Cotnari, Cinelab, CineGold, Sonne, Kulinarium, Cafe Pardon, Nod

Main Media Partners: PRO TV, VOYO

Supported by Europa FM

Media Partners: HotNews, Radio România Cultural,, G4Media, Edupedu, Spotmedia, PressHub, TV5 Monde, Film New Europe, Cineuropa, All About Romanian Cinema, Movienews, Observator cultural, LiterNet, Films in Frame, Film Menu, Cinefilia, Capital cultural, Turnul sfatului, Tribuna, Sibiu 100%, Ora de Sibiu, Știri de Sibiu, Sibiul azi, Zile și nopți, Transilvania, Hermanstadter Zeitung, A List Magazine

Press monitoring partner: MediaTRUST

Delivery partner: DPD România

Travel partner: Nordis Travel

Reading partner: Cărturești

Communications Partner: PiArt Vision

Children and teenagers have their own festival again. Astra Film Junior, the first and most complex cinema education program in Romania, returns to Sibiu between October 9th -16th. Designed for three age categories (6+, 11+ and 15+), the AF Junior educational program includes film screenings in cinema halls and in the full-dome 360 cinema (Astra Film New Media Full Dome), followed by didactic activities in  class, comic strips contest and a film workshop. Details about the Astra Film Festival program on the website

Astra Film Junior presents a selection of the best productions on the market of narrative documentary films for children and teenagers.  "Everything will be great because you will expand your horizons.  And, through the Astra Film New Media Full Dome program, you will see immersive projections, come into contact with new technologies and get acquainted with an unusual type of cinema, in 360 ̊ format, where the film surrounds the viewer", Dumitru Budrala, director-founder of Astra Film Festival conveys to the young viewers  

The organizers have prepared for the viewers in the 6+ category life stories of children close to their own age, children who came out of anonymity by thinking outside the box, through a constant desire for knowledge and insight. Yang, an 11-year-old boy from China, makes many sacrifices to learn all about traditional Chinese theater (The Monkey King, 2019). Aatos, Amine and Flo, three inseparable friends from a neighborhood in Brussels, are looking for answers to big people's questions (Aatos and the World, 2019). Azat and his colleagues, from Tartastan, are 12 years old and as little journalists they take care of an important mission each week (Azat and Youtubers from Tartastan, 2018). In turn, Clara, Matei and their friends embark on a journey full of adventures in the Danube Delta (Sentries of the Delta, 2022). And the film #On the Web answers some questions such as What is and how does the internet work?, Who are the trolls?, What about the influencers?.

Viewers in the 11+ category will learn about the dreams of children from different corners of the world: Asho, from Iran, wants to become a famous actor (Asho, 2019); Ayana, a girl from Kyrgyzstan, would like to be first in an exclusively male sport (Ayana, 2019); Rehad, from Denmark, wants to become a pigeon breeder (Bird Boy, 2019), and Julieta, a young woman from the Netherlands, initiates an action to clean the ocean which she considers her second home (Julieta & the turtles in the plastic soup, 2020).

High school students will discover, in the program dedicated to the 15+ category, the life of one of the most followed 14-year-old girls on Instagram (Girl Gang, 2022), the artistic maturation of a Norwegian singer who drops out of school to become a pop star (Aurora, 2019 ) or the way in which the image of the communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu is perceived by today's teenagers (You Are Ceaușescu to Me, 2021). Through the documentary films selected for them, young people learn how to react to sexual predators in the online environment (Caught in the Net, 2020) and what are the effects of the rapid spread of artificial intelligence - saving humanity or, on the contrary, its total control (iHuman, 2019).

Young and very young viewers are also invited to the immersive full-dome cinema 360 screenings in the Dome installed in Piața Mare (Astra Film New Media Full Dome special program). Through spectacular filming, they will learn that there are other sources of light besides the Sun (Travelling with Light, 2019), mysteries of the Universe will be revealed to them with the help of the largest radio telescope (Star Dreaming, 2021), and they will get to follow the story of interstellar messages carried to extraterrestrial civilizations by space probes launched 45 years ago (VOYAGER: the Never-Ending Journey, 2019). At the same time, young viewers will retrace Captain Cook's journey through the Pacific Ocean (The Navigators, 2021), see how an electronic music composer finds inspiration in the sound of the Arctic Ocean (-22.7C, 2021) and follow with their hearts the adventures of Shorty, Indigo and Jake in Legend of the Enchanted Reef (2021), a film for the whole family, full of humor and imagination.

"We have a generation that consumes a lot of audiovisual content from an early age but is given too few opportunities to reflect on it. The role of the Astra Film Junior program is precisely this: to provide them with the necessary tools for the formation of critical thinking and for exercising the agility to understand the audiovisual content to which they are exposed", said Dumitru Budrala.

Astra Film Junior also contains a Film Workshop for high school students, which aims to practice both the ability of teenagers to understand a documentary film and the process by which it is made, as well as the ability to speak in public. The long-awaited meeting with comic strips will not be missed - a creative educational tool through which children and teenagers are called to analyze and interpret the films they watch and tell their own story through comic strips - an exercise to strengthen the skill of creating a work on a given theme.

The teaching staff and educational counselors who will accompany the children to the screenings will benefit from the "Profession of Educator" training, in which they learn how documentary cinema can be used in the educational process. There will be a special screening for them: the disturbing documentary film "Why didn't you stay for me?" (directed by Milou Gevers, 2020), which will be accompanied by a presentation and followed by a free discussion about the help we can offer to children who are going through difficult times after the loss of a parent.


About Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival Sibiu, launched in 1993 as an innovative project, is one of the most important non-fiction film festivals in Europe, and was included by the European Film Academy on the list of festivals that have the right to make direct nominations for European Film Awards.

Astra Film Festival is placed under the High Patronage of the President of Romania and is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation, with the support of the Sibiu County Council, The Ministry of Culture, The National Center of Cinematography, The Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu and The Filmmakers Union. The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the Sibiu City Hall and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.

The Astra Film Festival in Sibiu, which will take place between October 9th -16th, presents a selection of the newest and most valuable Romanian documentary films of the moment. In total, 17 Romanian films will be screened, of which 14 can be seen for the first time in Romania, in Sibiu. All of them make up a puzzle of the Romanian society. The screenings will take place in the presence of the filmmakers, who will enter a dialogue with the audience. After the 29th edition of #AFF, some films will also be watched online in Romania, and Astra Film organizers will be able to make direct nominations for the European Film Awards, from among the award-winning films.

"This autumn's edition will truly be a festival, in all the bright senses of the word, if we think about the fact that most of the films in the official selection are premieres and bring to the big screen never-before-seen content. They are poorly financed productions, which brings an additional argument to the idea that we are talking about films with relevant, valuable content. And when Romanian films which were developed in Sibiu, in the "laboratories" of the festival are released, their success is a celebration for the entire Romanian cinema community", said Dumitru Budrala, director-founder of Astra Film Festival.


The film from the opening of the festival, "The Chalice. Of Sons and Daughters", by Cătălina Tesăr and Dana Bunescu (2022 - national premiere), exposes for the first time in the cinema, the interesting world of the `cortorari`. The film shows the world of this traditional Roma community from Transylvania, exploring ancient customs, marked by arranged marriages, at the center of which is, symbolically placed, a golden cup handed down from generation to generation. The film was conceived a few years ago within the DokTank Astra Film laboratory program, and in order to document it, Cătălina Tesăr, PhD in anthropology at University College London, spent two years among the locals, during which she learned the language and customs.

Communities and traditions are also discussed in two other films. "Memories from the community of Gheorgheni and Frumoasa", by Armine Vosganian (2022) - international premiere, features 100-year-old Peter, the only man from Frumoasa who still speaks Armenian and knows the customs of the elderly.  Alexandra Gulea also makes a deep foray into the community of Aromanians in their historical exile, between the mountains and the sea ("Flying sheep", co-production Romania, Germany, 2022 - international premiere, Central and Eastern Europe Section).

Writer Adina Popescu and director Iulian Ghervas bring to Sibiu, as an international premiere, a documentary film that uses as a pretext the story of a football team that has been in the bottom league for decades, to explore how a rural community in the middle of Transylvania lives, prisoner in an anonymous world ("Eagles from Șaga", 2021).

Communism and post-communism

Documentary filmmakers are studying again the impact of the communist regime on the lives of so many generations. The communist regime left deep wounds and destinies to chance. Dragoș Zămosteanu is "In search of the engineer Dragomirescu" (2022) - the story of a person sent to prison and never returning for singing "Deșteaptă-te, Române!" and "Vântuleț de primăvară". In "Rear Entrance to Socialism" (2022), László Csibi describes communist censorship as perceived by Hungarian media representatives, members of political structures and cultural figures who were active during the communist regime.

In "Globus" (co-production Romania-Poland, 2022 - world premiere), Clara Kleininger sensitively watches how the trainers of the Globus State Circus become acrobats and clowns after their animals are taken to the Zoo. And in "The Man and His Shadow", by Dragoș Hanciu (2021), we see how Georges, a flamboyant technician in the photo lab at UNATC, loses his job when digital photography gains ground in front of analog photography.

One of the most surprising films of this year is ”You Are Ceaușescu To me”, by Sebastian Mihăilescu (2022), an experimental mix of documentary and fiction that will be presented in Sibiu as part of the Astra Film Junior program. The film follows the reactions of young people between the ages of 15 and 22, from different backgrounds, who want to play the role of Nicolae Ceaușescu, at a time when the former communist dictator was very young.


Two Romanian films from the official selection address the phenomenon of migration. In "Waves on dry soil" (2021 - world premiere), Raluca David filmed in Ecuador, the Republic of Moldova and Portugal the story of a young Moldovan surfer who tries to overcome his immigrant status, while "Arsenie`s First Birthday", by Valentin-Rareș Fogoroș (2022 - world premiere), follows the struggle of a woman from Ukraine, a refugee in our country, who fights with the bureaucracy to obtain EU documents for her son, Arsenie.


One of the most emotional portraits that will be presented at this AFF edition is "Trapped in His Own Movie" (2022 - world premiere), in which Alexandru Oiță presents the fate of director Andrei Cătălin Băleanu, showing how life really beats film. Another portrait, collective this time, is that of the people who are building a section of the Via Transilvanica - the road of more than 1,400 kilometers "that unites" ("People of the Road: Terra Banatica", by Mircea Gherase, 2021).

Another story, with deep meanings and with the occasion for essential questions, is the journey that a young woman makes, in the time of Covid19 restrictions, to a 500-year-old pilgrimage destination: Șumuleu Ciuc / Csíksomlyó ("My Home, My Home" , by Anikó Nagy, 2020 - national premiere). And "Too Close" (2022), by Botond Püsök, is a tense story about a mother with 2 children, and her turmoil when she must accept parental visitation from the father of the second child, after he is released from the penitentiary where he had been imprisoned for what he did to the woman's first child.

One of the films in the official DocSchool selection seeks an answer to a difficult question, "What happens after death?" ("One click away", by Janine Gruen (2022 - world premiere), and the young viewers of AF Junior will see the adventures of some children in a camp in the Danube Delta, who discover two poachers fishing illegally ("The Sentries of the Delta", by Liviu Mărghidan, 2022).The official #AFF2022 selection also presents a surprising satirical documentary essay, "Whose dog am I?", by Róbert Árpád Lakatos (2022 - Romanian premiere), which shows big politics as a world where citizens are dogs, and politicians - dog breeders.

About Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival Sibiu, launched in 1993 as an innovative project, is one of the most important non-fiction film festivals in Europe, and was included by the European Film Academy on the list of festivals that have the right to make direct nominations for European Film Awards.

Astra Film Festival is placed under the High Patronage of the President of Romania and is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation, with the support of the Sibiu County Council, The Ministry of Culture, The National Center of Cinematography, The Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu and The Filmmakers Union. The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the Sibiu City Hall and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.

A weekend as if torn from a beautiful dream in Sibiu, where hundreds of people had a unique experience: floating in boats, in the moonlight, watching films projected on a huge screen, located between windmills, in the middle of Dumbrava Sibiului. The AFF Warm-Up event was offered to the audience by the Astra Film Festival organizers, representing also an invitation to the international documentary film festival that will take place in Sibiu, in cinemas and online, between October 9th -16th , 2022. Some films, most of which will be seen in premiere in Romania at  #AFF2022 will later be available online, for the audience from all over the country.

Those who came over the weekend to the Astra Museum in Sibiu enjoyed a couple of wonderful autumn evenings. People were welcomed by the Astra Film Festival organizers with hot tea, served in cups on which suggestive messages from the non-fiction films "Who made you?" and "River" were written. To watch these films, the audience boarded boats or hydro-bikes and floated on the lake towards the screen located next to a thicket of reeds, between windmills. There, on the shore, at Casa Podarului, there were several hundred other spectators, who did not get to buy tickets for the boats.

On the first night, viewers from the floating cinema were faced with simple and direct questions about the future in which humans will coexist with artificial intelligence. The deepest and most philosophical moments of "Who made you?" (r. Härmä Iiris, Finland) were the surprising dialogues between children and robots. On the second evening, the viewers of the event film "River" (dir. Jennifer Peedom and Joseph Nizet, Australia, USA) experienced something extraordinary: it was as if the rivers on the screen were flowing into the water of the lake in the middle of Dumbrava Sibiului and up, to the starry sky, carrying with them the unspoken thoughts of people enthralled by the experience they were living.

`I had heard about film screenings seen from boats floating on the lake, and I really wanted to take part in something like that. I came from Bucharest specifically for this` said a lady, on the alley next to the pier.

"I rowed in the night, among the stars and reeds, among the moments of the past, present and future", recounted a young woman deeply marked by the experience. 

We felt the film trying to stay still. But our boat moved smoothly, carried by the subtle currents of the lake. As in life", said, after getting off the boat, an elegantly dressed gentleman. 

"It is exciting and spectacular to float on boats, in the moonlight, to be able to watch a film premiering in Romania, on a huge screen between windmills. We are waiting for our audience this weekend, all lovers of non-fiction cinema, at the Astra Film Festival, where we have prepared over 200 cultural events", said Dumitru Budrala, director and founder of the Astra Film Festival.

The AFF Warm-Up also included a very interesting discussion between documentary film professionals and teenagers from Sibiu, an event through which the Astra Film Festival organizers announce the return to the festival calendar, through screenings and special events in cinema halls and full-dome, of the Astra Film Junior program, the most popular film education project through documentary film in Romania.

About Astra Film Festival

Astra Film Festival Sibiu, launched in 1993 as an innovative project, is one of the most important non-fiction film festivals in Europe, and was included by the European Film Academy on the list of festivals that have the right to make direct nominations for European Film Awards.

Astra Film Festival is placed under the High Patronage of the President of Romania and is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation, with the support of the Sibiu County Council, The Ministry of Culture, The National Center of Cinematography, The Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu and The Filmmakers Union. The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the Sibiu City Hall and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.

Pustnik’s third development residency of the year – part of the Pustnik Screenwriting Network –  will take place from October 9th to 16th. Five writers will be working on their sophomore fiction feature screenplays in Izvoranu, a rural setting in Romania.

The selected projects are:
“Disorder" by Giacomo Abbruzzese, Italy
“RARA AVIS” by Octav Chelaru, Romania
“The Last Generation” by Mika Gustafson & Alexander Öhrstrand, Sweden 
“A Day in the Life of J: Chapter Phaedra” by Jacqueline Lentzou, Greece

A graduate of Le Fresnoy, Giacomo Abbruzzese’s short films were selected and awarded in international festivals including Clermont-Ferrand, Oberhausen, Viennale, Palm Springs, Mar del Plata, Tampere, IndieLisboa, Nouveau Cinéma Montreal, and Winterthur. He was an artist in residence at Cannes Film Festival Cinéfondation, Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. In 2022 he was nominated for a César with his documentary America and also finished shooting his debut feature Disco Boy, starring Franz Rogowski. 

Octav Chelaru is a self-taught Romanian director. He has written and directed five short films;  his two most recent, Black Clothes (2017) and The Parallel State (2020), both premiered in competition in Locarno. His debut feature film, the Romanian-German-Serbian co-production A Higher Law (2021) was in competition at Transilvania IFF and selected in Thessaloniki IFF, Goa IFF and Ghent IFF.

The writing duo Mika Gustafson & Alexander Öhrstrand co-wrote the feature film Sisters, currently in post-production and set to premiere in 2023. A Bachelor in film directing from Valand film academy in Göteborg, Sweden, Mika’s debut documentary Silvana won the Swedish National film award. Apart from co-writing Sisters and The Last Generation with Mika Gustafson, Alexander Öhrstrand is a successful actor and also develops theatre plays. 

Having directed six films until now, Jacqueline Lentzou’s work touches upon non-traditional family systems and their consequences. Retrospectives on her full bodywork have taken place in Montreal, Vienna, Porto and Ghent and she is the New York Onassis foundation fellowship recipient for 2022. Jacqueline is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Leica Cine Discovery Award by Semaine de La Critique for Hector Malot: The Last Day of the Year (2018), as well as the Grand Prix in Reykjavik IFF and Sevilla Film Festival for Moon, 66 Questions (2021), her debut feature which premiered in Berlinale Encounters Competition. 

At different stages in their writing process, the residents will take advantage of the peaceful and secluded environment to reflect on their projects and work with Pustnik’s guest consultants – producer Bianca Oana and psychotherapist/narrative consultant Delia Vasile.

The October residency caps off Pustnik’s first year of extended support for emerging filmmakers. 


About Pustnik:
Pustnik is a year-round programme that aims to create an environment dedicated to peace of mind and clarity of thought, away from modern pressures. Pustnik is also a growing network of film professionals and a community whose aim is to ease and encourage collaboration across the international cinema industry. Starting with 2021 Pustnik has begun a new cycle: a series of three development residencies dedicated to both new participants and alumni working on their first or second feature films.

For more information:

Andreea Pătru – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pustnik is organized by T.E.T.A Association

TETA is an NGO founded in June 2006 with the purpose of developing cultural activities and alternative education to stimulate cultural revival within overlooked communities. TETA also produces films and theatre performances.

Cultural program co-funded by the Administration of the National Cultural Fund (AFCN), Romanian Filmmakers’ Union (UCIN), Dacin Sara, French Institute Romania

Partners: European Short Pitch, National University of Theatre and Film "I.L. Caragiale" - UNATC Bucharest

Media partners: Film New Europe, Films in Frame, All about Romanian Cinema -

The program does not necessarily represent the position of the Administration of the National Cultural Fund. AFCN is not responsible for the content of the program, nor for the manner in which the results of the program might be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the beneficiary of the grant.

Submit your creative feature-length documentaries, factual series and non-fiction VR and transmedia projects from the CEE region in development, production and post-production to the 12th edition of the East Doc Platform (March 24-30, 2023). The East Doc Platform 2023 will take place at the French Institute in Prague, organized by the Institute of Documentary Film in association with One World Film Festival.

The East Doc Platform is the largest co-production, funding and distribution platform tailor-made for Central and East European documentaries. Every year, we connect European filmmakers with key decision makers - producers, broadcasters, distributors and festival programmers from all over the world.

Dates: March 24-30, 2023
Where: French institute in Prague, Czech Republic
Application deadline: November 13, 2022
>> APPLY NOW (free of charge)

Save the Date and join the Facebook event

What projects are we looking for? Creative feature length documentary films (creative story/character-driven), factual series, and non-fiction transmedia (interactive factual, VR/AR) projects from Central and Eastern Europe in development, production and postproduction stage. The selection is also open to the international productions with projects thematically bound to the CEE region.

East Doc Forum: Pitching for Central and East European creative documentary projects in development or in production stage, including factual series. Participation includes five day-long pitch training and preparation, networking opportunities and individual meetings with invited decision makers.

East Doc Interactive: A three day-long workshop with consultations and networking opportunities for documentary projects with VR and interactive elements in development or in production.

East Doc Series: A part of the East Doc Forum, a three day-long pitch training and consultations, with pitch and networking opportunities for documentary series projects in development or in production.

East Doc Market: Pre-arranged one-on-one meetings with decision makers for documentary projects in production and post-production.

Since 2001, more than 300 documentary films have been completed with the direct support of the East Doc Forum, including award-winning Over the LimitA New ShiftWhen the War ComesSofia’s Last AmbulanceUkrainian SheriffsThe Russian JobDomino Effect and Rabbit a la Berlin.

The East Doc Platform is organized by the Institute of Documentary Film in association with One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.

Find more information including the application HERE.

We are looking forward to receiving your projects!

BIAFF Film festival closing ceremony took place on 25 September, at Cinema Apollo 

Festival Jury awarded prizes in three competition sections – Feature Films  and Short Films.

BIAFF 2022 international competition section’s Jury consisting of five members – Lech Majewski (Poland) – Head of Jury, Carmen Grey (Germany),  Lasha Khalvashi, Nino Basilia, Gela Babluani (Georgia),  awarded the following prizes:

  • Best Film – “Klondike”, Maryna Er Gorbach, Turkey/Ukraine, 2022
  • Best Film Director –  Maryna Er Gorbach for “Klondike”, Turkey/Ukraine, 2022
  • Best Actress – Mariam Khundadze in “Room of My Own”, Soso Bliadze, Georgia, Germany, 2022
  • Best Actor – Amir Aghaee for “Four Walls”, Bahman Gobhadi, Turkey/UK, 2021
  • Jury Special Mention – „Herd Immunity“, Adilkhan Yerzhanov, Kazakhstan/France, 2021 and “Room of My Own”, Soso Bliadze, Georgia/Germany, 2022

BIAFF 2022 Short Film competition section’s Jury consisting of – Zurab Tsintskiladze (Georgia), Ileana Stanculescu (Romania), Tornike Gogrichiani (Georgia), awarded the following prizes:

  • The Best Short film –  “It’s quiet here”, Novruz Hikmet / Olena Podolianko , Ukraine, 2022
  • Jury Special Mentions - “Axel”, Levan Uchaneishvili, Georgia, 2022  and  “Nothing To See Here”, Nicolas Bouchez, Portugal, 2022

Prize of Jury of Batumi Cinemalover’s Club  (Roi Abuselidze, Anna Oromtsadze, Dachi Mejidov) – was awarded to two short films:

  • “Easter”, Nikoloz Verdzadze, Georgia, 2022; 25 min.
  • “Ronin’s Confession”, Giorgi Khukhunaishvili, Georgia, 2022; 10 min.

BIAFF 2022 Life time Achievement awards for contribution to cinema was granted to:

  • Lech Majewski (Poland)
  • Tengiz Archvadze (Georgia)
  • Zurab Tsintskiladze (Georgia)

Festival Supporters –  Embassy of Switzerland, French Institute, Embassy of Italy, Embassy of Sweden, Embassy of Lietuva, Batumi Puppet Theatre, GNTA

Cinema APOLLO, hotel “Admiral“,   Hotel “Downtown”, Hotel “Bel Mare”, company ART ITALY GROUP, Mareteli Friends Winery, Marketing company “SHINDI”,  Komuna Hostel & Hotel,  “ReformerFitness”, Restaurant “Shemoikhede”

Festival Media Partners – Georgian Public Broadcaster, Radio Fortuna/Fortuna+, Adjara TV, Batumi TV, Podcast Batumi, Film New Europe (, AT.GE, Newspaper BATUMELEBI,,

Festival partners for presenting films – Matchfactory, New Europe Film Sales, Arizona Productions, Hanwayfilms, DirectoryFilms, ArtHood Entertainment, Asian Shadows, Irimage  

Contact information:
Tel: 599-482181, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., For accreditation – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SOFA – SCHOOL OF FILM ADVANCEMENT, the training programme aimed at strengthening regional film  industries across Europe with a focus on Eastern partnership, is pleased to announce the launch of its ninth  edition and unveil its project selection for 2022-2023. The first SOFA workshop, running through September  30th, just kicked off on Sunday evening just outside the Polish capital Warsaw. 

After two years going virtual with a fully online program, an expanded SOFA returns and is excited to reveal a  new, larger line-up of 16 projects and 20 participants, composed of up-and-coming film industry executives,  curators, and cultural managers from 17 countries including Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, the Czech Republic,  Georgia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria,  Denmark, Bangladesh, Switzerland and Germany. In the opening session, participants agreed and  emphasized together that, given the fraught political situation in many of their countries, the need for  creative cooperation across borders between the Eastern Partnership countries and the EU is more important  now than ever. 

SOFA’s 2022-23 project selection includes business and institutional projects focused on environmental  activism, mental health in the film industry, film education, indigenous cultures, sustainability, inclusion and  accessibility, and the preservation of independent film journalism and criticism as well as remote learning. Projects are selected based on their quality and practicability in terms of evolving or strengthening the film  culture and industry in their countries of origin and should carry the ambition to foster structural change or  new forms of cooperation in the regional film landscape. Projects include Cinema Nutsa from documentary  filmmaker and 2021 Sundance/Berlinale alumna Salomé Jashi (Georgia), aiming to establish the very first  arthouse cinema in Tbilisi, the creation of a C.A.P. - Council for Audiovisual Production in Azerbaijan by Gunel  Gadirova, Sane Cinema from Louise Højgaard Johansen (Denmark/Czech Republic), an international  consultancy focusing on mental health in the film industry and developing tools for organisations & individuals.  As well as Warszawa\Praga Studio, a digital media & video production facility connected to the redevelopment  of a gritty neighbourhood in Warsaw, and MoreFilm.Fun by Olga Zhurzhenko and Sia Titova (Ukraine/Poland),  a distribution company focused on children’s content. 

SOFA’s intensive one year program, comprised of three focused workshops complimented by regular virtual  sessions, aims to support, nurture, and bring to fruition the “dream projects” of the participants, who apply  with a specific project plan in the fields of distribution, education, funding, exhibition, curation, or criticism. The projects are then tracked over the course of the year, with each of the intensive workshops focusing on  project development, marketing strategies, as well as financing and business plans. 

SOFA Director Nikolaj Nikitin said about the specific focus of this year’s edition: “Projects supporting activism,  free expression or the establishment of institutions that help evolving pan-regional cultural industries are highly  valued by SOFA this year. In challenging times, together with the development of new companies and  independent institutions, it’s a clear priority to support projects that conceive of film and AV-Media as a force  for free speech, resistance and strengthening through our common work the civil society.” 

Unlike most pan-European professional training programs, SOFA isn’t geared specifically towards filmmakers,  producers or directors. But by connecting aspiring young executives to international experts as well as to each  other with an eye towards the East, SOFA aims to strengthen networks and mutual understanding between  the future decision makers who can determine the shape of the economic and cultural landscape of film in  their home countries. “The heart of SOFA is to nurture and connect the human infrastructure that can support 

a positive, cooperative impact of a film industry and culture across Europe and further.” added Berenika  Partum, SOFA Project Manager (Poland/Hungary).

SOFA experts are established and influential decision makers selected to fit participants’ specific projects  including Ewa Puszczyńska (Poland), producer of COLD WAR and IDA, Tine Klint (Denmark), founder of sales  agent and aggregator LevelK, Jan Naszewski (Poland) of New Europe Film Sales, Iza Kiszka-Hoflik IKH Pictures  Production (Poland), Michal Bregant (Czech Republic), CEO of Národní filmový archiv, Prague, and President  of ACE - Association des Cinémathèques Européennes, Karel Och (Czech Republic), Artistic Director of Karlovy  Vary International Film Festival, Marit Van Den Elshout (The Netherlands), former Head of IFFR Pro, Jay Rinsky (US), who runs LITTLE CINEMA, producer Peter Rommel (Germany) and former head of the Israel Film Fund  Katriel Schory

Since its first edition in 2013, SOFA has supported the projects and careers of 60 entrepreneurs from 21  countries. SOFA alumni include Jan Naszewski, founder and CEO of New Europe Film Sales, sales agent and  distributor Viki Antonopolou, founder of Athens based Endorphin Film Sales, SYSTEM CRASHER producer Jonas  Weydemann, and Terezie Kriskovska (founder of NaFilM – National Film Museum in Prague)  

The new edition’s support for Ukrainian projects also reflects a commitment made since the outbreak of the  war. In May 2022, SOFA had already curated and animated a week-long open online workshop for Ukrainian  film professionals, open to previous alumni of the programme as well as any creatives or entrepreneurs from  Ukraine with a structural project in the film or audio-visual industries. The workshop emphasized specific  recommendations for funding programs and support schemes to allow Ukrainian professionals to continue their  work in cultural fields. It also touched on possibilities and support for settling into new countries and their  industries, navigating bureaucratic challenges, as well as methods and strategies for continued project  development amidst the threatening landscape of the invasion. 

The 2022-23 SOFA Participants are: 

- Leonid Kalitenya and Natalia Bruzhnik (Belarus / Lithuania) with the project: BFN - Belarussian Filmmakers Network 

- Dániel Botos and Máté Körösi (Hungary) with the project: CinemaJam 

- Bibesh Roy and Arifur Rahman Khan (Bangladesh) with the project: TALKIES – A Cinematic Pleasure - Olga Zhurzhenko and Sia Titova (Ukraine / Poland) with the project: MoreFilm.Fun - Pavel Ruzyak (Czech Republic) with the project: Filming without Barriers 

- Gunel Gadirova (Azerbaijan) with the project: Council for Audiovisual Production 

- Salomé Jashi (Georgia) with the project: Cinema Nutsa 

- Grzegorz Czyż (Poland) with the project: Warszawa\Praga Studio 

- Louise Højgaard Johansen (Denmark/ Czech Republic) with the project: Sane Cinema - Elena Rubashevska (Ukraine / Poland) with the project: IFCH – International Film Critics Hub - Teimuraz Chkhvimiani (Georgia) with the project: Deli Residency at Svaneti IFF 

- Joanna Wyrwa (Poland) with the project: Film for Better 

- Nadejda Koseva (Bulgaria) with the project: CITE - Cinema International Teenage Education - Aleksandar Arsovski (North Macedonia / Croatia) with the project: Short Fits - Film Market - Danijela Radulović (Montenegro) with the project: PROFILMIA LAB - Virtual Film Lab - Anja Mayer (Germany / Switzerland) with the project: My Remote Knowledge Guide 

SOFA is a project developed by Filmplus gUG (Berlin/Germany) in partnership with the ARTUM Foundation  ewa partum museum (Deby/Poland) and 20 Steps (Tbilisi/Georgia), supported by the German Federal Foreign  Office / Civil Society Cooperation, the European Cultural Foundation and SdpZ (Foundation for Polish-German  cooperation). The Warsaw workshop is additionally supported by the Polish Film Institute (PISF) and Mazowia  Film Commission. SOFA wants to thank its strategic partners EAVE, Goethe-Institut and Midpoint. SOFA’s  second workshop will be held online from November 29 until December 2, 2022. The third workshop is  scheduled for April 24 – April 28, 2023 in Georgia.

On September 15 2022, the head of the Romanian film fund (hereafter referred to by its Romanian acronym, CNC), Ms Anca Mitran, gave an interview in which she positions the CNC in conflict with Romanian filmmakers, rather than as a supporter and ally of local film productions.

Festival Regulations

1. Sofia International Film Festival (Sofia IFF) is the biggest competitive film festival in Bulgaria, accredited by FIAPF. The festival is presenting the best of the world contemporary cinema, including works of masters, discoveries and retrospectives.

The 27th Sofia IFF will be held from 16th to 26th of March 2023 (main programme) with an additional programme until the beginning of April.

2. The programme of the 27th Sofia IFF includes the following sections:
- International Competition for First or Second Feature Films
- Balkan Competition
- International Documentary Competition
- Bulgarian Short Films Competition
- Cinema Today – Masters
- Kaleidoscope
- Special Screenings
- New Bulgarian Cinema
- Documentary Programme – out of competition
- VR Screenings (by invitations only)
- Tributes and Retrospectives
- Cinema Gourmet
- Cinema and Fashion
- SFF Nature
- SFF Teen
- SFF for Kids
- SFF for Blind People
- Special Events

3. Film Submissions are accepted for the following sections:

* Competitive programme:
   - International Competition – first or second feature fiction films of the directors, produced after January 1st 2022, worldwide.
   - Balkan Competition – regional feature fiction films from Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey), produced after January 1st 2022.
   - International Documentary Competition – feature documentaries over 60’, worldwide, produced after January 1st 2022.
   - Bulgarian Short Films Competition – Bulgarian short films produced after January 1st 2022 with length no longer than 30 minutes.
* Non-competitive programme:
   - Feature fiction films and documentaries from all over the world produced after January 1st 2022.

4. Deadline for submissions
Deadline for foreign entries:

Early Bird – October 15th, 2022
Regular – November 15th, 2022
Deadline for Bulgarian features: December 1st, 2022
Deadline for Bulgarian short films: December 1st, 2022

The films are selected by programme board, advisors and selection committees.
Selection committee will choose twelve shorts competing for Best Bulgarian Short Film Award. Selection committee will choose the films competing in the Documentary Competition.
The selection committees are chosen by the festival management.

The final programme will be announced at the end of January 2023.

5. Online submission form is available on the festival’s Eventival visitors page.

6. Links and passwords to online screeners to be sent with the Film Submission form. The submitters can also send the links and password via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

7. NB! The festival requests submission fee as follows:

Early bird – 25 EUR for submission of a foreign feature film until October 15th.
Regular – 35 EUR for submission of a foreign feature film from October 15th until November 15th.

The film will be considered for the festival selection only after the submission fee is duly paid. The submission fee is not refundable once it has been paid.

8. Film Formats
    • For selection purposes: secured online screener (valid at least three months after the submission deadline).
    • Accepted screening formats for the selected films: DCP; Blu-ray and HD file on exceptional occasions.
    • Screeners of the selected films for translation should be sent to the festival until January 15th, 2023 The screening formats should reach the Festival before February 1st, 2023.

9. Sofia IFF will cover all costs connected with the transportation of prints of the films selected for the Competitive sections to Sofia and back to the address given by the producer in case the film does not have outbound destination. Sofia IFF will cover inbound shipment of the prints of films shared with other festivals. Sofia IFF will cover all the expenses connected with the storage and insurance of the films during the Festival.

10. Sofia IFF invites representative of the films in the International Competition and Balkan Competition. All conditions for the festival guests are included in their personal invitations. If conditions do not allow presence of guests in Sofia, SIFF will organize online introductions & Q&As with the talents.

11. The festival does not pay screening fees for the films in the competitive sections.

12. Festival Juries and Awards

International Jury of five members will decide upon 12 films in the International Competition and 12 films in the Bulgarian Short Film Award Competition and will award the following prizes:
- Sofia City of Film Grand Prix for Best Film in the International Competition (goes to the director and producer of the film);
- Special Jury Award for film in the International Competition (goes to the director of the film);
- Award for Best Director (goes to the director of the film);
- Best Bulgarian Short Film Award (goes to the director of the film);

Balkan Jury of three members will decide the Award for Best Balkan Film (goes to the director of the film);

International Documentary Jury of three members will decide the Award for Best Documentary Film;

Best Bulgarian Film Jury of three members of representatives of international film festivals will decide the Award for Best Bulgarian Feature Film;

FIPRESCI will appoint a jury of 3 members to decide the award for a film, selected from a special list of films published in the festival catalogue and on the festival website (goes to the director of the film);

The Audience will vote for its preferable film from the International and Balkan Competition;

Young Jury will present an award to a film from the International Competition.

13. Accreditation requests will be open from February 1st, 2023 until March 10th, 2023.

14. Participation in the Sofia IFF shall presume observation of all articles of the present Regulations. The festival director has the right to settle all cases and issues not covered by these Regulations.

15. For additional information please check the festival website  or contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..