10 films will compete for “Domaine Boyar” Award in Sofia Film Fest's Balkan Competition

    Ten Films will be competing for the Balkan Prize during the 18th Sofia International Film Festival, kindly provided, as tradition serves by “Domaine Boyar”

    “The Priest's Children” (Croatia and Serbia, 2013) by Vinko Bresan is a pleasant and light comedy- a sincere cinema experience, played out in a fantastic manner, while in the same time beautifully captured by camera as the story lingers in the playful irony of the plot.
    Marked by specific scenes of spiritual confessions, the film tells the story of how Priest Fabijan (Kresimir Mikic) ends up ill in bed. He begins to think about his ministry as a holy counselor when he used to be on the picturesque island Dnevnik, where funerals would outnumber births. The priest is suddenly struck by a brilliant idea how to increase birth when he hears a confession from the seller Peter. The man confesses his story and shares about his religious wife who considers her husband a sinner for selling condoms. Fabijan then decides to delicately pierce the condoms, which Peter is about to sell. And in order to make this plan even more effective, Fabijan and Peter include in thier conspiracy a mentaly unstable pharmacist who is ready to replace birth control pills with plain old vitamins. Of course, birth does rise rapidly and soon Fabijan’s church is filled with pregnant brides.

    “The Priest's Children”, is a film that has gained a few international aknowledgements such as a nomination for ‘Crystal Globe’ from Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, 2013, as well as a nomination for best comedy at the European Film Awards the same year. The film has also won two awards one of which the ‘A Look at the Balkans Award’ at the Thessaloniki Film Festival in 2013 and the ‘Golden Arena’ for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Niksa Butijer) at the Pula Film Festival 2013.

    After going home with the Sofia Film Festival Prize in 2010 for his film “Uzak ihtimal” (2009), Turkish director Mahmut Fazil Coskun is once again participating in the Balkan Competition with his film “Yozgat Blues”, (coproduction between Turkey and Germany, 2013).  The story follows the unusual musical duet made up of the 58-year-old Yavuz and 30-year-old Nese. Yavuz sings popular songs typical for the 70s, but his career is outdated and on the line. The death of his wife has transformed him into a complete loner. Yavuz teaches free musical courses in the local municipality. Among his students is the 30-year-old Nese, who advertises meat products in the local supermarkets. She has a beautiful voice and shows great interest in music, yet due to her poor social status she is forced to support herself through other means. One day Yavuz learns about a club in Yozgat, a small forgotten town in Turkey, which is searching for musicians to play live music. The vacant place is open for a duet. Yavuz offers Nese to take the job and she accepts. How will the story develop in this new and unusual partnership? What will they find in this provincial town, which neither of them has ever seen before?

    The film has wins the FIPRESCI Prize at the Warsaw International Film Festival 2013. During the Istanbul International Film Festival 2013, the production is granted the award for Best Actor (Ercan Kesal) at the National Competition.

    In the words of his creator Igor Ivanov-Itsi, “The Piano Room”, Macedonia, 2013, presents the “nonsensical part of our lives or its meaning depicted throught the useless reality”. “I have always been excited about the theory that our whole lives are concentrated in during every single moment. And the more I am engaged in this type of art, the more I find theory exciting and that every film has a shot,” he says.
    This cinematographic story is about the faits of guests that have rented the piano room in a hotel which is to be sold. This room saves them from the hypocrasy of the outside world and the only place where they can find comfort in, is this room. Even though they are completely different from one another, coming from different social and cultural groups, the guests share the same emptiness that have overcome their lives.

    “Seduce Me”, Slovenia, 2013 by Marko Santic is a portrait of the contemporary baffled young generation, people who entirely lack parental and societal support. At the age of 10 Luka is abandoned by his mother and ends up in a children’s home. Nine years later he leaves the home and decides to go back and find his father’s grave. While on the journey to unravel his past, Luka learns that his father is not dead and actually has a new family of his own. The young man feels betrayed and the only comfort he can find is in the face of Ajda, who he meets at work. However, she does not want their relationship to deepen. Having been hurt in the past, Ajda has no faith in people and just like Luka, is hiding a family secret, which he is soon to find out about.

    “Roxanne”, Romania, 2013 is Valentin Hotea’s directoral debut, for which he recieves the nomination for ‘Golden Leopard - Filmmakers of the Present’ at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2013. The story takes place in 2009 in Bucharest. Twenty years after the Romanian Revolution Tavi Ionescu, a good-looking and pleasant, but not yet grown-up man around forty years of age, uncovers disturbing news in his secret personal files. He learns that his former girlfriend Roxana, whom about an year ago he had greeted with a famous song on the radio has just given birth to a baby boy and that he might be the biological father. He starts his own secret detective case. He enters the complexities of a difficult past, which reveals the ugly truth and messes up not only his but the lives of his close ones as well.

    The newest film by the famous Serbian director Goran Markovic “Falsifier”, (“Falsifikator”, Serbia- Bosnia and Herzegovina-Croatia, 2013), offers its viewers a picture of past times when Serbia used to be part of the Yugoslav Republic and Tito was the countiry’s leader. The story takes the audience to the end of the 1960s, a time when the idealistic notions were about to crumble. It was a time which lead to a fairer and more honest way of life after the Students’ Revolution in 1968 all over the globe and the beginning of the end of a not so much grand illusion to be called Yugoslavia. The hero in our story is Andjelko, played by Tihomir Stanic, who is the head master of a high school in a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He truly believes in Yugoslavia and its leader Josip Broz Tito. Andjelko is a good man, but has one serious flaw- he falsifies school diplomas. He doesn’t do it because of any personal interest but rather because he is a philanthropist. Unexpectedly, Andjelko is told off to the police by his neighbor, who wishes to take revenge on a veterinarian doctor with a false degree. Andjelko is forced to find another job and travels to the big city, where he lives illegally and mingles with criminals. One day however, he meets with an old classmate of his who happens to be a representative of the National Security Agency and… sends Andjelko to prison.

    “Trolling”, Serbia, 2013, by Kosta Djordjevic is a black comedy about three young people who are all in love with the innapropriate people. Djura finally decides to propose to a stripper in which he is in love.  Hana cannot accept the fact that her much older lover has left her. She does everything in her power to win him back again. And Relja is a high-school student, a good boy, which is in love with his best friend. One day he comes across a video, in which he sees his friend having sex so he starts searching for the other person from the video. All three characters are seeking attention, love and understanding, without thinking about the future. After a sequence of tragic and in the same time comic events, even absurd, their paths collide in a nightclub.

    “SaroyanLand”, France-Turkey-Armenia, 2013 by Turkish director Lusin Dink represents the travel of the American writer with Armenian blood William Saroyan to the lands of his ancestors in present-day Anatolia, eastern Turkey. William Saroyan’s parents are forced to leave their home in Bitlis and move to the United States in 1905. With the help of the famous Turkish author Yasar Kemal, Saroyan has to opportunity to visit Bitlis in 1964. The documentary drama reveals the anger, passion strife, empathy and William Saroyan’s love for people shown through the stories of his travel companions as well as his own. The script consists of interviews, reenactments of Saroyan’s stories combined with his own thoughts. Following this man’s journey, 40 years later, viewers are introduced to a man who in tracing of his ancestry ultimately finds himself.

    “Luton”, Greece-Gremany, 2013 by Michalis Konstantatos follows the lives of three people who at first glance have nothing in common. Jimmy is a 17-year-old high school student who is well off financially. Mary is a 30-year-old intern at a law firm. Makis is a 50-year-old man with a family and is the owner of a mini market. Even though all three have different lifestyles and interests, when everything seems so calm and predictable, the characters will find away to escape from everything.

    “The Last Black Sea Pirates” by director Svetoslav Stoyanov is the Bulgarian nomination to compete for the Balkan Competition Prize. The film has been written by Vanya Rainova and produced by Martichka Bozhilova. It has already won a few international acknowledgements such as the FIPRESCI Prize in Krakhov 2013; prestigious recognition from UnderhillFest, Montenegro 2013; The Big Prize for Best Documentary at the Erevan International Film Festival in 2013; Best documentary fil at the LET'S CEE Film Festival, Vienna 2013.

    The last black sea pirates live off suspicious sources of income on an isolated beach as they explore into life filled with alcohol abuse and plunging into testosterone adventures. For twenty years, Captain Jack ‘The Whale’ and his crew had been drinking, dreaming and hunting for a treasure buried in the gully of Karadere. But someone else has also learnt about Karadere's treasures. When the news of about the imminent treat appears the pirate’s remote oasis, begins to fall apart. Doubts overtake the foundations of trust, conflicts brew, and tensions are on the rise. In this crisis, a contemporary fairy tale about the treasures we hunt and those that we find, emerges.

    The Blakan Competition Award will be chosen from  the following jury members: Georgian director Kakha Kikabiedze, the festival’s director and programmer India Srinivasa Santhanam and the Bulgarian actor Stefan Shterev.

    Kakha Kikabidze (Kakhaber Kikabiedze) is a Georgian director, script writer, actor and producer. He was born in 1961 in Tbilisi, Georgia. He has created three films which have become reality – “Bichebi iasamnis quchidan” (1974), where he is also actor, “The Lake” (1998), presented in 26 countries, among which Bulgaria during the Sofia International Film Festival in 2001. The film holds a few international awards as well. “The Seventh Day” (2005) is a film in which Kakha Kikabiedze is a director and producer in the same time. Kikabiedze graduates from the philology department of the National University in Tbilisi in 1984. During the time between 1987 and 1989 he visits the professional courses for directors and script writers in Moscow, where he becomes a student of Vladimir Motyl. In 1989 he is invited by director Krzysztof Zanussi to work in Poland. From 1992 he is director of “Georgian Films Studios” and directs a few short films in the mean time.

    Srinivasa Santhanam was born in 1951 in India. He graduated the Institute for Cinema and Television Tamil Nadu. After a brief attempt at the South film industry, he begins work at the Indian Television in 1975. Santhanam joins the film department of the Indian Government (one of the largest world producers of documentary and news programmes) as a senior assistent in 1982. Between the years 1994 and 2008 he works as a deputy director of the Board of the fil festivals (IFFI) in India, as he has a place in all departments that are contributing to the festival. He is engaged in various events from organizing international film festivals with Indian participation, national film awards, participation in Indian panoramas at foregin festivals to programmes which incorporate cultural exchange practices and a selection of IFFI productions from 2003 to 2007.  

    In the years 2008 through 2014 Santhanam  works as a head programmer and selectioner at the Mumbai Film Festival (until 2012), he has worked as a programme director for the Pune Film Festival and up to present he is a consultant of the programme Chennai IFF, Lucknow Children IFF, Film Harvest IFF, as well as curator of some famous Indian forums and as a festival director of the first Chennai International Short Film Festival 2014.

    Stephan A. Shtereff was born in 1974 in the city of Sofia. He has graduated the experimental theatre at the class of “4ХС“ and he has performed numerous roles on stage as one of the most remembering of his acts is the lead role in “Hamlet or Three Boys and a Girl” by Shakespeare, Yan Kit and Heinrich Muller. One of his last successful roles in the theatre is in the play ”Illusions” by the young director Mladen Aleksiev on the “Sfumato Theathre” stage since 2013. Stefan Shterev studies the Applied Theatre Arts at the Plovdiv university “Paisii Hilendarski”. He specialises in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Novi Sad. In addition to being an actor and producer, he works in the theatre and film industry. Stefan A. Shterev is among the well-known  to the Bulgarian audience faces from popular Bulgarian television programmes. He has been famous for hosting the show “Falling Stars” on Bulgarian National Television (BNT) , “Lets’s Get the Dogs Barking” and “Nova Station” on Nova TV. The Bulgarian cinema fans know him from his feature film “Forecast” by Zornitsa Sophia, the short film “Take Two” by Nadejda Koseva, “July” by Iliya Kostov, “Mission London” by Dimitar Mitovski and many more. Stefan is among the organizers of the festival “Antistatic” and the Night of Theaters in Sofia.