US Foundation Launches 7th Edition of Sofia Student Film Fest

Culture | November 19, 2011, Saturday // 15:27|  views

The poster for the 7th edition of the International Student Film Festival "Early Bird." Photo by AFB

The 7th edition of the International Student Film Festival "Early Bird," opened Friday evening at the National Academy for Theater and Film Art (NATFA) in Sofia.

The festival for short films will be held between November 18th and 25th. 71 films from Bulgaria, Belgium, England, Germany, Romania, Turkey, Serbia and Croatia will be shown between November 19 and 22at the NATFA movie theater and in the adjacent K.E.V.A hall and coffee shop in Bulgaria's capital.

Outside of the competition program, there will be master classes, lectures, and meetings with prominent filmmakers, which will be held at the Student Drama Theater at NATFA, as well as a two-hour program of student films from France's European Independent Film Fest ECU

Admission is free for all college students.

Special guests include Bulgarian star actor, Asen Blatechki, well-known Bulgarian director, Victor Chuchkov, and Scott Hiller - Oscar winner for documentary in 2009.

The festival is organized and sponsored by the American Foundation for Bulgaria (AFB). The 2011 prize fund is USD 4 100.

During the opening night of the 7th edition of the festival, the award-winning short films from the previous editions were shown to the audience, who gathered inside the NATFA building, anticipating the event.

The international jury has 5 members with one of them being the student, winner of the Grand Award during the previous edition of the festival. The Chair of the jury this year is young Croatian director and 2010 Grand Award winner, Matia Vukshich. Members include the ECU General Manager, Kadi Lokk, British film director, Ruaridh Webster, Bulgarian animation artist, Radostina Neykova, and Bulgarian producer, Nataly Vasileva, who is currently working on the hit TV series "Glass Home." The jury is required to keep their decisions secret until the very end of the festival. The awards are bestowed during a special ceremony after the last film showing.

"The quality level of Bulgarian films is very close to the western ones. The awards of the international jury are a testimony for that – half of them go to Bulgarian filmmakers and the growing number of participants is in no way at the expense of quality," Stanislava Kotseva, organizer of the event for AFB, says, pointing out the fest also has a strong contribution to education in filmmaking with its lectures and master classes.

"Early Bird" is a festival for students enrolled in film academies, who wish to present their work before colleagues and the European audience, to share their knowledge and doubts, and challenge the world. The festival – the only Bulgarian student film forum gives the audience the opportunity to take a closer look at the art, viewpoints and the aesthetics of young filmmakers and to the participants and their teachers. It is a unique place to exchange ideas and experiences.

The festival is open for international participants under the conditions they have not yet graduated from college and the films (movies, documentaries, and animation) are 90 minutes or shorter, have English subtitles, and are on Beta SP (DVD).

The organizers are paying travel and accommodation for all foreign participants for the entire duration of the festival.

The 1st Student Short Film Festival "Early Bird" took place on May 25, 2005, in the "Sofia Cinema "Center." Students from the South-West University "Neofit Rilski," The National Academy for Theater and Film Art (NATFA), and the New Bulgarian University participated in the first edition of the film fest.

The 2nd Students' Film Festival already had international participation.

In 2007, the third edition of the fest included student films from Romania, Turkey, Greece, Serbia and Croatia. Ronald Harwood, the 2003 Oscar winner of the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the movie The Pianist, was a guest of the festival.

Since 2007, the festival also includes participants – students and lecturers from film academies across Southeastern Europe, and the festival became the reason for the establishment of the Association of Film Academies in Southeastern Europe.

The showing of films produced by college students in the US was launched in 2009.

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Tags: Early Bird, Student Film Festival, AFB, NATFA, short film


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