Five projects receive awards at the 17th Sofia Meetings
- Films from Bulgaria, Switzerland, Spain, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have shared the prizes at this year’s online edition
Postponed from March, the 17th edition of Sofia Meetings, the co-production platform of the Sofia International Film Festival, was organised exclusively online from 3-8 July. A total of 37 feature projects were pitched or presented to an audience of interested producers. You can find the entire list of selected projects here.
The winner of the most valuable award at this edition, €25,000 in post-production services offered by Romania’s top post-production services company, Cinelab, was Svetla Tsotsorkova’s third feature-length project, Fortune-Teller (Bulgaria). The story follows a young Roma mother of three who becomes a popular (albeit fake) fortune-teller. The jury praised the project for “the way it tackles specific social practices and stereotypes from within the culture it portrays, while also proposing their universality”.
The Focusfox Award (comprising €10,000 in post-production services) went to Francesco Rizzi's Party for Shy People (Switzerland), which was described by the jury as “a very timely take on the dogma of self-promotion that we believe will make us laugh as much as give nightmares to the shy among us.” The film is set in the near future, when people are judged exclusively by their degree of extroversion and their self-promotional abilities, and shyness is seen as an illness that must be eradicated.
The Eastwest Filmdistribution Award (€5,000 in script consultancy by script doctor Steven Goldsmith) went to Antonio Morales’ Vampirism (Spain), which the jury described as “a unique blend of vampire horror and flamenco music, unfolding in an Andalusian desert village during the onset of the 1930s authoritarian regime”. In particular, they praised the project's “strong visual concept”.
The Yapimlab Young Producer Award, consisting of one week of project consultancy in Istanbul, went to Zulfikar Filandra's Shipbuilding (Bosnia and Herzegovina), which centres on a young man with aspirations to be a filmmaker, who is pushed into a crisis by his mother's death. Finally, the Villa Kult Berlinale Residency 2021 Award went to Zornitsa Sophia's 3 Kilograms of Happiness (Bulgaria), which follows what happens in a family when a 52-year-old woman decides to be a surrogate mother for her daughter, who is fighting infertility.
Besides the pitching sessions for three sections (Second Films, Plus Minus One, First Films First) and one-to-one meetings for a fourth section, Projects in Bank, the 17th Sofia Meetings also offered a plethora of presentations, one of them given by Cineuropa's one and only Domenico La Porta, whose “Story Structure and Empathy Characters. Why Does It Matter?” webinar provided practical tools and a hands-on method for fiction and documentary writers. Read more here.
Over Zoom, the edition offered practical meetings on how to write a project and on interactive storytelling, several virtual-reality panels, a presentation of the Série Series festival, a presentation of European training programmes (Torino Film Lab, ScripTeast, Less Is More, EAVE and First Films First), and also a panel on “MEDIA – Challenges of the New Times”, presented by four heads of local branches of the MEDIA programme.
Here is the full list of industry winners:
Eastwest Filmdistribution Award
Vampirism - Antonio Morales (Spain)
Producers: Jon Arrospide, Antonio Morales
Production company: Antonio Morales PC
Yapimlab Young Producer Award
Shipbuilding - Zulfikar Filandra (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Producer: Ishak Jalimam
Production company: Realstage
Villa Kult Berlinale Residency 2021
3 Kilograms of Happiness - Zornitsa Sophia (Bulgaria)
Producer: Zornitsa Sophia
Production company: MQ Pictures
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