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17th Sofia International Film Festival 2013: Balkan Competition
1 March 2013
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Beyond the Hill (a coproduction between Turkey and Greece, 2012) is a remarkable debut by the director Emin Alper. The film takes its viewers to a remote valley in rural Turkey. A father, accompanied by his two children goes to visit the grandfather who has gone out to graze his sheep. The tranquility of the summer day is interrupted by impostors, who are grazing their sheep at the exact same place. The whole atmosphere is drenched with the smell of threat as each side of the conflict stubbornly tries to defend their territory ... The film is a metaphor for the political situation in Turkey and the mirror image of modern man. Beyond The Hill is so strongly visually polished that it reminds the viewers of the language of Nuri Bilge Ceylan films. It creates a unique atmosphere and draws attention to the paradoxical situation, imbuing them with delicate irony. The film won several international awards - the Caligari Award for best film in Forum and an honorary diploma for best debut in Berlin ΄12; this production also won prizes for best film, screenplay and the FIPRESCI Prize (National Competition) in Istanbul ΄12; it also holds the Netpak award - Karlovy Vary ΄12, the Special Jury Prize in Sarajevo ΄12 and the award for best film in Palic ΄12.

Beyond The Hill 

In the film Everybody In Our Family (Romania 2012) Radu Jude produces an almost documentary style movie, through which he shows how fragile and often destructive relationships between family members could prove to be. He describes how manners and actions can be adopted by the offspring later in life - as are hair and eyes color. This family drama, disguised as a delightful black comedy, contemplates the startling naturalistic way in which the links between people are created. Everybody in our Family was awarded the prize for best film in Sarajevo ΄12, the Critics Award for Best Film in Philadelphia ΄12, the awards for best director, actor (Pavlu Serban) and a nomination for Best Art film at the Film Festival in 2012. Radu Jude is the director of the award-winning short film in the history of Romanian cinema - The Tube with a Hat. For his feature debut, The Happiest Girl in the World, which started as a project of Sofia Meetings won the awards C.I.C.A.E. at the Berlinale and the FIPRESCI Prize at Sofia International Film Festival.

Everybody In Our Family

The funny comedy by Tudor Giurgiu, Of Snails and Men (Romania, 2012) takes us back to 1992, when Romania, still naively ignorant, has to choose its unclear path after the fall of communism. Worried about the closing down of the factory in which they work, the personnel decide to sell their semen for $ 50 per person in order to redeem the company and to ensure their future wellbeing. In this story, the idea of ​​the collective destiny of the people, passes like a thread connecting the character’s individual stories; the dynamics and energy of the film are intertwined. Director Giurgiu, creator of the largest film festival in Romania - Transilvania International Film Festival, poises with ease between the actions of the various characters and teams, and through his visual style he manages to enhance its comic elements derived from juggling the personal and social responsibilities of the separate characters.

In the film Krivina, (a co-production between Canada and Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2012) a Canadian immigrant from Sarajevo, Igor Drljaca meets us with Miro, an immigrant from the former Yugoslav Republic, who lives in Toronto. Miro’s new life begins to unravel when he learns that his friend from before the war - Dado, who has been said to be missing for two decades, is now wanted for war crimes. Miro learns that Dado still visits a village on the outskirts of Sarajevo in Bosnia and goes to find him.

"While I was studying theater arts, I wanted to shoot a movie that spreads a sense of loss, along with the inability to continue to live your life normally. Following the war, many people fled the former Yugoslavia to seek new life in the West and they all know, as I do too, that feeling well", says the director, whose previous film The Fuse: Or How I Burned Simon Bolivar was chosen as one of the most top 10 Canadian short film titles in 2011 and was selected to participate in many festivals.

The past haunts pursued all the characters in the non-traditional moral parable of Srdan Golubovic called Circles (a coproduction between Serbia, France, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, 2013). The scenario which resembles concentric circles and the spectacular cinematography by Aleksandar Ilic, contribute greatly to the overall impact of the film. Circles begins with a flashback - the 1993 Serb was killed while trying to stop three fellow military officers in uniforms, who are beating a Muslim, named Harris. Twelve years later, the fiancée of the murdered Serb, asks Harris to help fight against this aggression of her current husband. In the same time the son of one of the murderers seeks employment from the father of the deceased Serb. The main culprit for the death of innocent Serb ends up in a hospital where he is to be operated by one of the victim΄s friends. Circles was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2013. The Bulgarian cinema audience knows Srdan Golubovic from his films Absolute Hundred and The Trap, which in 2007 won the Grand Prize in the International Competition of the 11th Sofia Film Festival.

In Araf / Somewhere in Between (a 2012 Turkey-France-Germany production) the Turkish director Yesim Ustaoglu introduces us to young and beautiful Zehra and Olgun who are working in a cafeteria at the station of an almost deserted highway. Everything about them seems unstable and changeable. The once important industrial area in which they lived, is a now run down and impersonal place with high unemployment reates. But Zehra, Olgun and their friends still live there - somewhere between the past and the uncertain future. In Araf / Somewhere in Between Neslihan Atagul was awarded the prize for Best Actress at the festival in Tokyo.

Araf / Somewhere In Between

In the film Cycle (Turkey, 2012), Dervis Zaim presents the traditional competition Hasanpasha shepherds in the village where the participants eagerly allow their sheep to pass through a huge puddle filled with water. The winner is the one who manages to quickly lead all the animals to the other side. Over the past eight years Takmaz is the shepherd who wins the race. This year, together with two young shepherds, Takmaz tries to find some red rock so that he can paint his herd for the next race...

L (Greece, 2012) is the feature debut of Babis Makridis. The protagonist is a 40-year-old man who lives in his car. The little spare time he has he spends it with his family. He meets with his wife and children at different parks on a particular day and time. His work is comprised of detecting the highest quality copper and delivering it to a 50-year-old man. One day, a new driver is hired and the man becomes redundant. Frustrated by the sudden turn of events, he decides to leave the car and change his life. But no one is ready to believe him.

Practical Guide to Belgrade with Crying and Singing (Serbia 2011), is the feature directorial debut of the Serbian screenwriter Bojan Vuletic. The film is a collection of small romantic comedies. It is filmed against during the period of modern pro-European Serbia. The production uses intelligent humor, insight and relentless irony, to show the love stories of four personal tales from present day Belgrade. 

Death of a Man in the Balkans (Serbia 2012) is an original low-budget film, loaded with sardonic dialogues which have been filmed in a single shot. "In this way I wanted to capture and convey the hyperrealism of the time and environment in which we live today," comments director Miroslav Momčilović. The story goes as follows- a lonely composer commits suicide in his apartment. The sound of the shot gathers all the neighbors. The law enforcement representatives however, fall into a traffic jam. The apartment has filled up with neighbors and strangers who decide to co kill some time and check out what has happened. Through diverse personages the director paints a nuanced picture of the "Balkan mentality" and human nature in general. The spectators watch what happens in the room in through a webcam situated on a tripod which the deceased has set up in the middle of the room before he took his own life your life.

Miroslav Momčilović is known to the Bulgarian audience as the writer of When I Grow up I Will Become a Kangaroo, which was among the favorites of the audience at SIFF ΄05 and was named best film of the festival in Motovun. Momčilović wrote and directed Seven and a Half, which has enjoyed a long festival life in Serbia and all around the world - Raindance, Thessaloniki and other places. His film Wait For Me and I Will Not Come won him the award for best director at Sofia Film Festival in 2010.

The Color of the Chameleon, directed by Emil Hristov is a Bulgarian film that will fight for the attention and authoritative international assessment of the jury.

  The Trap
  Practical Guide to Belgrade with Singing and Crying
  Beyond the Hills
  Beyond the Hill
  Death Of A Man In Balkans
  Of Snails and Men
  Everybody in Our Family
  Somewhere in Between
  The Color of the Chameleon
  Absolute Hundred
  An Episode In The Life Of An Iron Picker
  Emil Christov
  Srdan Golubovic
  Tudor Giurgiu
  Cristian Mungiu
  Bojan Vuletic
  Radu Jude
  Serban Pavlu
  Babis Makridis
  Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  Aleksandar Ilic
  Danis Tanovic
  Miroslav Momcilovic
  Yesim Ustaoglu
  Neslihan Atagul
  Dervis Zaim
  Igor Drljaca
  Transilvania International Film Festival
  31st Istanbul Film Festival awards
  Balkan Success at Cannes 2012
  Circles by Srdjan Golubovic awarded at Sundance Film Festival
  Balkan Films won the main and other prices at Berlinale!
  17th Sofia International Film Festival
  Sofia International Film Festival 2007 Awards
  Cannes 2012 Awards
  Tokyo Film Festival 2012 Awards
  Berlinale 2012 Awards
  Transilvania International Film Festival Official Site
  altcine Explore movies by Country People To read
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