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‘Father’ is best at Sofia film fest

Event offered 90 features, 40 docs, 60 shorts

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Good luck proved in ample supply in Bulgaria Saturday, as the 13th Sofia fest came off without a hitch despite major economic jitters roiling Eastern Europe.

Dror Zahavi’s Israeli-German family drama “For My Father” scored the film kudo, while Bulgarian neo-noir “Zift” took the Kodak and jury prizes.

Turkish helmer Ozcan Alper won for director for his atmospheric tale of confronting death, “Autumn.” Pic, a German-Turkish co-production, illustrated the form most successful features from the cash-strapped Balkans take these days.

Jameson short pic award went to animated fairytale “Three Sisters and Ahdrey” by veteran Bulgarian documakers Andrey Paunov and Boris Despodov.

Balkan film section, which screened a wide variety of the region’s best shorts and features, honored Turkish/Netherlands/U.K. war romancer “My Marlon and Brando” by Hueseyin Karabey.

Docu kudo, a new category for Sofia, went to Czech pic “Rene,” an account of a decade with career criminal and writer of pic’s title by Helena Trestikova.

Japanese struggling artist story “Achilles and the Tortoise” by Takeshi Kitano took home aud kudo as fest wrapped in Sofia’s ornate 19th-century Military Club, with three regional fest directors, all named Stefan, jamming on rock guitars. Guests including Wim Wenders and producer Jim Stark took to the floor. Fest honoree and former Monty Python perf Michael Palin apparently turned in early.

Fest opened March 5 with Georgy Djulgerov’s “The Billy Goat.” Wenders’ “Palermo Shooting” was the closing night film, with 90 features, 40 docs and 60 shorts unspooling at the event.

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