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‘Garpastum’ wins Sofia fest

'Landscape' gets special mention due to auds

“Garpastum” by Russian helmer Aleksei German Jr nabbed the best film nod at the the 10th Sofia International Film Festival. Bosnian comedy “Skies Above the Landscape” received a special mention after exuberant audience reactions after its world preem at the fest.

The hard-hitting yet lyrical drama “Lady Zee” nabbed the best Bulgarian film Kodak Award and also the Fipresci Award.

Bulgarian helmers Nikolai Volev and Rangel Valchanov as well as Alan Parker, Volker Schloendorff and Vanessa Redgrave received lifetime achievement awards. While Redgrave was unable to attend, both Parker and Schloendorff made down to Sofia.

Schloendorff combined the trip with a recce for his next film “Pope Joan” about a legendary female pope, who was supposed to have lived during the 8th century. The Teuton helmer hopes to shoot the English-language pic in Bulgaria this summer though he’s yet to find a female star to take the pontifical lead.

Yet again, the fest proved to be an excellent networking spot for those seeking co-production partners in the Central Europe and Balkan region. The Sofia co-production meetings and the festival itself were attended by a number of Eurimage and subsidy officials including Maciej Karpinski from the newly found Polish Film Institute and Manfred Schmidt from German subsidy board MDM, which frequently invests into co-productions with Central and Eastern Europe.

Others getting into the Balkan swing were German indie producer Karl Baumgaertner, who frequently co-produces in the region, as well as Austria ORF film commissioner Heinrich Ambrosch.