What does this mean for Sofia?
Being a part of the international UNESCO Creative Cities Network means that our city can:
- broaden the national film organisation network for Bulgaria, encourage an exchange of good practice, ideas and expertise
- implement new activities to support the creative sector’s small and medium-sized enterprises to create new jobs, particularly for young people
- develop student training programs within the cultural field, with a particular focus on film and production skills
What makes Sofia a City of Film?
Film festivals are held annually in Sofia, with the support of Sofia Municipality programs. The Sofia International Film Festival is the biggest festival in Bulgaria, renowned for its Sofia Meetings pitching forum. The international book & film festival, Cinelibri and, Master of Art, a festival for documentaries on art, are the first of their kind. Block cinema and In the Palace showcase independent and short films in non-traditional venues.
Sofia systematically supports the creative industries. The team supporting the film sector within the city's cultural programme supports original documentary productions with international cooperation. Sofia Creative City of Film finances interdisciplinary projects, fostering audience diversity and connections between education and cinema. City-wide cultural events and projects contribute to the cultural strategies of the city.
A number of film productions are shot in Sofia every year, thanks to the many favorable locations, professional creative and technical crews, the film and production infrastructure. Sofia is also home to one of the biggest studios in Central and South-East Europe. The City of Sofia and its Film commission provides operational and logistic support to film and TVC productions, adding to a user-friendly environment for film production.
Sofia pays special attention to fostering cross-cutting and multi-genres events and activities, particularly involving educational activities and emphasis on protection of the environment. One such event is the Cinelibri Festival, combining film and literature into a colourful combination of two artforms, offering educational events, literary presentations, panel discussions, workshops, masterclasses and industry meetings.
Film education is a major part of Sofia City of Film’s current activities. For example, CinEd is a new online platform which aims to facilitate cinema education for young people across Europe and help them discover European cinema. Sofia is home of the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts, a unique educational, creative and scientific center. At the New Bulgarian University, the Department of Cinema, Advertising and Show Business brings together artists and scholars in the fields of production, film and TV, animation and more.
Sofia is determined to continue supporting the creative industries and film sector, and to ensure the sustainability of film festivals and city-wide initiatives. Ongoing efforts work to ensure citizens and visitors to Sofia have access to the finest examples of world cinema, art house film and creative documentary, with the City of Film working in cooperation with local and civil government officials, and public and private corporations. In 2020, the city opened a number of outdoor locations to encourage new audiences to engage with cinema outside traditional cultural venues.
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