Cinelibri 2018, the latest edition of the International Book&Movie Festival, was held in Sofia and another 10 Bulgarian cities between 10 and 24 October. Several preeminent creators with outstanding achievements in the field of cinema, literature and screenwriting visited Bulgaria on the invitation of CineLibri. Forty-nine full-length feature films and documentaries were screened, including contemporary productions, biographical dramas, film retrospections and classic movies, which represent some of the most skillful literary adaptations for the past year. Most of the contemporary films were national premieres.
The official opening ceremony took place on 10 October in Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture in the presence of Ian McEwan, one of the most powerful voices of postmodern prose. Jacqueline Wagenstein, founder and director of the festival, awarded Mr. McEwan the honorary “CineLibri” prize for his invaluable contribution to the art of literary adaptation. The audience attended a premiere screening of „On Chesil Beach“, opened by Ian McEwan himself. The British drama film directed by Dominic Cooke (feature directorial debut) was written by McEwan, who adapted his own 2007 Booker Prize-nominated novella of the same name. The ceremony was crowned by a spectacular visual performance, symbolizing the interaction of arts (created by Polyform Studio; dance and choreography by Dorina Puncheva and Tsvetan Apostolov).
CineLibri 2018 competition program showed a sublime selection of nine film productions and co-productions based on literature works and completed in the last year or two. Some of them had already been awarded prestigious prizes at movie festivals all over the world. In 2018, for the first time a Bulgarian film was selected in the competition program – it’s about the omnibus movie “8 minutes and 19 seconds”, based on short stories by Georgi Gospodinov.
A reputable international jury including Herman Koch (acclaimed Dutch writer and producer), David Foenkinos (internationally recognized French author, screenwriter and director), Michael McKell (popular British actor, singer and composer), Andy Deliana (well-thought-of producer and director), and Martichka Bozhilova in her capacity of president (film producer and co-producer of the “Golden Berlin Bear” Award winner “Touch Me Not” (2018)) bestowed the “CineLibri” distinction for best adaptation of the year on the film “See You Up There” (Au revoir là-haut) at a lovely ceremony in Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture on October 16th. The poignant dark comedy directed by Albert Dupontel is an amazing adaptation of the Goncourt Prize-winning novel of the same name written by the French author Pierre Lemaitre. The official ceremony handled in the biggest movie hall on the Balkans was followed by the long-awaited screening of the epic film journey “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” directed by the legendary Terry Gilliam.
Cinelibri 2018 paid special attention to the most exciting and quality bio pictures made during the last year or two, since the stories of the great writers are always very interesting. Among them were “Promise at Dawn” (La promesse de l’aube), an adaptation of Romain Gary’s autobiographical novel directed by Eric Barbier; “Becoming Astrid” (Unga Astrid) – biopic of Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, the author of numerous children’s books and creator of Pippi Longstocking, directed by Pernille Fischer Christensen; “The Happy Prince” – biopic about Oscar Wilde with Rupert Everett in the leading role, directed by Everett himself; “Mary Shelley” – a gothic tale of the tempestuous life of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, the “mother” of Frankenstein, directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour; “Colette” – a nuanced portrayal of a headstrong woman whose literary works are illustration of the superb French belles-lettres. The film is directed by Wash Westmoreland.
On October 13th, CineLibri celebrated the 100–year jubilee of the world-famous filmmaker, legendary theatre director and exceptional writer Ingmar Bergman. On this occasion, the documentary film “Liv Ullmann. The House of Memories” was presented by the director Georgi Toshev, accompanied by music from the Swedish director’s masterpieces, performed live by Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra.
A special emphasis within the parallel festival program were the meetings with the notable French director and screenwriter Benoît Jacquot who presented in Sofia his latest literary adaptation “Eva” with Isabelle Huppert. Besides, Bulgaria welcomed the high-profile Israeli author Dror Mishani who presented in Sofia and Plovdiv his debut novel “The Missing File” shortlisted for the 2013 CWA International Dagger, and its film adaptation “Black Tide” directed by Erick Zonca. Another special event of the parallel program was the original photo exhibition “Love between the Lines”, signifying the symbiosis between literature and cinema.