The fifth edition of the International Book&Movie Festival CineLibri was held in Sofia and another 7 Bulgarian cities between 05 and 20 October 2019. Over 30 000 spectators watched the 55 feature films, most of which national premieres, from the competition and parallel program. With numerous pre-sold screenings which provided full halls, satisfied audiences of different generations and unprecedented success, CineLibri has become one of the beloved annual events and is already an indispensable factor in the Bulgarian cultural life. The special guests and celebrities from all over the Europe also contributed to this stunning success and to the international coverage of the festival events.
On October 5, the Grand Opening of CineLibri took place in Sofia, Bulgaria. Spectacular space performance with the special participation of Mila Robert, Denis Popstoev and Georgi Peev “transferred” the audience in the “fifth dimension”, that is the dimension of culture, art and spirituality. The opening ceremony was followed by premiere screening of the movie “An Officer and a Spy” (J’accuse), directed by Roman Polanski. Crowned with the Venice Grand Jury Prize and the FIPRESCI Prize, the 2013 adaptation of the splendent Robert Harris bestseller has been acclaimed by critics as a “masterclass in making a historical film.” The great casting in the face of Jean Dujardin, Louis Garrel, Melvil Poupaud, Mathieu Amalric, Vincent Perez and Emmanuelle Seigner, manages to convey the film messages regarding the Dreyfus affair from the end of the XIX century. The screening at CineLibri was the first release of the film after its official premiere at the 76-Venice International Film Festival, and it was held in Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture before over 3000 spectators.
The competition programme consisted of 11 film productions and co-productions, including The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (2019), an acclaimed “tropical melodrama” directed by Karim Aïnouz, and 5 Is the Perfect Number (2019), an adorable Italian drama-thriller based on the namesake graphic novel by Igort. Some of the movies had already been awarded prestigious prizes at movie festivals all over the world. A reputable jury consisting of Christopher Lambert, the glorious actor, David Lagercrantz, the popular Swedish writer and journalist, Radu Mihaileanu, the acclaimed French director, Loredana Cannata, the beloved Italian actress and director, and Irini Jambonas, the talented Bulgarian theatre and movie star, identified the three most original and “visionary” interpretations of literary works in the language of cinema. Christopher Lambert, in his capacity of jury’s president, bestowed the grand prize for the best literary adaptation, accompanied by an exquisite statuette, to the cinematic masterpiece of South Korea and Japan Burning (2018) adapted from the short story Burning Barn by the Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The awards ceremony was followed by a premiere screening of the darkly amusing psychological drama Who You Think I Am directed by Safy Nebbou, featuring one of the grande dames of French cinema – Juliette Binoche.
The audience of CineLibri 2019 met eminent writers, screenwriters, directors, actors and producers. Among them was the Anerican writer and LGBT activist Garrard Conley, the author of the book Boy Erased which has been adapted into a touching movie, directed by Joel Edgerton. The renowned Spanish writer and screenwriter Lorenzo Silva, author of the novel The Weakness of the Bolshevik, arrived in Sofia too, in order to present the eponymous film adaptation. Among the special guests of the festival was the “Israeli Faulkner” – award-winning writer, essayist and playwright A. B. Yehoshua, who presented in person his novel A Woman in Jerusalem and shared his opinion on its critically acclaimed screen version, titled The Human Resources Manager. Rita Azevedo Gomes, screenwriter and director of The Portuguese, opened the premiere screening of this magnificent historical drama based on Robert Musil’s short novel. Other honorary guests at this year’s festival edition were the renowned Swedish director Daniel Alfredson (The Girl Who Played with the Fire) and the American producer Rick Dugdale. They presented their joint project, the movie INTRIGO: The Death of an Author, obsessive thriller for guilt and revenge, inspired by the magnum opus by Håkan Nesser.
Within CineLibri 2019 the First Short Film Competition was realized. The jury was presented by Ivan Moskov (chairman), Maria Arangelova and Nikolay Mutafchiev. “Concert for a Clarinet and Orchestra” (2018) directed by Maxim Petrov, an adaptation of the story “Another Short Love Story” by Lyudmil Stanev, won the Grand Prize for Short Film inspired by work of literature. The special jury award went to the film “The Grandson of the Woman-Eater” (2019) directed by Desislava Nikolova-Besedin, an adaptation of the eponymous story by Yordanka Beleva. The movie “Over Things” (2019), directed by Ina Nikolova, won the TatraTea Special Award.
Another significant emphasis in the festival parallel programme this year was the first international Screenwriting Workshop based exclusively on outstanding underlying materials such as novels, novellas, short stories, plays and true stories. It was a great opportunity for young screenwriters and directors, coming from across the Europe, to spend time with the famous experts and lecturers Linda Seger and Julian Friedmann. Held in Sofia between 15-16 October, the workshop received entirely positive feedback and appraisals from both the participants and lecturers.