The eigth edition of CineLibri International Book-to-Film Festival (CineLibri IFF), which annually selects and shows the most original adaptations of literary works, was held between October 8-30 in Sofia and six other cities in Bulgaria – Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Veliko Tarnovo, Gabrovo and Stara Zagora, under the motto “Time Regained” on the occasion of 100 years since the death of Marcel Proust, one of the icons of literary modernism, author of the monumental novel “In Search of Lost Time”. “Time Regained” is the title of the seventh, last volume of this majestic verbal cathedral.
The grand opening ceremony took place on October 8th in Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture in Sofia and was crowned with a spectacular dance performance created by Kosta Karakashyan. After that Jacqueline Wagenstein, director and chief selector of the festival, took the stage in order to welcome the audience and all special guests. The highlight of the evening was the pre-premiere screening of Theodore Ushev’s debut feature film “φ1.618” in the presence of the production team. The film is a captivating dystopian adventure based on Vladislav Todorov’s novel “Whirligig”.
Various notions and ideas connected with time and its dimensions, had their reflections in the uncompromising film program of CineLibri, containing 60 remarkable literary adaptations of the past year. It comprised several modules named as follows: Veni, vidi, vici; Omnia vincit amor; Amor Fati; Ars Longa; Carpe diem; In vino veritas; Cogito ergo sum; Placere et docere; Ad infinitum; Homo homini lupus; Vade-mecum; Fabula Brevis. Viewers had the opportunity to choose from three international competition sections (full-length feature films, documentaries, short films) and more than 30 side events. For the first time this year, a competition for costume design in Bulgarian cinema was held within the festival program. The award, determined entirely by the audience’s vote, went to Velika Prahova, costume designer of Theodore Ushev’s film “φ1.618”.
International full-length feature film competition program encompassed 10 titles. Among them was the comedy “The Innocent” directed by Louis Garrel which won the CineLibri Best Literary Adaptation Award 2022. The esteemed Jury of the feature film competition this year was presented by: Olivier Bourdeaut – French writer who presented in Sofia his bestsellers “Waiting for Bojangles” and “Florida”; Amanda Sthers – French novelist, playwright, screenwriter and filmmaker who presented in Sofia her film “Promises” based on a novel of her own; Yassmin Pucci – Italian film and theater actress; Mario Grigorov – world-renowned film composer and pianist born in Bulgaria. The prominent Bulgarian director Kamen Kalev presided the Jury.
Apart from the members of the Jury, who personally announced the winners of this year’s awards, several other amazing creators arrived in Sofia for “live” presentations of their films and books; Maggie Peren – talented German director, writer and actress who presented in Sofia her film The Forger based on true events. It depicts the story of Cioma Schönhaus, a young Jewish man who discovers his skill in forging documents; Colm Bairéad – Irish director and screenwriter who presented his acclaimed film The Quiet Girl, Elitza Gueorgieva – Bulgarian director and writer who lives and works in Paris; Aliona Gloukhova – young writer, journalist and translator born in Minsk (Belarus); Jean-Philippe Daguerre – French theater and film actor and director who presented in Sofia the film “Farewell, Mr. Haffmann” based on a play authored by him; Samuel Finzi – famous German actor born in Bulgaria, who plays one of the key roles in the film “January” directed by Andrey Paounov.
Except the opening ceremony on October 8th, another impressive film premiere in Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture in Sofia took place on October 21, immediately after the awarding ceremony. It is about the psychological drama “The Son” directed by the world-famous playwright Florian Zeller, nominated for the “Golden Lion”. In October 2022, for the first time within CineLibri, a documentary film competition was held, containing selection of five titles including the films: Milan Kundera: From The Joke to Insignificance – the only documentary about Milan Kundera’s legacy, and The Adventures of Saul Bellow which delves into the relationship between the life of the controversial author and his works. The film for Bellow was awarded the grand prize by the Jury presented by Bulgarian directors, producers and short film experts: Kostadin Bonev, Katerina Lambrinova, Asen Vladimirov.
Traditionally, the parallel program comprised a series of Gala Evenings of different cultures. Supported by the embassies and cultural institutes of the respective countries, these events brought together film experts, literary critics and diplomats of Denmark, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Japan. As part of the educational module, a two-day lecture course on the topic “From the Idea to the Big Screen” took place, with two lecturers: Alexander Chobanov, a screenwriter and writer, and Vladimir Todorov, an artist and illustrator with many years of experience in feature and animation cinema and a number of international successes. The course was intended for students and young professionals in the field of cinema and screenwriting.