On October 5, the grand opening of the fifth edition of the International Book&Movie Festival CineLibri, took place in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is the only film festival in the world to pay tribute to the literature adaptations on the big screen.
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 notorious 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 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 film features Lucas Hedges as a teenage boy named Jared, forced into a damaging gay therapy by his religious parents. The film, starring Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, is a stunning achievement that has been awarded significant prizes and distinctions, including two Golden Globe nominations. In the end of the film, it’s Jared’s mother who undergoes the conversion: “I love God. God loves me, but I love my son,” she says.
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. A memorable mix of suspense, comedy and melodrama, the movie deals with the unusual and tragic relationship between a frustrated businessman and a 14-year-old student.
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”. Eye-catching thriller for guilt and revenge, inspired by the magnum opus by Håkan Nesser.
Actually, CineLibri 2019 was held in Sofia and seven other Bulgarian cities – Varna, Plovdiv, Burgas, Gabrovo, Veliko Turnovo, Targovishte and Stara Zagora. The spectators watched 55 first-rate movie productions, attended dozens of follow-up meetings, cultural gala evenings, literary and theater premieres. The competition programme consisted of 11 film productions and co-productions, including “Burning” (2018) – the psychological mystery drama based on a story by Haruki Murakami, “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão” (2019), the brilliant “tropical melodrama” directed by Karim Aïnouz, and “5 Is the Perfect Number” (2019), the adorable Italian drama-thriller based on the namesake graphic novel by Igort.
This year, within the festival parallel programme, the first international Screenwriting Workshop based exclusively on outstanding underlying materials such as novels, novellas, short stories, plays and true stories, was held in Sofia, between 15-16 October. 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.