12.03.2012 - UNESCO Office in Venice

Discussing emerging cultural trends in the Balkans

© Sofia Film Festival - Sofia meetings website

Within the framework of the new global initiative “Culture: a Bridge to Development”, launched by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, the UNESCO Venice Office is organizing a regional forum in Sofia, Bulgaria, on 17 March 2012, which aims at enhancing with various professionals from the region the debate of the role of culture and creativity in fostering sustainable development, social cohesion and integration.

This forum, entitled “Balkan visions: Creativity for the future”, is organized in cooperation with the Sofia International Film Festival (9-25 March 2012), leading film festival in Bulgaria, on the occasion of the “Sofia Meetings”, with the support of the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture and the Sofia Municipality. The “Sofia Meetings” is an event of the festival supported by the MEDIA programme of the European Union. It aims to promote new projects from young European filmmakers and new films from Bulgaria and the Balkan region and to establish professional links with other European film festivals, sales agents and distributors.

The meeting will be introduced by Stefan Kitanov, Director of the Sofia International Film Festival, and opened by Todor Chobanov, Deputy Mayor of Sofia, Mitko Todorov, Deputy Minister of Culture, and Francesco Bandarin, UNESCO Assistant-Director General for Culture. Francesco Bandarin will also bestow, during the official film festival awarding ceremony, on 17 March, the “Best documentary film” award. This competition (Jury composed of Jay Weissberg, film critic, Variety; Ben Hopkins, film director, United Kingdom; Eldora Trajkova, film director, Bulgaria) has benefited from the support of UNESCO this year and will bring together many documentary directors from the South-East European region.

The forum will be structured around 3 thematic round-tables: cinema (“Putting a country on the international film map: experiences from South-East Europe”), creative cities (“New urban spaces and creativity: fostering creative cities for development in South-East Europe”), and new media arts (“Art and innovation: developing new media arts in South-East Europe”). It will bring together, in the form of an international public encounter, a group of recognized artists and creators from the South-East European region who are contributing to the reshaping of the cultural and artistic contemporary landscape in South-East Europe, and to the rapid changing of the image and perception of the region, in terms of creativity, innovation and modernity. Will also participate various representatives from NGOs, cultural agencies, as well as from the European Union.

Speakers will discuss topics such as: the social, political and economic environment for artistic activities; the development of responsive frameworks and tools which encourage artistic creativity, innovation and cultural entrepreneurship; transnational mobility challenges and funding opportunities, challenges for European cooperation. Youth, students, universities, art schools, media, cultural professionals and managers, artists and creators, curators, professionals working in cultural industries are cordially invited to attend and participate in the discussions. On the occasion of the Forum, a series of new media art works, part of the project "Transitland (Video Art from Central and Eastern Europe 1989-2009)" , will also be featured.

It is expected that a set of strategic recommendations to reinforce schemes for the promotion of cultural industries in South-East Europe will be discussed during the debates, and brought to the attention of the next Ministerial conference on cultural heritage of SEE Ministers of culture, to be hosted in Sofia, Bulgaria in September 2012, with the support of UNESCO.

Contact : Mira Staleva Head of Sofia Meetings at mira(at)sofiaiff.com
Useful link : Sofia Film Festival  

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