One of the latest highlights in the festival program of 2017 Sofia Film Fest is the special “teen” theme selection.

To create a movie capable of capturing the attention of the young audience is a difficult task. Recounting a story that can speak the language of the youth and is important to them, that can encourage them to think and share – is a responsible task. The 2017 Sofia Film Fest team has selected several titles falling very much into this category – curious, funny, intriguing pieces of art that can be seen only in MARCH. Our advice: Do not miss them!

One of the movies in this selection is Australian - “Girl Asleep” (2015), presented very successfully in the Berlinare „Generation 14 plus” program last year. The beautiful story, revealed in an unusual way by the director Rosemary Myers, is an original look into the heart of an teenager who doesn’t want to part with her childhood, which contains all the things that give her comfort.  

Besides taking the viewers back to the glitter and spirit of Disco of the 70s, the Australian movie presents the story of 17- year- old Greta Driscoll who is struggling to find her place in the new town she had to move in. Greta faces a serious challenge when her mother decides to throw her a surprising birthday party. At the party all teenagers’ fears of Greta came to being and she is flung into an erotic and a little bit violent world – there she must find herself…  

“The new Australian classic “Girl Asleep” for sure is something different both for the Australian and for the worldwide movie industry. The film is unreal and at the same time captivating, blending reality and dream from beginning to end”, exclaim its viewers. It is suitable for every age – for the thousands who hunt for a unique movie experience.   

Even when things in life seem desperate and dark, one still can take an optimistic approach to them. This is the message of the Belgian movie “Vincent and the End of the World” (2016) directed by Christophe Van Rompaey

It is about 17 - year - old boy called Vincent, obsessed with the thought of committing a suicide as a form of protest against the current worldwide problems, ecology being one among them. Vincent‘s giddy aunt takes him on a trip to France, convinced that the boy‘s obsession is related to his suffocating mother. But on their road-trip, Vincent proves to be much more than his aunt can handle... The director’s angle to the plot is very interesting. The result is a Dramatic Comedy with comic elements aptly employed. 

`Two of the films in the new teen section of the 21-st Sofia Film fest are Bulgarian. The young audience will be introduced to „18” directed by Atanas Hristoskov – a film which was successfully presented at the Bulgarian Feature Film Festival “Golden Rose”. 

The director who searches for and finds inspiration in the real life and in each of its cells, counts on young actors who he likes to work with. The film was shot in Sofia at night presented in a specific way – with lights and reflections of the wet streets, with the sounds of drums and car horns of the graduates…  

„18” tells the story of four classmates who run away from the noise and vanity of their prom and set out  for an adventurous journey marked by many dangerous turns and love passions. “The children are in fact adults but in a very sympathetic and unstained by excessive wisdom way”, comments Atanas Hristoskov. “As the story develops I am more inclined to take their side, it appears. But when it comes to putting the whole pieces together, it is necessary to be an adult.”   

The next suggestion is the most watched Bulgarian movie for 2016 - „11А” directed by Mihaela Komitova, which will certainly make the audience smile. It has interesting concepts and wonderful dance rhythm. It is about the former DanceSport competitor and instructor Lina Nikolaeva (played by Yana Marinova), who accepts the challenge to become a teacher in literature at the elite high school in the capital city.

Surrounded by the suspicion of her colleagues and by willful students she quickly finds out the standard methods of pedagogy won’t do any good. Thanks to her strong spirit and open behavior, Lina succeeds in winning the students on her side. Meanwhile the dance hall,  which has been under renovation for more than two years, is ready to open and her long-lasting dream of having her own dancing groups is about to come true. Her students, however, refuse to say goodbye and throw at her one last challenge, which will make her face a new dilemma…   

Not only the young, but also viewers of all ages at the 21-st Sofia Film Fest will have the chance to see the latest movie by John Carney - „Sing Street” (included in the Music Box section). If you’ve thought the greatest stories about teenagers were born in pain and isolation, then the John Carney’s musical will turn your ideas upside down. You will see that a coming – of- age - story could be touchingly funny, heartfelt and surprising. All this is shown through a mid-eighties story about a Dublin boy who decides to form a band. This is how he is about to impress the girl he likes! His older brother (Jack Reynor) gives tips and directions to the development of the young musician (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo). 

The original songs written in the style of the 80s and performed by the young actor starring in the motion picture, are backed up with vintage pieces of „The Clash”, „The Cure”, „Duran Duran”, „Spandau Ballet”. They reveal the unique way music can empower musicians to freely express themselves. Don’t miss “Sing Street” – a real teen musical masterpiece, which deservedly has won all its superlatives, awards and nominations! 

“Keeper” is a work by Guillaume Senez and has received significant number of awards - „Europa Cinemas Label” in Locarno, “Young Talent” prize in Hamburg, the prize of teen audience in Valetta, the Jury’s trophy in Taipei, and the Best movie in Torino. The eternal problem of creating convincing characters at the specific age between childhood and maturity is precisely what makes them so interesting: the teenagers have already grown enough to face complex dilemmas and emotions, but still do not have the needed experience to either understand or cope with them completely. 

The characters of Senez and his co-scripter David Lambert are Maxime and Mélanie, both of them 16-year-olds, who suddenly realise they are going to become parents. Instead of mourning over all the life’s possibilities that could be missed because of the early pregnancy, or praising the boy’s decision to quit his sport carrier in the name of the affections between the two leads, “Keeper” delicately and impressively displays a conflict that inevitably leads to the maturity of the protagonists. 

“Wolfgang Herrndorf is one of the best German writers. In 2010 his bestseller “Goodbye Berlin” was published – an adventurous story about two teenagers who can’t fit in the surrounding society and decide to run away.  The most famous contemporary German director, Faitih Akin, takes the task to turn it into a motion picture. It is always a privilege when a Faitih Akin movie is included in a film selection. This March in Sofia the viewers will enjoy seeing his latest picture. “Goodbye Berlin” is an example of perfectly fitted elements – the source material highlights this strange moment of life when persons try to find their own way in life. It requires the skills of a director who perfectly knows how to shoot a comedy and how to find a group of charming young actors. First and foremost, it is a portray of the summer we all longed to experience, with the only fateful journey you take as a young and free person before the raw reality brings you down. 13-year-old Mike feels like he’s invisible; no one shows interest in him, neither at home nor at school.  One day he and his best friend stole a car and set out on a journey hitting the sultry asphalt roads... “Goodbye Berlin” is a brilliant example of how fabulous and funny can be a teen movie, directed by a real maestro! The gala - premiere at Sofia Film Fest is scheduled for March 17, 20.00, hall 1, National Palace of Culture 

The TEEN theme runs through the movies “Moon Dogs” by Phlip John and “Snow” by Emre Erdogdu, included in the International competition, and through some other Festival film selections as well.