Sofia Documental returns with a special selection of the most relevant stories about the times we live in

The fourth edition of Sofia DocuMental International Film Festival with a focus on human rights will take place between 18th and 25th September 2023. The festival will present a carefully selected programme of 20 films with prestigious international awards, telling the most relevant and most urgent stories of the times in which we live. 18 of the films are premieres for Bulgaria, accompanied by exclusive discussions with the directors and a number of other special events.

During the week dedicated to artistic non-fiction cinema, key cultural locations in Sofia, including the pop-up cinema under the domes of Largo Sofia, Cinema House, Odeon Cinema, Czech Center Sofia, Goethe Institute and others, will open their doors to the audience of Sofia Documental.

Film programme
The programming of this year's edition includes a selection of the most widely acknowledged documentaries from the past year. Thus, Bulgarian viewers will have the opportunity to immerse themselves into shocking true stories from around the world shown at A-festivals such as Berlinale, Cannes, Sundance, IDFA-Amsterdam, DokLeipzig, CPH:DOX-Copenhagen and many others. The films are curated in thematic sections dealing with gender-based violence, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race and religion, the struggle for equality and personal revolutions as a result of global social and climate changes, the consequences of the war in Ukraine, military politics in Belarus, etc. The focus is on the award-winning films "Motherland", "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood", "Anhell69", "Seven Winters in Tehran", "Little Richard", "Paradise" and others. You can discover the festival's entire film selection here.

In partnership with Neterra TV+, part of the festival selection will be available online from 25.09 to 08.10, so that the audience can experience Sofia Documental 2023 from the comfort of their home, wherever they are in the country.

Audio programme
Following international trends, this year Sofia DocuMental is expanding its programme to include non-fiction audio storytelling, experimenting with different formats such as live podcast and audio walk. In partnership with the young audience's favorite podcast editions "Grand Balkan", "Urban Detective" and others, Sofia Documental expands its forum for telling true stories outside the traditional framework, so that the audience can experience them in a completely new way. You can read more about the audio selection of the festival here.

Creative Laboratory BDC Discoveries
In addition to its film and audio documentary selection, Sofia DocuMental also hosts a creative laboratory for documentaries through its "Balkan Documentary Market" platform, including targeted trainings, the presence of internationally renowned authors, experts who support and affirm the role of non-fiction cinema for fair and critical development of society.

"We are at a key stage for the formation of a united and conscious civil society in Bulgaria. Amidst the monstrous things that are happening lately, we are also witnessing the establishment of social limits to what's acceptable, increasing empathy and awareness of what is happening in our surroundings. This makes Sofia DocuMental's mission more important than ever, in order to capture this significant public momentum and provide the much-needed public forum for debate. This will inevitably bring us closer to positive change. We strongly believe that our inherent mission of "discoverers" and mediators of stories that have the power to change will, over time, strengthen the festival's position as a leading international human rights forum", says festival director Marticka Bozhilova.