IN THE PALACE is an international festival for professional short films of up to 45 minutes in length. It is held each year in the second half of June in the Black Sea town of Balchik. Established in 2003, the festival had grown from a competitive forum for student films into the largest and most prestigious short film festival in Bulgaria and the region.

Nearly 250 short films from 44 countries, selected out of over 4000 titles, competed in the last edition of the festival.

Our goal is to present and contribute to the development of contemporary film art in Bulgaria, Europe and the world, creating a favourable environment and platform for young filmmakers and established professionals.

Traditionally the Festival’s core is the international competition programmes section, accompanied also by side screenings. The educational section Filmer Forge offers perfect ground for obtaining knowledge, experience and professional contacts with its training programmes, seminars, lectures and master classes. Continuing its activities in project development, film promotion and distribution, the festival features a qualified Market for short films and projects.

Collateral to the film festival is the Music Palace Fest, presenting live performances by contemporary Bulgarian and international musicians and bands.

Over the years, the festival was attended by both prominent Bulgarian filmmakers and many significant representatives of the world cinema as the Polish director Krzysztof Zanussi, the producer and former head of 20th Century Fox Sandy Lieberson, the Academy Award winner for best original screenplay Pierre Bismuth, the legendary British producer Barry Hanson, and others.

IN THE PALACE is organized by Format SFF Foundation and Community Centre Veshtina in partnership and with support of Balchik Municipality, the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, the Bulgarian National Film Centre and the State Cultural Institute – Cultural Centre “The Palace”, Balchik, and is the first and only short film festival in Bulgaria, funded by the MEDIA Programme of the European Union.



Balchik is a small and romantic town on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, known with its white cliffs and tiered houses, its narrow streets and picturesque surroundings.

The town has a history spanning over almost 3000 years. During that period it was known as the ancient Greek colony of Krouni, the Greek and subsequently Byzantine fortress of Dionyssopolis, mediaeval Bulgarian town Karvouna and the Ottoman and later again Bulgarian town of Balchik. The town was named after the Boyar Balik who once owned it and ruled over it. In the 1913-1940 periods Balchik was under Romanian administration.
One of the most interesting places in the vicinity of the town is the architectural park complex "The Palace" (venue of the festival), built by the Italian architects Amerigo and Agustino within the period 1920-1936. It was the former summer residence of the British princess and Romanian Queen Marie of Edinburgh.

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