The organizing team of the most prominent short film festival held annually in Bulgaria – IN THE PALACE – announced the members of the festival international jury. They are: two festival directors – Darya Nikitina (Beginning – St.Petersburg, Russia) and Heinz Hermanns (Interfilm - Berlin, Germany), writer-director Jenni Toivoniemi (winner of the Jury Award at Sundance 2012 with The Date), documentary filmmaker and journalist Jordan Todorov (Dad Made Dirty Movies), animation artist and director Radostina Neykova, and producer and writer Tobias Munthe.    

The jury will be focusing on two festival competition programmes  - international and national – with the following award categories: best feature film (Bulgarian and foreign); best documentary; best experimental film; and best Bulgarian animation. The festival audience will determine the winner in the TV production competition.    

Thirty volunteers will be joining in the preparation and running of the festival as part of a European Commission youth programme. After having hosted young people from Estonia, Jordan, Poland, Portugal, Croatia, and France, the festival in Balchik is  further expanding its interantional profile by welcoming youth groups from Georgia, Spain, and Latvia this year. The young volunteers will be also involved in specially curated short film programmes presenting the best titles of their respective national short film centres.    

The total number of films presented at IN THE PALACE, as part of the competition programmes, the parallel programmes, and the video library, surpasses 700.


The competition programs of the 11th edition of the International Short Film Festival IN THE PALACE, Balchik, will be screening 107 films, originating from 37 different countries from every possible continent (excluding Antarctica), in the presence of their authors, festival guests and visitors. Ninety-six of the works will be screened in Bulgaria for the first time. Some of the countries represented at the festival are Japan, South Korea, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Iran, and Syria. Bulgaria is participating with 30 productions, a fact confirming the festival screen as one of the preferred spaces for the latest Bulgarian films.

Over eight days – from 29 June until 6 July 2013, the selected films will compete in three competition programs: international, national, and television. All screenings at the traditional festival locations in Balchik – the Cultural Centre “The Palace” and the Paisii Hilendarski Community Centre - are free. A new outdoor screening area will be added this year.

A total of seven Princesses, replicas of the sculpture of Princess Ileana, daughter of King Ferdinand I of Romania, and Queen Marie of Romania, great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and Czar Alexander II, are already awaiting the festival where they will be awarded to the winners selected by an international jury. Two Silver Princesses will go to the best shorts from the national and international competitions. The total award fund of the 11th edition of IN THE PALACE amounts to Euro 10 000 in gold.


The ribbon of the first edition of the new festival age will be cut by the Woman. The Woman – fictional, animated, documented, and experimental. Due to the huge number of memorable female characters, and also due to the strong presence of young female directors, the Woman, represented by variety of images and functions, is the hallmark of the latest selection of the festival. Sister, daughter, mother, grandmother, wife, housewife, friend, prostitute, nun, all wrapped into one! The woman – an author and a creative personality. They all define the thematic frame in which a large number of the films develop.

... The sister who swallows her tears to protect her sister. The mother of sixty-seven children who manages to find her daughter after she has been kidnapped and sold to a brothel in Nepal - a fate happening to thousands of young girls every year. The old lady, waking up in bed with a stranger after a tequila party, trying to reconcile a pleasant breakfast with her own (and our own) prejudice. The young wife wilting in the complete silence of her marriage. The middle-aged women who celebrate the wedding of their friend's daughter in a long-distance-calls booth. The nun whose passion is woken up by a child. The woman who loses her identity because she is perceived in terms of public cliches only: a Romanian prostitute. The modern woman, the strong woman, the lonely woman, the woman misunderstood, the woman who is no able to understand. These are just a few of the stories, coming from all corners of the world, which the festival is going to share with its guests and audience this year. Each of these stories is unique, but carries a human aspect shared by all.

There is more – Men are present too. The Men from the films in the 11th edition of the festival are equally original in exploring strength and weakness, courage and betrayal, love and friendship. ... Three timorous days of freedom after fifteen years of imprisonment. Three minutes of fear after fifteen years of friendship. And three more seconds following the minutes. The courage to stand up for oneself for being different when you are eleven, and the lack of courage to admit it to yourself over a lifetime.

And lots more of cinema... The life of animals among humans, the micro cosmos we inhabit, the Cosmos that we find ourselves looking at ever so often, the lack of time, the lack of understanding, and lots of music – this is just a quick glimpse into the competition programs of the 11th edition of the short film festival IN THE PALACE this year.

“The forthcoming 11th edition of IN THE PALACE is actually a new beginning for us. After 10 years of experimenting with form, time, and space, we remain true to our taste in cinema and combine our best practice with an updated vision for the organization and running of the film festival oriented towards the development, promotion, and institutionalization of Bulgarian short cinema and its author”, says Festival Director Tsanko Vasilev.

Be a party to it all. Enjoy the party. – 29.06 – 06.07.2013, IN THE PALACE, Balchik

* The photos depict the Silver Princess, a replica of the sculpture of Princess Ileana, daughter of King Ferdinand I of Romania, and Queen Marie of Romania, great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, located in the Cultural Complex “The Palace” in Balchik.