Mike Downey

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Festival do Rio

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Festival do Rio is an international film festival in Rio de Janeiro and is one of the lading events in Latin America for cinema and Brazil’s leading festival.

The festival was the result of a 1999 merger of two previous film festivals, the Rio Cine Festival and the Mostra Banco Nacional de Cinema. Founded in 1984 and 1988 respectively the two festivals were held within a period of two months between each other. To avoid overloading the city with two film festivals within a short period of time the two events were eventually merged.

The Première Brasil is the only competitive section of the Festival do Rio with jury prizes to be presented at the end of the festival. This section of the Festival presents national and international audiences with the best of Brazilian contemporary film production. This year there are more than 50 titles shortlisted for a prize, among these feature-lengths and shorts, documentaries and fiction films.

Official website of Festival do Rio

Cartagena Film Festival

Cartagena, Colombia

The Cartagena Film Festival (Spanish: Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias), or FICCI, is a film festival held in Cartagena, Colombia, which focuses mainly on the promotion of Colombian television series, Latin American films and short films. The Cartagena Film Festival, which is held every March, is the oldest film festival in Latin America.

The Cartagena Film Festival was founded 1959 by Victor Nieto. Nieto remained the director of the film festival for 48 years, his last being in 2008. Nieto died at the age of 92 in November 2008. Lina Paola Rodriguez was appointed manager by Nieto in 2007 and 2008, and remained director following Nieto's death. Programme is managed by Diana Bustamante.

Official website of Cartagena Film Festival

Sarajevo Film Festival

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Sarajevo Film Festival is the premier and largest film festival in Southeast Europe, and is one of the largest film festivals in Europe. It was found in Sarajevo in 1995 during the siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian Independence War, and brings international and local celebrities to Sarajevo every year.

It is held in August and showcases an extensive variety of feature and short films from around the world. The current director of the festival is Mirsad Purivatra, former CEO of the Bosnian branch of McCann Erickson.

The first Sarajevo Film Festival was held from October 25th to November 5th 1995. At that time, the siege of Sarajevo was still going on, and attendance projections were very low. However, a surprising 15,000 people came to see the films, of which there were 37 from 15 different countries. The festival grew at a remarkable pace now being the most prominent film festival in South-East Europe, attracting more than 100,000 people annually on all programs and screening hundreds of films from 60 countries.

Mike Downey at Sarajevo Film Festival
Mike Downey at Sarajevo Film Festival
Jury at Sarajevo Film Festival: Mike Downey, Zrinka Cvitesic (actor), Diana Bustamente (artistic director Cartagena Film festival) , Maja Milos (director) and Calin Peter Netzer (director)
Jury at Sarajevo Film Festival: Mike Downey, Zrinka Cvitesic (actor), Diana Bustamente (artistic director Cartagena Film festival) , Maja Milos (director) and Calin Peter Netzer (director)
Mike Downey at Sarajevo Film Festival
Mike Downey at Sarajevo Film Festival

Official website of Sarajevo Film Festival

!f Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey

!f Istanbul celebrates the tenth year of the '!f Inspired International Film Competition', dedicated to discovering new auteurs in contemporary cinema.

Consisting of first/second-time directors from various parts of the world, '!f Inspired' aims to highlight films which invent new forms of cinematic language, with exciting new sounds and images. The competition has a $10,000 cash prize and will be judged by a 3-person jury from the international and Turkish film community, who will pick the year's 'Most Inspired Director'. Spanning so many different geographies and investigating the latest trends with 9 innovative films, !f !nspired could be the most diverse and exciting group this year!

Official website of !f Istanbul

Warsaw Film Festival

Warsaw, Poland

Established in 1985, the Warsaw Film Festival joined in 2009 the elite group of events recognized by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations as international film festivals - next to Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Locarno, San Sebastian, Karlovy Vary, Tokyo, Moscow, Mar del Plata, Montreal, Shanghai, Cairo, Goa, and Tallinn.

The WFF differs from other festivals in its programme, just as Warsaw differs from other cities. Selecting the films, we always remember about our audience - native Varsovians, those working or studying in Warsaw, and those in town for a short while, for instance only for the Festival.

Official website of Warsaw Film Festival

Transilvania International Film Festival

Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF), presented by Romanian Film Promotion, is the first and the largest international feature film festival in Romania.

Founded in 2002, in the town of Cluj-Napoca, Transilvania IFF has grown rapidly to become the most important film-related event in Romania and one of the most spectacular annual events in the region. It is a member of the Alliance of Central and Eastern European Film Festivals (CENTEAST) and it is supported by the Creative Europe - MEDIA Programme. In 2011, Transilvania IFF was accredited by the FIAPF, which places it among the 40 most important festivals in the world.

Over the years, Transilvania IFF’s Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to important figures of European and worldwide cinema, including Sophia Loren, Nastassja Kinski, Jiří Menzel, Debra Winger, Claude Lelouch, Geraldine Chaplin, Wim Wenders, Marin Karmitz, Jacqueline Bisset, Michael York, Catherine Deneuve, Claudia Cardinale, Annie Girardot, Udo Kier, Vanessa Redgrave, Nicolas Roeg and Franco Nero.

Official website of Transilvania International Film Festival

Sofia International Film Festival

Sofia, Bulgaria

For 21st year Sofia International Film Festival will gather together in Sofia films, guests, stars, journalists and cinema fans from 9th until 31st March 2017.

Featured in Variety’s Top 50 of cinema festivals, the event presents Bulgaria to the world as the host one of the important film festivals in Europe and takes place annually in March. What started as a thematic music film festival, went through 18 previous editions to become the cinema event of the year, bringing the current world cinema trends to the domestic viewers in Bulgaria and the latest in Bulgarian cinema to the rest of the world.

Since 1997 more than 1,600 feature films and documentaries have been screened within the festival’s framework. More than 1,000 distinguished guests have attended.

Official website of Sofia International Film Festival

FilmFestival Cottbus

Cottbus, Germany

The FilmFestival Cottbus was first held in 1991 in the immediate post-reunification era and is regarded as the most important festival of Eastern European Cinema worldwide.

The host city of Cottbus is located 120 km southeast of Berlin and is a gateway to the east, only a few miles away from the border to Poland in the bilingual (German/Sorbian) Lausitz region in the state of Brandenburg. Every year, filmmakers, producers and actors from Eastern and Central Europe meet in Cottbus. The film industry platform "connecting cottbus" plays an important role in bringing together filmmakers, producers and potential financiers. It even pushes some projects from the first idea to the actual film. FilmFestival Cottbus is a hallmark as a consumer and industry meeting alike.

With a representative overview of the current film production of the entire Central and Eastern European region, it has developed continuously into the leading festival for East European Cinema. For the 2015 25th anniversary edition over 20,000 visitors from more than 40 nations gathered in Cottbus, including a large number of accredited members of the press and industry. According to leading industry magazine VARIETY (2007) Cottbus is "a must-attend global event" and was even listed among the "50 most important film festivals worldwide". Former Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, 2008 Patron of the festival, described Cottbus as "the second most important film festival in Germany". He added: "A varied programme of lectures, exhibitions and concerts, workshops, seminars, panels and film talks makes the festival a unique forum for an identity-building dialogue between cultures."

Official website of FilmFestival Cottbus

Motovun Film Festival

Motovun, Croatia

Legends, smells, tastes and the past – all of it came together into a distinct atmosphere that also rubbed off on Motovun Film Festival.

Among thousands of festivals in the world, that open and close every day, that come to life and die, it is not easy to achieve uniqueness: thanks to its venue, Motovun Film Festival is, if nothing else, the festival with the most beautiful view in the world.

The festival was created and launched in1999 by a group of film professionals, directors, producers and film students as an answer to the then absolute domination of Hollywood films in Croatian theaters. The first screening of the new festival took place on 10 August, 1999: it was Aki Kaurismaki's silent film Juha, accompanied by live piano music. The film was shown in an old theater that was renewed for the festival after having been closed for years. Not one non-US film was shown anywhere in Croatia on that day.

Official website of Motovun Film Festival

Zagreb Film Festival

Zagreb, Croatia

Zagreb Film Festival has from the very beginning been focusing on promotion and presentation of film debuts and emerging filmmakers.

The main (competition) section has thus far seen former first-time directors, now celebrities like Steve McQueen, Cristi Puiu, Radu Jude, Xavier Dolan, Andrei Zviagintsev, Sofia Coppola, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Tom Ford, Taika Waititi, Jeff Nichols etc., and the national Checkers competition gathers and presents new up-and-comers on the Croatian scene.

Official website of Zagreb Film Festival

Krakow Film Festival

Krakow, Poland

Krakow Film Festival is one of the oldest events in Europe dedicated to documentary, animated and short feature films.

It core consists of four competitions of equal rank: documentary film competition, short film competition, national competition and music documentary film competition DocFilmMusic. During the eight festival days, the viewers have a chance to watch about 250 films from Poland and from around the world. They are shown in competition sections and in special screenings. The festival is accompanied by exhibitions, concerts, open-air shows and meetings with artists. Every year, the festival is visited by approximately 700 Polish and international guests: directors, producers, festival programmers and numerous Krakow audience.

Official website of Krakow Film Festival