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The Eighth Bulgarian Film Festival opened last night at the Tribeca Cinemas.

The Eighth Bulgarian Film Festival opened last night at the Tribeca Cinemas to a large international audience and an impressive group of widely acclaimed guests.

The opening night presented the award-winning film Tilt, which had been the official Bulgarian selection for the Academy Awards. Director Viktor Chuchkov and producer Borislav Chuchkov, told guests that having their film screed at the world renowned Tribeca Cinemas owned by cinema legend and NYC advocate Robert DeNiro was a dream come true.

The audience enjoyed the film tremendously and emotionally, judging by the sincere laughs at the hilarious dialog and by the uncomfortable silences when documentary footage from 1989 was shown. Viewers praised the shift Tilt announced toward what some said was a contemporary and relevant subject matter; others enjoyed the relatable story of love, friendship and betrayal against the backdrop of one of the most difficult and traumatic moments in recent Bulgarian memory.

Ambassador Elena Poptodorova praised the independent spirit of the festival, and congratulated the young filmmakers for embodying the spirit of new Bulgarian cinema. She presented the Chuchkov Brothers with the Woodstock Film Festival Award for Editing, which Tilt had won in 2011.

Film festival director Jana Karaivanova spoke of the wide support this festival has received in the past years from organizations such as the Bulgarian National Television, the America for Bulgaria Foundation, and numerous volunteers. The cause is worthwhile, as she asserted and as the Foundation’s director Steven Fillo confirmed: “The sale was very quickly made once [film festival director Jana Karaivanova] approached us [for funding] and we are very happy and proud for her and for the filmmakers.”

The festival continues with internationally acclaimed films such as, The Island, The Shelter and Sneakers, among others, and with a broad array of events with actors, directors, producers, screenplays and designers.