The Golden Kuker International Animated Film Festival is on in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 29 September to 2 October. The objective of the festival is to promote animation art among the general public and especially for children, as well as provide a large forum to promote the work of animation studios and independent filmmakers from Bulgaria and abroad.
Over 100 films from 12 countries will compete for the following awards:
- Grand Prix “The Kuker” for Best Animated Film
- Grand Prix “Proyko Proykov” for Best Student Animated Film
- Special Prize of the Sofia Municipality for Best Bulgarian Animated Film
- Best Short Animated Film (up to 10 min)
- Best Short Animated Film (from 10 to 50 min)
- Best Feature Animated Film (50 min and up)
- Best Animated Film Made for Kids
- Best Experimental Animated Film
- Best Educational Animated Film
- Best Animated Film Made for Web/TV or Music Video
- Best Animated Film Made in the Balkans
The festival has been organized by the Bulgarian Association of Independent Cartoon Animation Artists (BAICAA) in partnership with Bulgarian National Radio, the National Film Centre, the Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers (media partner), and the National Palace of Culture. It also falls under the patronage of the Bulgarian Minister of Culture.
The “Kukers” are Bulgarian carnival figures – men disguised as beasts with their heads always covered by masks. They often carry sheep bells on their waistbands and wear fur coats. Around New Year the Kukers dance in the streets in an attempt to frighten and chase away evil spirits and other fairies, thereby securing prosperity and a rich harvest in the coming year.