The Golden Rose Bulgarian Feature Film Festival presents and promotes annually the outstanding achievements of Bulgarian cinema, which has become over the years an important part of the arts scene in Bulgarian society. The festival traces its origins to the late 1950’s, when cinema was first developing in Bulgaria. Local films marked by artistic enthusiasm and original visual style made it attractive to present the full range of Bulgarian creativity in a unique national film forum.
The first Golden Rose National Film Festival took place in Varna during the first ten days of August, 1961. It was organized with cooperation from the Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers, the Board of the Bulgarian Cinematography Corporation, and the People’s Council in Varna. The Jury of the first edition declared the festival a remarkable national film event. It attracted many spectators and the audience loved the high quality films and their thought provoking themes. Ten feature films and thirty short movies took part in that first event.
The festival proved to be very popular, with more than 150,000 spectators enjoying screenings in the first edition. The whole festival period was an exciting cultural feast for the participating audiences and other guests.
The GRAND PRIX was established as the top prize in the first year. It was originally called the Special Award of the Festival, and in 1963 adopted the name “Golden Rose,” as well as new criteria representing exceptional achievement and contribution to Bulgarian cinema. The statuette “Golden Rose” was created by the outstanding Bulgarian sculptor Vezhdi Rashidov, who later went on to become the Minister of Culture in Bulgaria.
Many film industry leaders, critics and journalists from around the world take part each year in the Golden Rose Bulgarian Film Festival. They help to promote the international reputation of
Bulgarian cinema . Special guests from the USA , Russia , Great Britain, France, Italy, Poland , Spain, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Romania, Serbia, and Macedonia have been involved in many initiatives of the festival throughout the years.
A special mention is warranted of the film critic John Worington from London, England. He was a great admirer of Bulgarian film and remained so up to the end of his life. He did quite a lot to represent Bulgarian film at at the IFF in London and many other important film international forums.
After the political changes in Bulgaria the Golden Rose National film Festival was canceled for several years due to a total collapse of the film industry. In contrast, the 21st century so far has been very good for Bulgarian films, with steadily increasing production and high quality results. The most recent editions of the festival show that Bulgarian cinema has completely revived, with a whole new generation of talented young filmmakers and other contemporary artists producing a steady stream of excellent films.