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November Begins with the International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films in Varna

Festival Varna will close the season with the International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films, which is to be held from 3rd to 7th November – for the first time after more than twenty years of interruption. The National Council of the Red Cross and the Medical University of Varna are the initiators of the idea of the restoration of one of the most prestigious film events in our sea capital. The festival takes place under the auspices of the Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria Mrs. Margarita Popova.

More than 120 films, feature and short films, from over 15 countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, Turkey, Portugal, Finland, Russia, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Romania and Bulgaria are included in the Programme of XV Festival of Red Cross and Health Films. The citizens and guests of Varna will have the privilege to watch the films absolutely free at the Plenary Hall of the Municipality of Varna, Sanatorium and Healthcare Complex "Kamchia", Auditorium 2 at Medical University - Varna and Auditorium "Prof. Dr. Vladimir Ivanov" at St. Marina University Hospital-Varna.

 "Uniting our efforts with the Bulgarian Red Cross, we set ourselves the goal to restore the Festival after so many years so that it could regain the brilliance it has had over the years and again to be capable of competing with the festivals in Venice and Cannes," said the Rector of MU-Varna Prof. Dr. Krasimir Ivanov at the press conference, held at MU-Varna today, he also emphasized that the restoration of the Festival would not have been possible without the united efforts of everyone - partners, sponsors and media. "We want to change the routine way of thinking, to use the power of cinematic art, to show that the road leading to a world of peace starts with humanism. As an educational and scientific institution, Medical University – Varna is committed not only to its alumni and undergraduate, PhD and postgraduate students, but also to the entire society. Modern world issues are being resolved through education, science and culture."

"This is an attempt to bring back the interest not only in art, but also in its undisputed role and contribution to the education of people in the spirit of humanity, solidarity and mutual assistance. We believe that this is necessary as a part of the restoration and strengthening of the value system of the society", those were the words of the president of BRC Hristo Grigorov. "Now, under the conditions of general crisis, in the rapidly changing world of reconsidering values and criteria, it seems we need this Festival more than ever."

"Through humanism to peace and friendship" is the motto of the Festival. The beginning of this forum was initiated in 1965 in Varna, at one of the central movie theaters of the city, when a modest international review of Red Cross and health films was made on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Bulgarian Red Cross. The review lasted for a week, and it included 53 short and medium films on health and Red Cross topics from 16 countries, produced by the national Red Cross societies and health education organizations. Then the idea to turn the review into an International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films originated from the Red Cross activists, health workers and cinema professionals.

The fact that it was supported not only by the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, but also by the World Health Organization at UN, as well as by UNESCO is a proof of its high rank. It was recognized as "A" category by the International Federation of the Association of Filmmakers and the International Organization of Film Critics, to which category the festivals in Cannes, Venice, San Sebastian and others belong.

"This year the Festival will be restored in the form in which it was launched in 1965–a Review of the Red Cross and Health Films," pointed out Iliya Raev, director of the Festival. "This year's restorative edition of the Festival will not have a competitive character. The task of the jury will be to select the films that are going to participate and compete in the next regular edition, which will take place in 2015."

The rich programme of the upcoming cinema event includes both films from the Red Cross and a special selection of Sofia Film Fest. The lovers of the seventh art will be able to see a film provided by the film festival for independent cinema So Independent. Films from the National Film Library, the National Film Centre and the Bulgarian National Television will also be brought to the attention of Varna audience. The programme includes also films of war correspondents, titles provided by non-governmental organizations, as well as films provided directly by their authors and producers.

We sincerely hope that the Festival will provoke the interest of Varna audience and the halls will be full of both spectators who remember the Festival, and also many young people who are going to learn about it from now on. Only in this way, together, we will be able to bring back to Varna one of the valuable and important aspects of the cultural life such as the Festival of Red Cross and Health Films, said in conclusion the organizers of the Festival.

Special free transport to Sanitorium and Healthcare Complex "Kamchiya" will be available to everyone who wants to watch the films from the programme shown at SHC Kamchiya. The buses leave every hour from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. from Antim I Str. All you need to do is get in advance a free travel ticket from the building of the Red Cross (3 Bratya Shkorpil Str.), which is close to the departure bus stop.