IPFF is on the path towards its second edition in 2021. Once again, we will celebrate short portrait cinema, independent filmmaking and art which explores, educates and transforms.

A portrait is an image heavy with meaning. Multilayered and multifaceted, it has a visual, psychological, material, emotional and spiritual dimension.

Unravelled in art, the painted, the literary, the photographic portrait is often perceived by the human mind as a still frozen in time. But, in fact, it has already undergone a transformation. From its true origin, through the consciousness that revives the brush, the quill and the lens, to the semblance that begins its life on the canvas and on the page. Imitation and repetition, but with endless potential for future metamorphoses.

The film portrait, too, is captured in time. It is not motionless - literally and metaphorically. The cinematographic portrait is a soul in the form of light encountering the canvas of the white screen. The portrait is a trace. And a sign. A secret. A reverie.


The portrait is the focus of the films that will be screened at IPFF. We are looking for portrait films that have already been completed, as well as such that will be created with the concrete idea of 'portrait'. Of a person. A group of people. An object. Something invisible, but substantial. Of the self. Or of something else.


IPFF aspires to bring together artists and viewers who sincerely long for enrichment with art, intellectual discussion and an experience of cinema through a new prism - that of the portrait film.


IPFF is a hybrid event and platform. A symbiosis of intriguing live encounters and memorable virtual experiences. The interweaving of portrait cinema from around the world and debates, lectures and masterclasses.


IPFF is for those profoundly needing art and excitement. And for the ones in search of their catharsis. For the unafraid to stare at the screen even when it is empty. For those hungry for experimental viewpoints. For those forever in love with cinema, caught in its loop.


IPFF welcomes a wide spectre of films and filmmakers: students, professionals, from low budget to big-scale productions, alternative and independent films by individuals and by collectives or institutions.

If selected as part of our festival, a filmmaker immediately joins the IPFF club of film artists and cinephiles. A community of fellow creators and a platform for exchange of ideas and curious future perks, related to the festival.

The awarded films in each category are determined by an international jury of professionals with impressive accomplishments in their respected fields: film practitioners, academics, film critics, culturologists, authors, journalists. Presenting their different points of view, they distinguish the best films among the Official Selection of the festival (read more on the IPFF website).

IPFF will award the best portrait creations with:

The grand prize IPFF 2021
- A trip to the IPFF festival days in Sofia in 2021
- specially made copper statuette
- digital laurels ‘Maya Award IPFF 2021’

Award for the most wonderful portrait creation in each category
- specially made copper statuette
- digital laurels ‘International Portrait Film Festival - Most Wonderful Film Award’

Audience Award - a favourite film chosen by the IPFF viewers
- specially made copper statuette
- digital laurels ‘International Portrait Film Festival - Audience Award’

IPFF also presents a special award for a Film Dedication about the contribution of a person or about a cause aiming towards a brighter and better world.
- specially made copper statuette
- digital laurels ‘International Portrait Film Festival - Film Dedication Award’

Digital laurels ‘International Portrait Film Festival - Official Selection’ for all selected films.

IPFF Virtual Library is a project we begin in 2021 - offering the opportunity for visibility of the work of each applying artist. Every author who submits a film and is interested in this offer can showcase their film with a trailer in the virtual library of IPFF, based in YouTube (*if you apply after August 20th, please contact us directly if you'd like to take part in the initiative!). In this way, the applicant artists will have another visible platform within the Internet space. The virtual library will be free and accessible to representatives of the film industry, film communities, researchers, cultural organizations, viewers.

The submitted films can be productions of independent directors, individual artists and institutional authors - film academies, film centers, film companies, distribution companies, collectives, creative associations, etc.

Up to 3 film submissions by an individual artist are allowed. Up to 5 film submissions by institutional entities are allowed.

The competition programme includes selected films that are to be screened live and online.

1. Time and place - dates, locations, spaces

The festival is held in Bulgaria, in the cities Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo and online, in the period 21 November - 5 December 2021.

Main location - Sofia – competition programme and accompanying programme of the festival - 17-20 November.
Other locations – Plovdiv, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo - screenings of selected films - 21-27 November.

Online screenings and events – 21 November - 5 December 2021.

2. Conditions for participation

2.1. Deadlines for submission
- Earlybird deadline - 22.03 - 30.04.2021
- Regular deadline - 01.05 - 31.07.2021
- Extended deadline - 01.08 - 17.09.2021
- Notifying and announcing the selected films - 24.09.2021

2.2. Film duration
Maximum accepted film duration is 30 minutes.

2.3. Time when the films were made
The festival accepts films made after 1.01.2005.

2.4. File formats
- Submission formats – digital formats - MP4, AVI, MOV, MKV or any other format that is accepted by FilmFreeway.
- Selected films formats - H264, МР4. After a film is selected to be part of the official festival programme, the organiser will contact each author in order to determine the exact technical requirements regarding the screening of their film.

2.5. Language and subtitles
The festival’s working language is English. If an applying film is not in English, it is mandatory that it has appropriately embedded English subtitles.
For the films selected in the competition programme, the festival team will translate and produce subtitles in Bulgarian. In this case, the author must provide a timecode SRT file in English. This is absolutely obligatory!
For films in Bulgarian, if selected in the competition programme, it is mandatory to provide a copy with embedded subtitles in English.

2.6. Materials from the authors of selected films
The authors of films selected in the competition programme must send video and photo material (trailer - up to 2 minutes, poster, film stills/screenshots, other appropriate material, photos of the creators - director, cast, others if applicable), short bios of the main production persons (director, cinematographer, producer, cast) and a list of the production team (credits).
When a film is selected to participate in the competition programme, IPFF is entitled to use the information provided in the previous paragraph by the film team for publicity and advertising purposes.

2.7. Copyright
The applicant party must have full authority to submit their film to IPFF and to own the copyright of the work, including all rights to the music used. IPFF is not responsible for any claims made by a third party regarding copyright and related rights.
The applicant party agrees that the films selected in the competition programme will be screened within the framework of the festival programme in the cities of Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, as well as in the online edition of the festival and IPFF’s accompanying events.
The applicant party agrees that the films selected in the competition programme are kept in the archive of the festival.

2.8. Submission fees
- Earlybird deadline - 22.03 - 30.04.2021 - 11 USD
- Regular deadline - 01.05 - 31.07.2021 - 13 USD
- Extended deadline - 01.08 - 17.09.2021 - 15 USD
Submission fees are not refundable.

2.9. Application procedure / platforms and notification
The application will be considered accepted upon the cumulative fulfilment of the following conditions:
- the applicant has completed all the fields required by the relevant platform;
- the applicant has paid the relevant participation fee.
When submitting a film, the applicant agrees, in the event that the film is selected in the competition programme, to give IPFF a permission to download a copy or to provide a link to access the film outside/beyond the application platform. The copy or link provided will only be used for access by festival jury members.

3. Categories
The categories in 2021 are 7:
- Film portrait
- Collective portrait
- Alternative portrait
- Film self-portrait
- Portrait in motion (screendance/dance film)
- Portrait in a magic lantern (animated film)
- Portrait from above (drone film)

4. Awards
The awarded films in each category are determined by an authoritative international jury. IPFF will award the best portrait creations with:

The grand prize IPFF 2021
Award for the most wonderful portrait creation in each category
Audience Award - a favorite film chosen by viewers in the online edition of IPFF
Film Dedication Award (a film about the contribution of a person or about a cause aiming towards a brighter and better world)

5. Festival organiser
Portret Films Ltd.

6. Funding
IPFF is an independent film festival that is funded and financed by Portret Films Ltd. and by submission fees from applicants.

By submitting an application through the FilmFreeway platform, the applicant agrees to all the conditions in this RULES AND TERMS section regarding participation in IPFF.

Overall Rating
  • Andrey Hristozov

    Great festival!
    The people that are managing the event are extremely professional and passionate about their project.
    The participants and the audience are engaged by a welcoming and open hearted community.
    With their original concept and warm attitude, the fest managers won me not only as a participant, but as a regular audience member for their future events!

    December 2021
  • The topic of these special festivals is very welcome and I was very happy to be able to speak to them. I very much hope that it will continue and I wish you every success!

    December 2020
  • Great Festival! Excellent communication and friendliness.
    Very happy to have participated with my short film "The Sunday of Gilda M." in the online selection 'For the peculiar-eyed Selection'. Heartfelt thanks to all the staff !

    December 2020
  • Thank you for selecting my small film to peculiar eyed selection. All communication and online festival went well!

    December 2020
  • Brian g. Smith

    Great communication, nice vibe. Wish I could have made the trip to Bulgaria!

    December 2020