IPFF is on the path towards its fourth edition in 2023. Once again, we will celebrate short portrait cinema 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.

A portrait always undergoes a transformation. It imitates and repeats life, but becomes something or someone new along the way. It changes its original subject while capturing it. Then the portrait is transformed again through the mind of every brave interpreter.

A film portrait is a soul in the form of light encountering the canvas of the white screen while pairs of eyes are staring at its vastness. It is a trace. And a sign. And a reverie. It is past, present, and future intertwined.


The portrait is the focus of the films that will be screened at the 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 welcomes a wide range of films and filmmakers: students, professionals, from low budget to big-scale productions, alternative and independent films by individuals and by collectives or institutions.


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: screenings, discussions, lectures, and masterclasses.


IPFF is for those profoundly needing art and excitement. For those hungry for experimental viewpoints. And for the ones forever in love with cinema.

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.

IPFF will award the best portrait creations with:

The grand prize IPFF 2023 - MAYA Award
- An invitation to the IPFF festival days in 2024 (with travel and accommodation costs covered by the IPFF)
- specially made copper statuette
- digital laurels ‘Maya Award IPFF 2023’

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

1. Dates and locations

Main festival: screenings of the Official Selection and accompanying events: Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, and Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria), 9-19 November 2023.

Online edition of the festival, including the Official Selection + 2 additional selections "For the peculiar-eyed" and "Thrilling Impressions": 20-30 November 2023.

2. Conditions for participation

2.1. Deadlines for submission

Earlybird deadline - 23.02 – 23.04.2023
Regular deadline - 24.04 – 23.07.2023
Extended deadline - 24.07 – 17.09.2023
Notifying and announcing the selected films - 29.09.2023

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

For selected films: 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 all 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 CORRECT TIMECODE SRT file in English. This is absolutely OBLIGATORY!

For films in Bulgarian: if a film is selected in the competition programme, it is mandatory to provide a copy with embedded subtitles in English or a timecode srt file 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, poster, film stills, other appropriate material, photos of the creators - director, cast, others if applicable), short bio(s) of the filmmaker(s) and a full list of the production team (credits). IPFF is allowed to use this information for publicity and advertising purposes.

2.7. Copyright

The applicant party must have full authority to submit their film to the 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 their film could also be potentially screened in various cities of Bulgaria as part of IPFF's accompanying programme throughout the following year (2024). Should an opportunity for that occur, the festival team will contact the applicant party for confirmation. In case of a lack of response by the latter, IPFF can still showcase the film if the event is free of charge and doesn't bring any financial profit to the festival's team or any other physical or legal entity.

2.8. Submission fees

Earlybird deadline - 23.02 – 23.04.2023 - 12 USD
Regular deadline - 24.04 – 23.07.2023 - 15 USD
Extended deadline - 24.07 – 17.09.2023 - 18 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 2023 are 6:
- Film portrait
- Collective portrait
- Alternative portrait
- Film self-portrait
- Portrait in motion (screendance/dance film)
- Portrait in a magic lantern (animated film)

4. Awards

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

The grand prize IPFF 2023 – the MAYA Award
Award for the most wonderful portrait creation in each category
Film Dedication Award (a film about a cause aiming towards a brighter and better world)

5. Festival organiser
Portret Films Ltd.

6. Funding

IPFF is а film festival that is funded and financed by Portret Films Ltd. and by submission fees from applicants, as well as by support in the form of public grants.

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
  • Thomas Harman

    Lovely Festival, communication through the organizers was excellent. Got to be part of a great conversation with some of the other filmmakers screening and got to see their very artistic work screened too, delighted to have had my film Riot in the Meadow screened as part of the IPFF 22. I would love to come back and attend this festival in future too.

    April 2023
  • This festival is run very proffessionally. The communication is excellent, the venue top notch...a beautiful arthouse cinema in the heart of Sofia. The organizers do a lot of promo. And the hospitality is great.We had a chance to attend and we were happy we did. Will definitely submit again if I can.

    December 2022
  • Les filles de Méduse

    Nice festival with a really original theme and excellent communication with the team. Congratulation for your work!

    November 2022
  • Nicole Manoochehri

    Such a unique film festival! IPFF is very special and I'm honored to have been able to participate virtually. You can tell that the organizers are very passionate about what they do.

    January 2022
  • Amir Ahmad Kheiri

    So happy to participate in the festival

    December 2021