A refreshing cinema experience in the heart of Sofia
Finding an interesting thing to do in Sofia in the mid-Summer sometimes could be a lost battle, as all the festivals and summer frolic are temporarily localized at the seaside and in the mountainous regions of the country. But, there are always exceptions. And in the best-case scenario, these exceptions are well-tailored to the needs of all those doomed souls that are in a standoff with their vacation and are fated to spend their August days in the city.
One of those exceptions is the Summer Cinema – an open-air cinema event organized daily by the Cultural Center G8 in Sofia, from the beginning of July until the end of September.
The invitation for the movie night out came from a friend of mine who has previously invited me to see a documentary at the same place. I remember that the experience then was quite disappointing – we were all placed in a small regular hall stuffed up with small regular chairs and a 50" TV screen. And on top of that, the projection then turned out to be some kind of a commercial of a Sony LED HDTV (which we paid to watch).
So initially, I was rather skeptical about our second cinema experience at the cultural center. But the Summer Cinema event went unexpectedly well and turned into a refreshing soiree under the stars. The seats this time were nice comfy garden chairs assembled around wooden tables in the backyard of G8, with a plenty of space between them. A friendly guy gave us a warm welcome with an ice-cold Aperol spritz which was obviously included in the price. Then he allocated some headphones and kindly explained how to operate with them. Obviously, the organizers didn't want to bother their neighbors with the noise, as the G8 is surrounded mainly by residential houses.
The movie we saw was "The Salt of the Earth" which beautifully and touchingly tells about the adventurous and tough professional route of photographer Sebastião Salgado. The headphones we received added to the more personalized experience of every visitor, creating a feeling of seclusion and a real immersion into the feature. Beside the Aperol spritz, everyone could order additional food like sandwiches, chocolate and of course the traditional popcorn. And since it was an open air event, some people even indulged themselves with a short cigarette-break.
The tickets at the G8 are quite cheap: compared to the average cinema rates in the Bulgarian capital which stand at around 10 – 12 leva, the G8 fares range between 5 and 8 leva (between 1.8 and 2.9 pounds). The Summer Cinema tickets are 10 leva, though, and a glass of Aperol Spritz is also included in the cinema experience.
In short, about the Cultural Center G8 and its mission – it offers a new cine-ambience to those seeking independent and art movie productions. G8 programme is a solid track of some of the most outstanding European and Bulgarian titles over the last couple of years – like Fatih Akin's award-winning "The Cut", "La Grande Bellezza" by Paolo Sorrentino, "Clouds of Sils Maria" with Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart, the nominated for Oscar Estonian-Georgian production "Tangerines", the Bulgarian "The Lesson" and "The Sinking of Sozopol", among others.