International Festival
of Red Cross and Health Films
June 13 - 21, 2019


Dear organizers,

Dear participants and guests,

The International Festival of the Red Cross and Health Films has an important mission in today's troubled world - to show us that virtues such as charity, solidarity, generosity are not extinct. Cultural initiatives like this one, with such a global and humanitarian charge, are the light that blinks fast, reminding us not to forget the human in ourselves. We need this light today, when we breathe under the burden of a host of problems, with alienation establishing a lasting presence in the human relationships.

For me it is a great honour and privilege once again to be a patron of such a festival with a long tradition, which will gather for the eighteenth time distinguished participants from Bulgaria and all over the world and which will draw the interest and attention of a vast audience to a number of current-day challenges.

There are many crises troubling the world today, but the worst is the crisis in the decline of human values. More than ever, we need the good example that can restore our faith in humanity. Humanity does not know borders, it opens the strongest doors, and it solves even the worst of problems. Most importantly, it brings people closer together. And this is what the International Festival of the Red Cross and Health Films also does.

Through the magic of art, we will have the opportunity to experience together a colourful palette of emotions, to witness the hardship of all those dedicated to human salvation and welfare, of those who have made their choice – forgetting themselves while caring for the others.

Best of luck for the XVIII International Festival of the Red Cross and Health Films!


To the organizers and the participants in the 18th International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

On the occasion of the 18th International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films, please accept my most sincere congratulations and wishes for good health and creative inspiration.

As an interesting event, already approved in the cultural calendar of Varna, the Festival attracts every year more and more participants from all over the world, by provoking the interest of the young people to the volunteering and goodness as a mode of life!

I am certain, that the theme of this next in turn edition - “Aggression, Humanity, Cinema”, is going to attract, once more, a lot of connoisseurs of the films, taking part in the competition program.

I want to congratulate the organizers for their efforts and enthusiasm, because due to the International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films, the social and the cultural life in the sea-capital of Bulgaria acquires a new nuance.

My best regards,

Ivan Portnih
Mayor of Varna

The International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films, restored 5 years ago thanks to the joint efforts of the Bulgarian Red Cross and the Medical University of Varna, is becoming an increasingly high-profile cultural event, enjoying a worldwide prestige.

I would like to thank the Vice-President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mrs. Iliana Iotova, for taking on the honorary patronage of the 18th edition of the Festival, which we accept as a high recognition of our efforts to facilitate, through humanism and art, the solving of current social and health issues within the society.

An undeniable contribution to the current successful development of the Festival has been made by its Director, Mr. Ilko Raev, and his team, to whom I am deeply grateful. By his reputation and world-renowned professionalism, the highly esteemed film critic and historian Prof. Bozhidar Manov, Artistic Director of the Festival, has attracted some of the most valuable productions and artists in the world of filmmaking to join the programme.

I do believe that the 18th International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films - Varna, 2019, featuring more than 35 foreign participants, will carry forward the tradition and will successfully build on our achievements in promoting the profound humanitarian causes of the Red Cross.


The International Red Cross and Health Films Festival –
a Festival Directed Towards Eternal Human Values

In the far 1965, for the first time in our maritime capital, the idea was realized for an international festival of the Red Cross and health films – a festival directed toward the global and eternal values, which remain intransient in time.

Today, 54 years later, the pages of history multiply and we from the Medical University of Varna together with the Bulgarian Red Cross continue on the road to one common goal – our ambition is to show the best movies featuring topical health and humane issues, outcomes of medical and Red Cross organisations. Thanks to our joint efforts we managed to revive the interest not only in art but in its undeniable role and contribution to educating people in the spirit of humanity, solidarity and mutual assistance.

During these years, the festival turned into an inseparable part of the cultural agenda of Bulgaria and Europe. Through the means of culture it enhances the interest of the young people in humane values, which are part of the modern way of life. With this year’s 18th issue, we will pursue our main goal – to make our everyday thinking more flexible and use the power of cinematography in order to prove that the road of a peaceful world has its beginning in humanism.

More than at any other time, the increase of natural and social disasters has placed the Medical Univesity of Varna and the Bulgarian Red Cross in an extremely crucial position of global importance. The films on these topics, shown and discussed at the festival, alarm our society and make it committed to these problems.

As an educational and scientific institution, the Medical University of Varna has its commitment to society at large. I am convinced that this year the event will be meet with serious interest by the audience and the halls will be full of viewers because people are increasingly aware that we have to appreciate the intransient human values such as good-heartedness, charity and humanity and do our best to assert them. Only in this way, the problems of the modern world can be solved through education, science and culture.

Prof. Krasimir Ivanov, MD, PhD, DSc
Medical University “Prof. Dr. Paraskev Stoyanov” - Varna

Dear Friends of the Festival!

The International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films reached the age of 54!

The Festival experienced both glorious and difficult years.

Founded in 1965 as a Review of Red Cross and Health Films, the Festival turned into the only one for that time international film festival in Bulgaria to be given Category A. The Festival screens hosted the most prestigious works of the cinema art; it enjoyed the participation of significant international and Bulgarian names of the Red Cross Movement, of the cinema and the medicine; it became a forum, where contemporary topical items were discussed.

This is the ambition that led us to restore the Festival after it was forgotten for almost a quarter of a century. On the background of already numerous cinema events in Bulgaria, we managed to preserve the characteristic spirit of the International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films as a forum of humanity; this year we attracted the attention of above 3 200 films from more than 120 countries to apply to participate in the Festival; the attention of experts in humanity, cinema, medicine to take part in the urgent topical items discussions.

Ilko Raev
International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films

Dear audience,

Dear participants and guests of the 18th International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films,

Not surprisingly, I turn first to the audience, because they are the most important element in the existence and regular holding of each film festival. The spectators, their interests and expectations are the leading motive for the complex organization of such a cultural event and yet they are the most loyal appraiser of its value as a film program, side-activities and concurrent events. The Varna audience is particularly well prepared and competent, as many similar film festivals have been held in the city for many years.

We have always been aware of these circumstances, so when the festival grounds had to be moved from the Sanatorium and Healing Complex “Kamchiya” to Varna, we did our best to take this change into account. On the other hand, the calendar transfer from September to June shortened the preparation time and put additional pressure on the organization of the 18th edition of festival.

Despite these objective difficulties and the usual financial constraints, we tried to offer the demanding Varna audience and the guests of the city valuable days and hours in the cinema halls as well as during the lectures and discussions within the discussion panel. Some of the most competent Bulgarian analysts and in-depth commentators will present their views on the universal and always up-to-date topic "Aggression, Humanity, Media". The feature and documentary films of the competition selection will offer the audience a variety of topics and fascinating stories made with respectable artistry. The selection of Red Cross and Health Films will also animate on the screen interesting scientific aspects of medicine and current social issues, with different geographic addresses of their authors and participating countries.

Not less important are the informal contacts in the daily communication of the film authors - participants in the program with the viewers, with their colleagues - cinematographers, accredited journalists and all guests. Because the true meaning of every such festival is the creative atmosphere of a useful working holiday! We hope to make it together during the five festival days of June 2019.

Good luck!

Prof. Dr. Bozhidar Manov
Artistic Director
International Festival of Red Cross and Health Films