INTERNATIONAL JURY OF IFF “LOVE IS FOLLY”
President of the Jury
Irmena Chichikova is a Bulgarian actress, born in Plovdiv. She is fluent in English, French and Bulgarian, also speaking Russian and has studied Greek philology. Irmena graduated from the National Academy for Theatre and Film under the tutelage of professors Mladenova and Dobchev, leading drama directors in Sofia. Quickly established herself as one of the most promising young theatre actresses, winning the most prestigious ASKEER award in her first year after graduating, for best female actor. Followed by numerous other prestigious nominations she jumpstarted her theatre career with more than 15 plays in the span of 4 years.
In 2012 Irmena was chosen to play the leading role in I Am You, the epic of veteran film director Peter Popzlatev, picking up a joint best female award at the Bulgarian Film Academy Awards.
In 2013, Maya Vitkova selected Irmena to play the part of Boryana in her hugely successful film Viktoria, becoming the first Bulgarian film to be in World Dramatic selection at Sundance 2014 and garnering recognition in more than 40 elite film festivals, plus US and European distribution.
In the next few years, Irmena continued shooting in numerous short and feature, as well as TV, productions: Omnipresent by Iliyan Djevelekov, 8’19” omnibus based on Georgi Gospodinov’s short stories and directed by Oscar nominee Theodore Ushev, and the 68th Berlinale hit film Touch Me Not by Adina Pintilie winning both Best First Feature and Golden Bear. Her most recent film projects include: The Bra by Veit Helmer, A Dose of Happiness by Yana Titova and a leading role in Letters from Antarctica by Stanislav Donchev, as well in the upcoming Phi 1.618 by Theodore Ushev.
Hungarian director of three feature films, known for their dramatic and absurd, funny handling of problems in relationships and life crises. His first movie, Intimate Headshot (2009), became a great critical and audience success in Hungary, receiving the First Feature Film award at the Hungarian Film Week.
His second film, Our Women (2012), became the most watched Hungarian movie of the year in Hungary. With this film, he participated in the Love is Folly Film Festival in Varna in 2013, winning the Special Award of The Jury. He also produced his third film, Now Is Now (2019), which is currently on the international festival circuit, having won several awards worldwide.
Mihails has been working at the Media, Entertainment and Sport sector for over 15 years. His professional career took him to such companies as Discovery Channel and UEFA Champions League. Currently he is bringing European movies to the Baltic states and tries to expend the outreach of modern Balkan cinema to the world.
Mihails has a Bachelor degree in Economics, Politics and Philosophy from Oxford University and a Masters in Business Administration from London Business School.
Paavo Westerberg is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed film director, screenwriter, theatre director and playwright. Westerberg has worked as a screenwriter for the feature films The Violin Player (2018), Princess (2010), Frozen City (2006), and Frozen Land (2005), as well as for the television drama Fragments (2003).
Paavo Westerberg has won the Jussi Award for the best Script in 2007 and 2006 for the films Frozen City and Frozen Land. Westerberg also wrote and directed the television drama Latent Heat (2010), which was nominated for the Prix Italia Award.
The Violin Player (2018) was Westerberg’s debut as a major film director. The film has been chosen for over 20 international film festivals and made its international debut in the main competition category in Göteborg film festival in Sweden. The film won the Grand Prix award “Golden Aphrodite” and the Critics’ Guild Award at the 27th edition of IFF Love Is Folly International film festival 2019 in Varna.
Westerberg is one of the leading theatre directors in Finland. He is a resident playwright at the Finnish National Theatre and he has written and directed almost 25 plays. Westerberg has a master’s degree in Theatre and lives in Helsinki.
A cultural journalist. He writes for Polish, American,Canadian and Swedish media. He was nominated for the PISF Award in film criticism. He started as an editor in Onet. Then he worked in Stopklatka and eventually ended up as its editor in chief. After quitting he worked as a freelance journalist. He is conducting interviews for the most popular Polish morning programs. He hosts premieres of the movies, and Q&A sessions at film festivals. He covered the most important film festivals all over the world. He conducted interviews with the most prominent people from the cinema world. He is a lecturer in Warsaw Film School.