Early Bird International Student Film Festival is the biggest Bulgarian forum dedicated to support the creation of student short films. For more than nineteen years the Festival is fully devoted to help young filmmakers to reach their audience.


The Festival was created by the American Foundation for Bulgaria in 2005 as a continuation of the successful initiative of the Foundation to support university students film projects .The original festival concept was created by Mr. Alexey Hristov – Manager of AFB - branch Bulgaria and Prof. Ph.D. Stanislav Semerdjiev – rector of NATFA and Executive Director of CILECT (The International Association of Film and Television Schools).

With its second edition Early Bird became international.To date, he has built a network of filmmakers from more than 90 countries and has more than 1,600 films in its Official  Selection.

The unique and very special feature of the Festival is that the President of the Jury is the student who won the Grand Award at the previous edition of the Festival. 

Over the years members of the jury and official guests  were some outstanding professionals like Emil Hristov, Teddy Moskov, Rangel Valchanov, prof. Rolf Ortel (Austria), prof. Maria Dora Mourão (Brazil), prof. Zviad Dolidze (Georgia), Oscar award winners Ronald Harwood (for best adapted screenplay for the film “The Pianist”) and Scott Hiller, British scriptwriter Roger Gregory and his US colleague John Bernstein, two-time Oscar award winner Florian Gallenberger, professor Bulent Kucukerdogan (Turkey), Kalin Ivanov – three-time EMMY Award winner cinematographer, filmmaker and producer, the director of Kino proba Film Festival Lilia Nemchenko (Russia), the President of  UNATC Senate Doru Nitescu (Romania), the acting teacher Doina Weber (Germany), the writer and director Georgi Tenev (Bulgaria), the Boston-based producer, director and actress Elika Portnoy (USA), Vladimir Todorov (Bulgaria) a film concept artist, author and illustrator, and many others.


Main goal of the Festival  has always been to present the specific point of view of the young filmmakers and their bold opinion on the topics of the day in order to preserve a visual record of what excites them. In 2020, when the world was on pause, the Festival changed its rules for the first time with a Special Quarantine Edition, provoking artists to participate with films created during or inspired by the Covid-19 quarantine.

In effort  to be useful to the filmmakers Early Bird ISFF has special educational modules. Every year the Festival organizes Master classes and Workshops - a place for discussions and exchange of experience between proven professionals in different spheres and the future ones.

Apart from the international Competition program the Festival has special programs and additional screenings of new Bulgarian films and film selection from partnering festivals and organizations.