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The logo for UNICA 2012.
the festival where nations compete from 25th August - 1st September 2012


At UNICA each national federation presents a programme of about an hour's length. The precise time varies according to the land's success in previous years.

The films are publicly discussed and evaluated by a jury. It is a fascinating chance to see what interests non-commercial film makers in different parts of the world.

There is also the World Minute Movie Cup - a knockout contest for 60-second movies, which is decided by audience vote.

Outline map of Europe showing UK to Ruse travel.
As Ruse is about 1,800 miles from Britain, the only practical approach is by air - UK Travel suggestions here - though German speakers might consider a cruise down the Danube - click for details.

Ruse is not near the capital city of Sofia or the Black Sea. The town is on the Danube, where the river is the border between Bulgaria and Romania, east and west, European and Cyrillic alphabets …
Ruse (also written as Rousse and Pyce)  is a town of faded grandeur, with an elegance that reflects its past French connections. The communist years were hard on the town but Ruse is starting to regenerate. It is not packed with expensive malls though there are some interesting small shops and boutiques. For visitors not involved with film there is not much else to divert them in the town and its immediate surroundings, though you can relax in one of the many cafes in and around the impressive town square, enjoying great food and drink at good prices. Their salads are to die for! The meat is usually very fresh and grilled to perfection.

Flying from UK

Fly to Bucharest in neighbouring Romania. In Bucharest there are two international airports close together: Baneasa (budget airlines) and Otopeni.

Arrive at one of those on Friday 24th or Saturday 25th August 2012 and the festival has arranged a series of shuttle buses to pick you up and take you the 70km drive to Ruse … a trip from the sophisticated modern city of Bucharest to increasingly rural areas, from streets packed with trams and cars to uneven lanes and bullock carts … and eventually over the border on the Friendship Bridge to Ruse.

Aerial view of Ruse central square. Ruse central square. In the streets of Ruse. Ruse central square. Bridge between Roumania and Bulgaria.


In addition to your travel costs, attendance at all the events, including the opening and closing banquets and excursions will cost 200 Euros (about £172 at December 2011 rates.) What's more you can order now and pay in Euro when you arrive, which saves costly bank transfer charges. Download an application form as a Word document or as a pdf.

Bulgaria, like Britain, is in the EU but retains its own currency. The lev is about half a Euro. Prices are low by British standards. Lonely Planet reckons "You can get a simple meal at a cheap café from as little as 3 lv, and you’re unlikely to spend more than about 15 lv for a main course, even in more upmarket restaurants."

Add a pinch of salt and 50% for 2012 prices.

Red Carpet

World film festivals have the red carpet tradition. Dolled-up celebrities sweep along it, adorned with diamonds and dressed in the least comfortable clothes. Amateur filmmaking usually goes without such fireworks. Still, a little action won't hurt anybody and will help popularise this kind of cinema. So UNICA 2012 opens with a procession which ends on the red carpet in front of the cameras of the paparazzi. Don't take it seriously. Just enjoy yourselves.

We gather at 7 pm on 25 August 2012 at the east end of the central pedestrian zone. The town's brass band and cheerleaders will lead the procession 300 metres to the red carpet. Each national delegation will have a banner and they will be in alphabetical order. It would be great if one or more of us wore traditional outfits or elements of them. We will enter the cinema in the same order … after the red carpet pictures and applause!


During a week-long festival everyone needs a break, so UNICA 2012 offers two part-day excursions. Details are still under wraps!


Ruse has plenty of hotels and boarding houses, but some still reflect the communist era in their facilities and comforts. The festival team recommend several city centre hotels which offer Western European standards and have negotiated special rates. See hotel details here.

Previous UNICAs ||  UNICA 2012:  official websitehotels | cruise | travel from UK | British films

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