SOFIA: After several years in development, Gueorgui Balabanov's 1.2 million euro fiction debut The File Petrov, a Bulgarian/German/French coproduction is in preproduction with 180,000 euros insupport from Eurimages (www.coe.int/t/dg4/eurimages).
Balabanov who immigrated to France in 1986, co-wrote the script with the contribution of Jean-Claude Carrière. The film will follow the moral dilemma of a fictional theatre actor who during communism suddenly starts to be banned from stage in communist Bulgaria. The man responsible for the actor's professional career ruin is a secret service officer. Far from disappearing during the post-1989 transition period, the same man continues to manipulate his victim.
Known for his unconventional documentaries made in France and most often commissioned by Arte (www.arte.tv/fr), Balabanov wants to explore the survival of the Bulgarian secret service machine after the collapse of communism. Using the character of the actor's daughter character, he brings in the young generation which never knew communism but is obliged to bear its consequences.
The File Petrov is a co-production between Bulgaria's Camera (www.camera.bg), Germany's Ostlicht Filmproduktion (www.ostlicht.de) and France's Arsam International (www.arsam.biz) with national supports from each country. The six weeks shoot will start in the middle of May and will recreate the changing Sofia atmosphere through the past 30 years. The film will be shot entirely on location.
Leading actors Mihail Bilalov (Under Cover) and Hristo Shopov (The Passion of the Christ, Spartacus) will perform the roles of the two ideological opponents. The DoP will be Stefan Ivanov, a Bulgarian living in Canada. The composer will be Mario Schneider from Germany.
French coproducer Ilann Girard (associate producer of Kolya in 1996) said that in order to show "the wheels of the bureaucratic and totalitarian machine," The File Petrov is inspired by The Lives of Others by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
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