SOFIA: Bulgaria’s National Film Center has decided to cut by nearly half the total funding available to new film projects applying for support in 2016. The main reason for reduced funding for new applicants is the backlog of older, previously approved projects that have announced that they plan to go into production in 2016.
The total annual budget of the national institution is 6,749,053 EUR / 13,200,000 BGN with 5,399,242 EUR / 10,560,000 BGN dedicated to film production. But only 2,502,774 EUR / 4,895,000 BGN from this amount will be allotted for new projects this year. The rest of the money will be used for the financing of previously approved projects, which did not enter into production.
Under the existing Bulgarian two-tier system a project can receive the approval of the NFC expert selection committee but NFC financing gets a green light only when the producer of the film has 100% of the budget in place.
Acting director Kamen Balkanski foresees only one grant contest for features, documentaries and animated films, cancelling a second planned call in 2016. The regular calls for coproductions, which according to the Film Industry Act have to be four, will be also reduced to two with the funding amounting to 74,137 EUR /145,000 BGN and 76,694 EUR /150,000 BGN, respectively.
„We are facing a serious deficiency of financial resources at the moment, which leads us to a strong reduction of our budget. At the same time we are starting a revision of the Film Industry Act in order to renew it and allow a better fluency of the film process”, Kamen Balkanski told FNE.
For the first time the NFC introduces two formats for feature films. The first one is for projects with budgets higher than 307,000 EUR / 600,000 BGN, and the second for projects with budgets lower than this amount. The total amount for the first format will be 1,201,536 EUR / 2,350,000 BGN while the second will be 255,646 EUR / 500,000 BGN.
Debut features will receive production grants totaling 178,952 EUR / 350,000 BGN, short films 102,258 EUR / 200,000 BGN, documentaries 281,211 EUR / 550,000 BGN, and the same amount will be allotted to animated films. The development funding will be 51,129 EUR / 100,000 BGN.