SOFIA: The Executive Director of Bulgaria's National Film Centre (www.nfc.bg) Alexander Donev resigned on 23 December 2010. Donev was elected to the position in May 2009. It was the second major administrative change in the area of film, following soon after Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov fired the deputy minister of culture Dimitar Dereliev on 11 December 2010.
Donev's resignation came a day after the eight protesting organizations -- Association of the Directors of Photography; Association of Independent Producers; Association of Film Producers; Film Directors Association; Observatory of Cultural Economics; Sound Association; Union of the Bulgarian Film Makers (www.filmmakersbg.org); and Art Fest Foundation (www.siff.bg) -- signed an agreement with the Ministry of Culture (www.mc.government.bg). The agreement required the establishment of a film fund to guarantee additional film funding sources and the nullification of the 2 December 2010 Film Industry Act amendment which severely cut film funding. It also included an article demanding Donev's resignation with the Association of Independent Producers refused to support.Bulgarian filmmakers have been increasingly angry over the over 60% reduction of government funding for the film industry.
Speaking to FNE Donev said: "I decided to resign because I thought it will help the understanding between the protesting filmmakers and the government. I have always tried to find effective solutions to increase the funding of the Bulgarian Film Industry. I never took a position against the establishment of a new Bulgarian Film Fund or against the nullification of the 2. December 2010 Film Industry Act amendment."Protesting filmmakers have also criticized have the decision to grant funding to the debut film Bye, Bye Mamma by Bulgarian/Italian filmmaker Michelle Bonev, who was at the center of a concurrent Italian funding scandal over her trip to the Venice.
Speaking to FNE Donev said that the funding of the Italian-Bulgarian co-production "Goodbye, Mama" (in Bulgarian language, written and directed by the Bulgarian citizen Michele Bonev, financed by RAI Cinema /100% public financing/ in amount of 1 million euro) followed all procedures of the Bulgarian Film Industry Act. The whole amount permitted by the law for financing of minority co-productions for the year 2010 - regarding article 28 of Bulgarian Film Industry Act - was 1 454 400 Bulgarian Lev. The full amount permitted by the Executive Director of the Bulgarian National Film Center to be allocated for the year 2010 was 1 086 100 Bulgarian Lev. Only 50% from the funding granted for Italian-Bulgarian co-production Goodbye, Mama was paid in year 2010. The next 50% installment will be paid 2011. This was the usual procedure for financing new projects by the Bulgarian National Film Center in 2010. The whole amount spent for new foreign minority co-productions for the year 2010 was 390 200 Bulgarian Lev and it was distributed betwen 3 documentaries and 3 feature films. This included the amount spent for Goodbye, Mama.Donev was replaced by a new NFC Executive Director, Irina Kanusheva.