New Series Compete on Bulgarian Market

By Pavlina Jeleva

    SOFIA: Public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television (www.bnt.bg) and the largest private broadcaster BTV (www.btv.bg) are both behind major advertising campaigns for their new competing series: The English Neighbor (BNT) and Seven Hours Difference (BTV). Both of them are based on scripts inspired by migration problems and written by Bulgarian authors.

    In the eccentric comedy The English Neighbor (based on Mikhail Veshim‘s popular novel) a retired chemist from the UK marries a Bulgarian woman and moves from London to a fictional village near Sofia. In the family saga Seven Hours Difference (based on true stories) members of several Bulgarian families move to New York and divide their lives between two continents. "People, living outside of their native countries gradually become a strangely attractive, particularly human tribe," said actress Maria Statulova playing the role of a middle aged Armenian woman in Seven Hours Difference.

    Directed by established Dotcho Bodjakov The English Neighbor was shot during the summer of 2010. In the beginning of 2011 BNT gave priority to the highly rated detective series Under Cover, delaying the broadcast start date for the four parts series. The role of the Englishmen is played by the popular British TV star Leslie Grantham, known from the UK Eastenders TV series. His Bulgarian wife is played by Iren Krivoshieva, an immigrant to the US herself. BNT announced the average budget of each part "in accordance with the officially accepted common tariffs,, meaning not more than €177,500 per episode.

    Half of the 28 episodes for the first season of Seven Hours Difference have been completed. According to Global Films (www.globalfilms-bg.com), co-producer of BVT, the average amount of the series produced per day is 14 minutes. The scriptwriting is divided between the Sofia publicist Lyuben Dilov Jr. and Milena Fuchedzhieva who lived in the US for 16 years. The series is directed by Magardich Halvadzhiyan and the name cast includes Vanya Tsvetkova, another actress who immigrated to the US in the 1990's.

    BTV has not announced the budget of the series, but independent media experts estimate it at over €1.5 million per season.