Bulgarian Documentaries Find Commercial Success

By Pavlina Jeleva

    {mosimage}SOFIA: Bulgarian documentaries have attracted increased public interest since the beginning of 2012, with TV sales and theatrical distributions accompanying festival attention.

    The Boy Who Was a King has lined up TV broadcasts across Europe, A Man and a Nation and A Poet Shoots in His Heart will screen on Bulgarian TV, and Stoichkov is set for theatrical release.

    Shown during the Sofia IFF (www.siff.bg) The Boy Who Was a King, A Man and A Nation and Stoichkov, or immediately after -- A Poet Shoots In His Heart -- the new titles deal with exceptional individuals of national importance.

    Telling the story of ex-King and ex-Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha Andrey Paunov's The Boy Who Was a King (90') was launched nationally by producer Martichka Bozhilova from Agitprop (www.agitprop.bg) as the most expensive CEE documentary of the last 20 years. With an initial budget largely surpassing €500,000, the film received a Bulgarian grant of €75,000 from the NFC (www.nfc.bg) and was supported by Media (ec.europa.eu/culture/media). With the involvement of Channel 4 (www.channel4.com), RTSR (www.rtsr.ch) and YLE (yle.fi), the Bulgarian-German co-production between Agitprop, zero one film (www.zeroone.de) and Bayerische Rundfunk, (www.br.de) The Boy Who Was a King will be broadcast in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Finland and Germany. The 16 mm film will also be theatrically released in Bulgaria, as was Paunov's previous success Georgi and the Butterflies.

    Svetoslav Ovtcharov's A Man and a Nation (115') explores the 35 year leadership of communist dictator Todor Zhivkov. Utilizing photos, chronicles and documents the €74,000 film received €49,000 from the NFC and will be broadcast by BNT (www.bnt.bg).

    Bulgaria's main public channel will also broadcast Anna Goranova's documentary debut A Poet Shoots in His Heart (120') produced by Geopoly (www.geopoly-film.com). The budget of the intimate film on Ivan Radoev, a Bulgarian poet and playwright banned during communism, was €73,000 with the national support of €37,000.

    Another debut, Stoichkov (98') by film journalist Borislav Kolev, shows the career of the popular Bulgarian footballer and legendary striker for Barcelona Hristo Stoichkov. The budget of the film is €110,000 and with national support of €47,000. The theatrical distribution in Bulgaria will start in April. On 10 May 2012 Stoichkov will open the BCN Sports film Festival (www.bcnsportsfilm.org) in Barcelona