Bulgaria cuts film funding

By Pavlina Jeleva

    Bulgaria will reduce public film funding in 2010 to €4 million instead of €9,.5 million. The Bulgarian Parliament (www.parliament.bg) approved a mid-year revised budget, the first since 1997, which according to the Council of Ministers (www.government.bg) should reduce the country's €1 billion gap to a deficit of only €250 M.

    A further reduction of 20% is to be made by the end of 2010.

    The film community has rejected the film subsidy cut decided by the Ministry of Culture (www.mc.government.bg) , saying that the cultural cuts are disproportionate and "will kill the film industry in Bulgaria." The cuts come ironically as Bulgarian film has started to have an impact internationally, with several recent films receiving prestigious awards.

    The National Film Center (www.nfc.bg) proposed that producers who have signed agreements for financial support postpone their shootings until 2011 or agree to a 50% reduction in financial support. The additional announcement that "no projects will be selected during the second half of the year by the commissions of the NFC" came as a second blow to filmmakers.

    After his election in May as president of the Union of the Bulgarian Filmmakers (www.filmmakersbg.org), film director Georgy Stoyanov blamed the government for the "liquidation of the Bulgarian film industry, possessing over 80 years of history." He added, "The film process will be totally blocked because no new films -- especially debuts -- will be produced. In addition to all of this, the promised Film Fund still does not exist!"