Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Culture Dismissed

By Pavlina Jeleva

    Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov fired the deputy minister of culture Dimitar Dereliev immediately after a meeting between him and representatives of the film community on Saturday, 11 December 2010.

    The discussion at the meeting covered some of the difficult problems the film industry is facing, including a decline in government funding.

    The Prime Minister qualified Dereliev's activity as "a full mess causing tension on the guild," and declared, "He can no longer occupy the post of deputy minister." At the same time Borissov assured the people working in the film industry of "his full trust in them."

    Shortly after the statement the official web page of the Council of Ministers (http://www.government.bg/) stated, "Dereliev is released from the post because of systematic lack of dialogue and communication with the film industry organisations."

    Short after his appointment to the post in August, 2009 Dereliev promised "decentralization, expansion of the cooperation with NGOs, greater use of the EU funds, creation of a ‘Bulgarian Film' fund, changes in the laws on film industry," and other activities.

    "Unfortunately, none of these happened," Bulgarian filmmakers responded. "On the contrary, Dereliev actively participated in the introducing of the Film Industry Act amendment, voted by the Parliament on 2 December 2010 that practically frees the state from any obligations towards the Bulgarian film production." In numerous declarations to the Prime Minister, the film community expressed its deep disappointment in Dereliev's "lack of vision for saving the national cinema."

    Dimitar Dereliev was director of the National Film Center from 1991 to 1999 and from January 2002 to November 2003. He is known as an active promoter of Bulgarian based producer and film studio Nu Boyana and a member of the company's Board from 2006.

    According to the PM's announcement no new deputy minister for film will be appointed. The acting deputy minister for theatre Mitko Todorov will add responsibility for the film sector to his portfolio.