Bulgarian Parliament Changes the Film Industry Act

By Pavlina Jeleva

    SOFIA: An amendment to Bulgaria's Film Industry Act has provoked a wave of protest from Bulgarian filmmakers. The amendment paves the way for the reduction of funding for film production.

    On 2 December the Bulgarian parliament amended the article from the 2003 Film Industry Act which stated the annual amount of the public support for film "can not be less than the average budget amount from the previous year, respectively of 7 features, 14 full length documentaries and 160 minutes animation." This was modified by the addition of the words "if possible" and "up to." It now states that "if possible" the films supported during one year will be "up to 7 features, up to 14 full length documentaries and up to 60 minutes of animation." The amendment was introduced in the 2011 State Budget Law.

    Numerous professional associations protested the amendment in writing, stating that "nothing for film is really guaranteed for 2011 and beyond." The Ministry said that in the conditions of a highly restricted budget for culture as a whole, the Parliament had the right to introduce changes, if considered indispensible.

    Shortly before being dismissed from his post of deputy cultural minister Dimitar Dereliev last week publicly announced that the Ministry was not informed about the change and that new legislation will regulate the film sector in 2011. Dereliev was an active advocate of the idea Bulgaria to introduce a 25% tax incentive for the services for foreign films shot in the country. After dismissing him, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov approved the idea that the future of the Bulgarian film industry must be openly and publicly discussed with professional organizations.