Bulgarian Filmmakers Appeal for Faster Reform

By Pavlina Jeleva

    SOFIA: Georgy Stoyanov, the president of the Union of the Bulgarian filmmakers, has expressed concern about delays in the adoption of a new policy for the national film sector.

    Following a public statement made by Bulgaria's Minister of Culture Vezhdi Rashidov the filmmakers met at the Union on 14 June 2011. Rashidov had said that public support for film should reach nearly €6.7 million in 2011 and €8.5 million in 2012. "The theatre and cinema industry are doing well at the moment, and you can hardly buy tickets for performances and film screenings" Rashidov stated in the parliament.

    However, Stoyanov claims that the Ministry "has no intention to fulfill" a 22 December 2010 agreement in partnership with protesting film organizations for urgent reforms of the film industry rules. Stoyanov specifically points to the lack of any official statement following the 31 March 31 2011 Constitutional court decision which nullified a controversial amendment to the Film Industry Act, calling it "most alarming." He called on the film community "to be serious and urge the institutions to firm decisions." Stoyanov added, "The experts groups already appointed by the Council of Ministers should immediately start their work on the preparation of a national Film and Audiovisual Strategy."

    Pointing our that the actual debts of the National Film Center are nearly €10 million, acting director of the Bulgarain Film Commission Irina Kanusheva described 2011 as critical. "The public amount would only partially solve our problems. In this situation I do not see any selective session for new projects before next October, and this under the condition that we receive the total of the amount. I will do my best to make a session possible, because the opposite would mean that Bulgaria would block its own film production."

    The deadline of the Union of the Bulgarian Film Makers for proposals on the Film and Audiovisual Strategy coming from its members is 21 June 2011. The filmmakers have decided to propose to the government a commonly approved draft for public discussion. After months of protests they have strengthened their resolve that "their fate must not be decided without them."