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Bulgaria/ 5.3 Sector specific legislation  

5.3.6 Film, video and photography

The main change in the film sector over the past ten years concerns the model of public financing. Funds are now granted to individual film projects, and not to production structures. This provides more equal chances for emerging independent producers who have to compete with the previously monolithic production studios. The main objective is to develop a film industry that is capable of gaining its own share of the domestic market, to gradually meet all-European criteria and to integrate into the European structures and markets for audio-visual products.

The Film Industry Act (2003) regulates the distribution, promotion and exhibition of films throughout the Republic of Bulgaria and defines state support for the film industry, thus creating conditions for its development.

State policy priorities fixed in the Film Industry Act (2003) are:

  • the right of the public to have access to various forms of film creativity;
  • protection of the rights and interests of spectators;
  • support for aspiring talents and young creators;
  • promotion of Bulgarian cinema both throughout the country and abroad; and
  • setting satisfactory conditions for the filming of foreign productions within the country.

The National Film Centre is an Executive Agency being established as an administrative unit of the Minister of Culture. It is a legal body which is funded by the state budget and revenues collected from its own activities. The Agency:

  • supports the creation, distribution and exhibition of Bulgarian films in the country and abroad;
  • drafts bills in the field of film;
  • maintains a register, as provided for under the Film Industry Act; and
  • co-operates with legal persons on a non-profit-making basis, with the professional associations of filmmakers and with the associations collectively administering copyrights in the field of film industry in Bulgaria.

Consultative and expert bodies are being established for the Agency as follows:

  • National Film Council: responsible for drawing up and proposing a national programme for the development of the film industry to the Minister of Culture. The NFC proposes the amount of state support required for implementing the national film policy and proposes an annual quota for the production of first-time Bulgarian films;
  • National Creative Committee: comprised of 9 members, who consider and select film projects to receive state support;
  • National Film Rating Committee: makes proposals to the Executive Director of the Agency on individual ratings for each of the films to be distributed and / or exhibited within Bulgaria;
  • National Technical Committee: evaluates the technical quality of the completed films that were granted state support under the Film Industry Act; and
  • Financial Committee: makes proposals to the Executive Director of the Agency on the amount of state support for each of the projects that have been selected by the National Creative Committee based on expert evaluation.

The State Budget Act provides an annual subsidy to the Agency, the yearly amount of which should not be less than the total of the average budget for the previous year, including: 5 feature films, 10 full-length documentaries and 120 minutes animation, as well as membership fees to international organisations, funds and programmes, and funds to maintain the Agency.

The State Budget Act also stipulates that financial support for the production of Bulgarian films must not be less than 30% of the average budget from the previous year for different types of films and must not exceed 80% of the budget for new projects. 

Financial support for participation in European co-productions can be given up to a maximum of 10% of the production costs, in cases when foreign co-producers have ensured financing for the entire film.

The National Film Council proposes a quota each year to support new Bulgarian films, amounting to no more than 10 percent of the total support for film production.

The Act provides detailed conditions on the state support given to the exhibition and distribution of Bulgarian films and films which have been co-produced with other European countries, or countries with which the Republic of Bulgaria has signed agreements.

The Act also regulates the licensing of film producers and cinemas.

Chapter published: 20-01-2011

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