The cultural agencies and institutes have elaborated a long-lasting and fruitful collaboration with both the public and private sector in culture. The cooperation projects vary from traditional forms of artistic exchange (e.g. exhibitions, workshops, performances, touring etc.) to research and cultural policy development.
In Bulgaria, the most important cultural agencies that cooperate internationally are: Institut culturel Français et de cooperation, Goethe Institut, British Council, Instituto Cervantes (opened in 2005), Polish Institute in Sofia, Czech Centre. They are active in the field of language education, promoting artists from the representing country, supporting the public and non-governmental sectors in the field of social development, education and the arts. Some of the cultural institutes develop projects in the field of science and cultural heritage, and support vulnerable groups and maintain the diversity in arts.
This active collaboration between the cultural agencies and the public at multiple levels brings the Bulgarian cultural sector closer to the European values and acts as both a bilateral and multilateral instrument of cultural diplomacy.
While performing its main tasks in cultural diplomacy, the Ministry of Culture works in close collaboration with, among others, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National UNESCO Commission and foreign representatives (e.g. embassies, consulates, cultural institutes).
Bulgaria has eleven cultural institutes abroad, which were established as a result of bilateral agreements. They are situated in European capital cities: Berlin, Bratislava, Budapest, London, Prague, Moscow, Skopje, Warsaw, Vienna (the Haus Wittgenstein), Paris and Rome.
The State Institute for Culture with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was established in 2006 as an instrument of cultural diplomacy. Its main activity is related to the formulation of the Ministry’s policy in the field of international scientific, cultural and education cooperation as priorities of Bulgaria’s foreign policy. Among the main goals of the institute are to take part in creating a positive image of contemporary Bulgaria with a rich, ancient and dynamic culture, that contributes to the processes of intercultural dialogue and international cultural cooperation.
In 2017, as a member of the Council of Europe, Bulgaria signed the Convention on Cinematographic Co-production. Its goal is to encourage and develop international cinematography production in specific terms.
The Law on Film Industry guarantees state funding in the field of film production for projects selected in competition by the National Art Commission. It also guarantees funding for films in co-production with country members of the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production and other countries. Bulgaria signed an agreement regarding film and the audiovisual field with France, Canada, Israel, Italy, Russia and Turkey. According to the Film Industry Act the state support for films with a foreign co-producer may not exceed 20 percent of the film production budget.
Bulgarian artists are actively participating in the programs of EU Erasmus+ and Creative Europe. The Mobility Programme of the National Culture Fund provides financial support for transnational exchange. Bulgarian cultural professionals participate in international co-working and networking forums thanks to those programs. The Mobility Programme, for example, finances the travel costs of Bulgarian artists and cultural representatives to participate in international cultural forums or foreign artists visits in the country.