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Bulgaria: Low costs, good locations lures producers

Location: Europe 2012 - Bulgaria

There are no tax incentives in Bulgaria, but this year’s $8 million or so public funding includes $6.5 million earmarked for production subsidies with about $1.3 million tagged for supporting minority co-productions.

Long popular with international producers keen to take advantage of its low costs, relatively good production facilities and wide range of locations, Bulgaria has hosted shoots for recent pics including “The Way Back” and “Conan the Barbarian.”

Local films can apply for up to half their budget, or 80% in the case of low-budget movies that meet criteria based on average European movie budgets defined by the European Audiovisual Observatory. Producers are obliged to return 5% of funding after they have recouped their costs.

In 2011, 28 features, including seven co-productions, were completed. The Bulgarian National Film Center backed six features and five feature-length documentaries. Bulgaria is a member of Eurimages, and has co-production treaties with France, Italy, Russia, Israel and Canada.

Nu Boyana Film Studios, headed by David Varod, is Bulgaria’s leading production and service hub, just a 20-minute drive from downtown the capital, Sofia. Complex includes 13 soundstages a backlot that includes standing sets of New York City streets, a Roman town with an amphitheater, wartime Italy, a labor camp, a Middle Eastern street, Japanese dojo, prison, hospital and police station.

Cinemaq in Sofia offers a full range of post-production services including editing, computer animation, vfx and sound mixing and dubbing. Revive Vision Film Studio also offers 2D/3D animation among its post services.

Other post companies include BUFO (Bulgarian Unified Film Organization); Camera; Choukov Bros. Studio; Gala Film; Filmmaker; Kodak Cinelabs Bulgaria; LVT Sofia Digimage; and Soho Production.

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