PRODUCTION INCENTIVES: With Brian De Palma’s Bulgarian-shot “Black Dahlia” shining the spotlight on the country’s film services industry, policymakers are beginning discussions on film incentives to keep the movies coming. The only (minor) funding for films goes to national production. However, foreign producers may apply for VAT return on purchases and rentals, which can bring a savings of around 18%. This East European sleeper film industry has been slowly but steadily on the rise, due in part to some of the cheapest prices in the area (estimated at 20% lower than in neighboring Romania, and 50% cheaper than U.S. costs of labor and materials).
There’s also the local presence of “Dahlia” producers, L.A.-based NuImage, which, despite foot-dragging from the newly elected government, is in the process of strengthening its Bulgarian base with the purchase of the former state-owned studio Boyana. NuImage’s local rep, David Zarod, says the shingle plans to invest more than E15 million ($19 million) in Boyana within the next year, and will be reaching out to Bulgarians for co-productions by offering deep discounts on studio rentals and services.
- Boyana Film: Web: boyanafilm.bg; Email: director@ boyanafilm.bg; Contact: Evgeny Michailov, exec director
- NuImage: Email: office@ nuimagebg.com; Contact: David Zarod, exec producer
- Stillking: Web: stillking.com; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Contact: Jeff Rank
- Sofilm: Web: sofilm.net; Email: email@example.com; Contact: Patrick Sandrin
“Vatanen’s Hare,” based on the Finnish novel by Arto Paasilinna and helmed by Marc Riviere, is an apt example of Bulgaria’s current ability to attract European productions, particularly from France and Italy. Local partner was Patrick Sandrin of Sofilm, which frequently acts as the Bulgarian link for co-productions and also brings in private funding.
Other production partners on the Christopher Lambert starrer include Belgium’s Artemis Prods., France’s Gaumont, Canal Plus and France 2 Cinema.
When a planned Canadian shoot fell through on “Vatanen’s Hare,” Bulgaria got the job.