19-02-2021

Bulgarian Cash Rebate Passes Second Parliamentary Vote

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SOFIA: Bulgaria’s cash rebate for film production passed its second Parliamentary vote on 17 February 2021. The vote took place nearly a month later than originally scheduled, following a series of intense public debates between MPs from the Parliamentary Committee on Culture and the Media, the Union of Bulgarian Filmmakers, numerous film associations, film directors and experts. The new legislation will also provide substantial increases in support for Bulgarian film production.

The initial amendments to the country’s 2003 Film Industry Act are intended to divide the total amount of public support of nearly 20 m EUR into two main schemes: one, dedicated to the national film industry and the second to the foreign producers who shoot in Bulgaria. As a start, 8 m EUR are envisaged to finance the 25% cash rebate.

Subject to the amendments, the public support for domestic films will not be less than the previous year's sum of the average budgets of 12 features, 22 feature documentaries, and 250 minutes of animated films. The announcement means a significant increase of the public support, which up to now was equal to 7 features, 14 documentaries, and 160 minutes of animated films.

Shortly after the first parliamentary vote on 4 December 2020 the Union of the Bulgarian Film Makers requested a guarantee of public financing for national film production.

An unexpected surprise came when at the last minute between the two readings, without prior public debate or consultation, the MPs introduced a third public support mechanism for TV series. This segment raised doubts in the film community that the Film Industry Act is aimed at supporting more commercial products than artistic films.

The cash rebates are strongly supported by the Sofia based studios Nu Boyana and UFO, and will come into effect after the publication of the amended Film Industry Act in the country’s Official Journal.