Bulgarian Filmmakers Protest in the Streets

By Pavlina Jeleva

    For the fourth time this month film makers gathered en masse in the streets of Sofia on 14 December 2010 protesting the latest financial restrictions on public support.

    The demonstrations started on 1 December 2010 with a huge rally of intellectuals called "Protest of Awareness." Two days later the film community reacted to the 2 December 2010 amendment to the Film Industry Act, with an open letter to Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. On 9 December, a new rally under the motto "Let's stop the genocide of the Bulgarian Cinema" took place in front of the National Theatre. The culmination came on 14 December when the filmmakers symbolically celebrated the minister of culture's birthday under the open sky.

    Immediately after the demonstration, where the "face of the protests" director Iglika Trifonova (Letter to Amerika, Investigation) delivered an emotional speech, filmmakers had a meeting with Borissov, finance minister Simeon Dyankov and the new deputy minister for film Mitko Todorov (replacing Dimitar Derleiev, who was fired on 11 December). Borissov assured the filmmakers he would "open a new and constructive dialogue" and create an expert committee to redefine Bulgaria's cultural policy and establish an adequate legal framework.

    "Now, we are more optimistic than before, because finally dialogue between us and the government has begun. We believe that the new tone will bring the positive results we need," - director Evgeny Mihailov told FNE.

    The next meeting between Borissov and the film community is planned for 21 December.