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The Cinema of Small Nations$
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Mette Hjort and Duncan Petrie

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625369

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625369.001.0001

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(p.93) 5. Bulgaria
The Cinema of Small Nations

Mette Hjort

Duncan Petrie

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter examines the wholesale transformation in the Bulgarian film industry since the collapse of Communism in 1989. The coming of capitalism led to the withdrawal of state support for creative industries like film and brought about volatile structural changes that precipitated a crisis in indigenous film production but also created new opportunities for foreign intervention and takeover. Thus parallel industries emerged: one an impoverished small national cinema, the other an international service industry for the global market. The transition impacted negatively on almost every aspect of Bulgarian cinema. In the sphere of production the lack of finance opportunities has made it extremely difficult for local film-makers to function. When films are made they the encounter the problem of an exhibition sector that has suffered from diminishing numbers of screens, coupled with the rise of foreign-owned and controlled multiplexes that has effectively cut off Bulgarian cinema from its audience. Finally the privatisation and sale of the Boyana Film Studio to rather shady American interests has removed the major production facility from local control. Consequently, over the last two decades Bulgarian cinema has been transformed from the Socialist State Centralisation into ‘Carpetbagger Heaven’.

Keywords:   Bulgaria, Eastern Europe, State Socialism, Boyana Studios

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