Bulgaria Film Locations exhibiting at FOCUS for first time
FOCUS caught up with Gabriel Georgiev, the founder of Bulgaria Film Locations who provide location scouting, management and production services in Bulgaria.
Gabriel what brings you and BULGARIA FILM LOCATIONS to FOCUS?
FOCUS has been on our radar for two years in a row now, but 2018 is the first year we will attend, and as an exhibitor too. Producer friends have been recommending it as the number one production event in Europe. I have attended such events in Asia and find them very effective. I am very much looking forward to taking part in FOCUS in London this year.
What are you hoping to get out of the event and what in particular will you be promoting at FOCUS 2018?
Bulgaria has been a popular filming location for many foreign productions (over 200 feature films and TV-series) since 2002, but I feel that it doesn’t get the proper exposure to the global industry nowadays. Bulgaria is a country that is constantly reshaping, adding many new and interesting locations every year. We do more complex productions now, which really helps the crews to evolve. We would like to present these new locations and possibilities to the industry delegates at FOCUS.
What foreign productions have you provided location and production services for in Bulgaria in the past few years?
Recent projects include US productions Albion: The Enchanted Stallion directed by Castille Landon, starring Jennifer Morrison, Debra Messing and The Hurricane Heist, directed by Rob Cohen, starring Toby Kebbell and Maggie Grace. We also worked on German/Uk documentary The Greatest Race, directed by Jens Monath.
Please tell us briefly what Bulgaria has to offer as a filming destination?
Bulgaria has substantially developed its filming infrastructure over the past five years. A whole new studio with five large stages was constructed in Sofia three years ago. The largest one – Nu Boyana Studio has opened a state-of-the-art underwater filming tank this year, and they are continuously adding more new stages and backlots (New York, London standing sets), including a full hospital practical set (interior and exterior) on its property. The types of productions that have been coming to Bulgaria in the recent years are more challenging in the technical and artistic aspect than five years ago, which has been a great experience for our crews. Among the most recent productions shot in Bulgaria are big titles like – The Hurricane Heist, Hellboy, 300, Hitman’s Bodyguard, London Has Fallen, The Expendables 2, Absentia, to name a few. The natural locations are incredibly diverse, from beautiful sea-shores through picturesque valleys up to snowy mountain peaks, and all this within a three-hour drive on first-class roads. The capital – Sofia can double for the almost any European city, having both classical and modern features. The cost of constructing sets is also very competitive to any other country in the region, and now with a rebate on it’s way, Bulgaria could become an even more attractive filming destination.
Does Bulgaria offer any filming incentives for foreign productions interested in Bulgaria as a location for their next production?
The government has just announced, at the time of this interview, that it is initiating a procedure for endorsing an incentive mechanism for filming in Bulgaria, effective as early as 2019 and with very competitive features. The country already offers a full VAT rebate, and we (as a professional entity) offer free location scouting for any types of productions. I think Bulgaria is a very suitable location for filming both large studio-based, complex productions (“300”, “Hellboy”) and smaller, location-driven ones (like “Albion: The Enchanted Stallion”).
More info at www.bulgariafilmlocations.com