With its decision of 6 April 2015, the Sofia Administrative Court revoked unlawfull rejection of state funding for an international film co-production. The 'Ovcharov & Parushev' law practice was involved in that litigation effort through legal representation and legal counceling to the applicant, one of the leading film producers in Bulgaria.
The case dealt with unlawfull and ungrounded refusal by the National Film Centre (NFC) to grant state funding for a feature film produced by French, Belgian and Bulgarian producers. The movie treated burning social topics, while it was directed by the most awarded Bulgarian film director and it was quite expeted to be scored as primary choice for 2014 by the Art Commission of the NFC. Worths mentioning that the film's budget of € 1 880 000 euro is the bigest through the history of the Bulgarian film industry. The denied subsidy amounted to only 10 % of the film budget.
That particular court decision is a major precedent in the matter of state aid for film industry in Bulgaria, due to the very nature of the case and thanks to the superb and thorough reasoning by Judge T. Zhilova of the Sofia Administrative Court. The decision provides detiled interpretation of the national Film Industry Act, as well as to the application of the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production and the Agreement on Cinematographic Co-production with France.
The court rules that the NFC cannot stand above the law and in that respect the NFC is no different then any other national authority. The NFC must abide the law, must provide reasoning to all of its acts and to follow established proceedures and requirements that are known to all applicants in advance. Any change of the competition rules later in the proceedure shall be considered unlawfull. Non-written requirements and customs cannot lead to deniel of funding.
Through that court decision and thanks to the efforts of the O&P lawyers, on 2 July 2015 the NFC granted state subsidy to the production.
Update: The film première is expected in 14 October 2015 simultaniously in Paris and Sofia and will be distributed under the title 'Face Down' or 'Tête bassée''. The film received it's first honour at the 'Golden Rose' festival - the best director award.
(the case was supervised by Svilen Ovcharov, partner)