The Republic of Bulgaria is located on the eastern side of the Balkan peninsula, nestled between Serbia in the west and the Black Sea on its eastern coast. The Republic of Bulgaria adopted a democratic constitution in 1991 and has since become a member of the European Union, NATO, and the Council of Europe.
Like other countries in the region, the Republic of Bulgaria’s terrain features vast plains, rolling hills, and iconic mountain ranges with the Balkan mountains running laterally through the middle of the country. What separates the Republic of Bulgaria from others in the region is the eastern coast along the Black Sea. The biodiversity of the Republic of Bulgaria is considered one of the richest in Europe.
The capital of Sofia is home to many state-of-the-art production and post production studios. As one of the larger production hubs in the area, the Republic of Bulgaria can provide services of a wide range.
Bulgarian architecture has a wide range of influences, from medieval structures to neoclassical buildings. The country’s second largest city, Plovdiv, features Old Town, a living museum to the homegrown Bulgarian National Revival movement. There are also plenty of examples of the always unique Communist architecture; most famously, the UFO of Buzludzha. Around the country you can find examples of Gothic Revival, Baroque, and Neo-Byzantine, as well a flourishing modernist movement.
Because of the emerging film industry, the Republic of Bulgaria offers a variety of film friendly locations. Natural, industrial, institutional, and even historical sites are all possible to work from while maintaining the necessary comforts of a film set.
There are also several large sound stages that can be utilized to keep your production from bouncing around the globe. You can find backlots featuring the streets of New York, London, the Middle East, as well as a variety ancient civilizations. On a given shoot schedule, you can have a vast range of worldwide locations without ever boarding a plane.
FILM PERMITS & PERMISSIONS:
As with many countries in Eastern Europe, with the appropriate budget and contacts, it is possible to arrange filming permits virtually anywhere in the Republic of Bulgaria. With enough lead time, permits are easy to arrange through our local partners.
FILM TALENT, CREWS & EQUIPMENT:
Our local film partners in the Republic of Bulgaria have access to a large pool of experienced crew members (directors of photography, grips, gaffers, hair/make-up, set design, wardrobe) who are fluent in English. The Republic of Bulgaria is home to a wide selection of multilingual, non-union talent on which a production can expect significant savings.
The Republic of Bulgaria also offers top-of-the-line equipment ranging from the latest ARRI, RED Phantom, Sony and Black Magic cameras, professional lenses from Zeiss to Cooke, as well as state of the art grip, electric and rigging gear. Rental houses also have modern trailers for talent, make up and wardrobe trucks, catering vans as well as power generator and lighting vehicles.
The Republic of Bulgaria is also home to several large film studios as well as post-production houses which offer all high-quality post services (editing, sound mix/design, VFX) at highly competitive rates.
FILM COST, TAX INCENTIVES & CO-PRODUCTION OPPORTUNITIES:
There are currently no film tax incentives or rebates in Bulgaria, though a program is currently in development.
ACCOMMODATION & TRANSPORTATION FOR FILMMAKERS
For film productions in the Republic of Bulgaria, large passenger vans, StarWagons, cargo vans and box trucks are also available at affordable rates.
The Republic of Bulgaria offers various modes of transportation from private cars for hire, rental, taxis and public buses and trains. Air travel between major cities is also an affordable option. Depending on the location of your shoot, the road conditions vary from modern highways to less-traveled roads which require additional travel time to navigate.
Lodging is inexpensive, with four star hotels ranging between $83-166/night and lower prices available depending on location and ranking. Most hotels will offer discounts to groups or crews booking an extended stay. Rooms outside of major cities like Sofia tend to be even less expensive. For extended stays, AIRBNB rentals are a cost-effective choice, with inexpensive, high-quality options and friendly hosts.
Individual meals at an expensive restaurant in Sofia cost around $27. A three course meal at a mid-range restaurant costs around $16. Catering for films can be arranged 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
VISAS & TRAVEL ADVISORY FOR FILMMAKERS:
As a member of the European Union, the Republic of Bulgaria follows their rules for travel and entry with countries from the EU having freedom of movement. Passport holders from 62 Non EU countries, including the US, Canada, and Japan can stay for up to 90 days within a 180 day period on a tourist visa. Many other countries, including China and Russia, can apply for a Schengen via ahead of their trip. Click here for more information on the EU visa policy. https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/
The Republic of Bulgaria is currently listed as a “Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions” on the US State Department’s 1 to 4 travel advisory ranking (4 being “Do Not Travel). The Republic of Bulgaria, and its capital Sofia, is very safe for foreign filmmakers and standard vigilance is enough to deter any problems with petty crime.