Head of Bulgarian Film Center Falls Victim of Fatal Actress

Culture | December 23, 2010, Thursday // 17:20|  views

Alexander Donev's resignation has been accepted. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's Culture Minister Vezhdi Rashidov has accepted the resignation handed by Alexander Donev, head of the Bulgarian National Film Center, on Thursday.

Donev resigned as a result of the notorious "Michelle Bonev" scandal. He is the second "victim" of the two major issues, after Bulgaria's Deputy Culture Minister, Dimitar Derelviev, was recently dismissed.

The turmoil involving Bulgarian born actress and director Michelle Bonev, was initiated by Italian media, which claimed that she received a "fabricated" award created just for her at the Venice Film Fest for her movie ā€˛Farewell to Mom".

Moreover, her participation was allegedly sponsored by the Italian government under the influence of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is Bonev's friend. The reports triggered demands for the resignation of Italian Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi.

Further, Italian and Bulgarian media questioned the source of financing a 40-strong Bulgarian delegation at Venice led by the Minister of Culture, Vezhdi Rashidov.

Alexander Donev was also involved in the scandal, as it turned out that he has financed Bonev's movie with BGN 300 000 from the state budget.

Meanwhile, financing of Bulgarian filmmaking is in crisis after the parliament amended the formula for production support. Changes to the Film Industry Act in the beginning of December have released the Bulgarian government from keeping funding at last year's level. Up to 7 motion pictures, up to 14 documentaries and 160 minutes of animation are allowed each year, and the state will finance the projects "if possible".

This has sparked a wave of protests by a coalition of film and arts bodies outside the culture ministry and other government offices in Sofia,

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Tags: Alexander Donev, actress, diector, Michelle Bonev, Venice Film Fest, Vezhdi Rashidov

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