Sofia: Bulgaria clears sale of film studios to US company Nu Image

The government agency handling privatization has given final clearance to a much-delayed sale of Bulgaria's film studios to Nu Image Bulgaria, a unit of U.S.-based Nu Image/Millennium Films, the agency said Monday.

Nu Image last June won a government tender for a 95-percent stake in Boyana Film Studios, with a bid of 12.2 million leva (Ђ6.2 million; US$7.5 million) and a pledge to invest another 30.5 million leva (Ђ15.6 million; US$18.8 million) in the studios.

The deal was postponed several times, mainly because of protests by many Bulgarian filmmakers. They contend that selling the studios to a producing company would mean other producers would have no access to the facility and that that would put an end to Bulgaria's cash-strapped film industry.

Boyana Film owns a large compound near Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, and offers complete services for movie and TV production. It has recently drawn many foreign film crews, including Nu Image productions, offering clients low prices and skilled labor.

Nu Image Bulgaria is producing mainly U.S. movies shot in Bulgaria, but has said it will also produce Bulgarian movies, the AP reported. Last year, Hollywood director Brian De Palma shot a large part of his new movie, "The Black Dahlia," featuring two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank, near Sofia.