Italy Furious over RAI's Purchase of Bulgarian Scandal-stirring Movie

Society » CULTURE | November 30, 2010, Tuesday // 14:17
Bulgaria: Italy Furious over RAI's Purchase of Bulgarian Scandal-stirring Movie Bulgarian actress, Michelle Bonev, who has been living in Italy for years, stired a scandal with her movie “Farewell to Mom.” Photo by

Bulgarian actor and film producer Michelle Bonev has sold her movie "Farewell to Mom" to Italy's state-owned television company RAI for the price of EUR 1 M, Deutsche Welle reported.

The publication in Deutsche Welle is based on the Italian newspapers "Il Fatto Quotidiano" and "La Republica."

The movie, which has not been presented in Italy or Bulgaria, has been bought by RAI at an incredible price, the Italian media reported, adding that RAI is a state-owned company, which operates with money from the Italian taxpayers.

The proposal for the purchase of the movie came at the end of last year. According to the Italian media, the General Director of RAI, Mauro Masi, personally ordered to the administrative director of RAI Cinema at the time, Caterina D'Amico, to purchase Bonev's movie.

D'Amico has stated she had not watched the movie, but the pressure for its purchase came from the highest authorities.

"Why did RAI want to buy the movie, you should ask them. I only did what I was asked to do," she said.

On Monday, movie critic and member of the Bulgarian National Film Center Artistic Committee, Antoniya Kovacheva, said in an interview for the Bulgarian private TV channel bTV that she had no idea how the film ended with the subsidy since in never received the number of points required to even enter the list of movies that could obtain financing.

Kovacheva, however, explained that the code and the rules of the Center allow its director to make personal decisions on the distribution of the funds.

On Tuesday, the NFC Director, Alexander Donev, told bTV that Bonev has received a subsidy of BGN 300,000 in a legitimate way and pointed out that her movie received all the necessary points and was selected first out of three projects.

Recently Italian media staged an attack on Bonev, claiming at the Venice Film Fest she received a "fabricated" award created just for her, and moreover that her participation was sponsored by the Italian government under the influence of Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who was Bonev's friend. The reports triggered demands for the resignation of Italian Minister of Culture Sandro Bondi.

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Tags: Michelle Bonev, Italy, RAI, scandal, Farewell to Mom, Venice, Silvio Berlusconi
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