Bulgarias Nu Boyana Studios, Home of The Hitman’s Bodyguard, Launches Crew Training Courses (EXCLUSIVE)

Nu Boyana Film Studios, the Bulgarian production facility where Hollywood blockbusters including “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” and “The Expendables” were shot, has re-launched its production training initiative Film Forge.

The first course, a week-long workshop in production design, launches on March 7 with another one for camera, grip and lighting assistants set to follow (dates TBC). Nu Boyana’s CEO Yariv Lerner says he plans for Film Forge to offer at least one course a month across all departments including set building, props, sculpting, painting, carpentry, and design.

Although not free (a week-long intensive course starts at around €150 ($166) and runs to €8,000 ($8,800) for a full short film course) Film Forge’s courses are intended to give participants real-world, practical experience to get people into the film industry including training on real sets. “They are designed to get students working ASAP,” Lerner tells Variety.

Nu Boyena also recruits heavily from the courses, which are run in association with The Bulgarian Film Commission and B2Y Productions.

Lerner is keen to emphasize that the courses are open to pretty much anyone interested in working on a set and that long resumes are not a requirement. “Anyone with a heartbeat and a negative COVID test,” he says jokingly.

The courses are based at Nu Boyena’s production facility in Bulgaria but international students are welcome.

Nu Boyena, which is owned by LA-based Millenium Media, first launched Film Forge in 2015. It ran for four years before shutting down in 2019.

With crew shortages across Europe, however, caused by the combination of the pandemic and a production boom, the need for below-the-line workers has reached critical mass.

“You can have the best equipment in the world, the most money, the best cast but without a qualified crew to facilitate the vision of the creatives, there is nothing,” Lerner wrote in an open letter re-launching the course. “This is being realized more and more so in the industry due to the voracious demand of content from the emerging streaming market. Qualified crew are getting harder and harder to come by and as a result, rates are soaring through the roof without a thought as to who is the best person for the job at hand.”

Prospective applicants can visit FilmForge.org.

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