The BeginningsConstruction began in 1950 and, although the Studios were not fully finished until 1959, shooting began in the late 1950s. At the time of its completion, the Buftea Studios had four stages, one set for mixed indoor-outdoor shooting (under its floor there was a water tank with crystal walls for underwater shootings), and a film processing lab.
Film production during the Communist yearsFrom 1959 until 1989 the Studios produced over twenty films per year winning international recognition at prestigious international film festivals.
- 1957 - Scurtă istorie (A Short History) directed by Ion Popescu-Gopo won ''Palme d'Or'' for Short Films;
- 1965 - Pădurea spânzuraţilor (Forest of the Hanged) directed by Liviu Ciulei won the Best Director Award;
- 1966 - Răscoala (Blazing Winter) directed by Mircea Mureşan won the Best First Work Award;
- 1969 - Cântecele Renaşterii (Rennaissance Songs), a documentary about the Madrigal Choir directed by Mirel Ilieşiu won the ''Palme d'Or'' for Short Films in 1969.
Due to the good technical conditions provided by the studios, many international co-productions were shot here before 1990 (The Baragan Thistles directed by L. Daquin, Codeine and Nameless Star, both directed by Henri Colpi, The Lace Wars), directed by René Clair or Les Guerriers directed by Sergiu Nicolaescu.
The transition to the market economy & developmentIn 1989, after the Romanian Revolution the Studios suffered heavily from lack of funding. Film production diminished dramatically and the number of theaters that stayed open was in free-fall. However, once again, Romanian film directors managed to make their voice heard and gained international recognition.
In 1998 the Studios were purchased at a public auction by MediaPro - the largest media company in Romania. It took them more than a year of intensive renovation to bring back to life all the production facilities. The first important production after 1998 was shot in 2000. Costa Gavras' Amen reestablished the reputation of MediaPro Studios and opened the way for more than 50 international productions.
In the following years, prestigious international filmmakers such as Demi Moore, Cuba Gooding Jr, Josh Hartnett, Woody Harrelson, Melissa Leo, Shia LaBeouf, Franco Zeffirelli, Jeremy Irons, Sissy Spacek, Donald Sutherland, Andy Garcia, Dennis Hopper, Fanny Ardant, Robert Carlyle, Dolph Lundgren, Bob Hoskins, Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton or Olivier Martinez set foot in the Studios.
As for prestigious productions shot at the Studios, we can mention Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas), French nominee at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes, Sex Traffic, which won 9 BAFTA awards, The Cave, a science fiction horror film, An American Haunting, Bunraku, The Whistleblower, Assassination games, The Timber, Blood and Chocolate,The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman or The Zero Theorem directed by Terry Gilliam.
In this period, the range of services was diversified to include television. Working with Central European Media Enterprises, MediaPro Studios and its sister company, MediaPro Pictures, produced the first local sitcom, Neighbors Forever, in 2002, as well as the first local soap-opera (Only Love, 2004). Neighbors Forever was on the air for 13 seasons, a record for Romanian TV series. The television production portfolio includes many other soap-opera and sitcoms, a police series, the first Romanian teen soap opera One Step Ahead, A bet with life, Regina and dozens of TV movies.
Starting 2009, the Studio became part MediaPro Entertainment, the content creation and production arm of Central European Media Enterprises, the region's largest content creator and distributor. The Studio provides services for a wide range of projects from feature films, television series and miniseries, music videos, commercials, advertising or even special events.
A new beginningIn 2015, a group of investors – formed by important film producers from the USA and Romania – has finalized the transaction through which CME sold the shares of MediaPro Entertainment, major shareholder of the MediaPro Studios.
Bucharest Film Studios relies on the expertise and creativity of a professional team who will continue to develop new projects, as the growth and modernization of the company is a major priority in a period marked by a steady increase in business volume.
The main goal of the new shareholders is to bring to the studio a strong wave of revitalization of local and international productions that will set a new standard of quality and professional services within the market.