UK and China sign film co-production treaty

A treaty negotiated for the UK by the BFI, with support from the DCMS and UK Trade & Investment in Beijing, will allow qualifying British/Chinese co-productions to access national benefits including sources of finance and an easier passage to audiences.

If You Are the One (2008), directed by Feng Xiaogang, recently the subject of a BFI retrospective

If You Are the One (2008), directed by Feng Xiaogang, recently the subject of a BFI retrospective

A landmark film co-production treaty between the UK and China was signed today by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and Vice Minister Tong Gang of the State Administration of Radio, Film & Television (SARFT). Mr Vaizey is currently in China as part of a UK Government delegation to push forward new areas of cultural collaboration and champion the tremendous success of the UK’s creative industries.

The treaty, which was negotiated for the UK by the British Film Institute (BFI) with support from the DCMS and UK Trade & Investment in Beijing, will allow qualifying co-productions to access national benefits including sources of finance and an easier passage to audiences. In the UK this includes the Film Tax Relief and the BFI Film Fund, which is the UK’s largest public film fund. In addition, eligible co-productions will not be subject to China’s quota on foreign films, which only permits a limited number of non-domestic titles to be shown in Chinese cinemas each year.

China’s film entertainment sector (including cinema, Video on Demand and DVD) was estimated to be worth US$3.26bn in 2012. Films made as China/UK co-productions will be able to access the second highest box office audience in the world, worth US$2.7 billion and forecast to grow to US$5.5 billion by 2017.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said:

The treaty will strengthen ties between our countries’ film industries, encouraging the sharing of knowledge and ideas as well as driving economic growth through film production.  It will also enhance our respective cultural understanding and awareness through the making of films that reflect, enhance and convey the diversity of culture and heritage in both countries.

Amanda Nevill, BFI CEO said:

“The co-production treaty with China, which has the largest growing film industry in the world, is hugely significant for UK film as it will open the door for our filmmakers to collaborate and contribute to each other’s success. An appreciation of each other’s filmmaking culture is the foundation for commercial success and it is fantastic that through the treaty and the landmark events that we have set up here in China and which will continue in the UK throughout 2014, that we are starting to build an even closer collaborative relationship between our two industries to enable them to flourish.”

Also announced today:

  • The National Theatre of Great Britain and the National Theatre of China have agreed a partnership between the two companies, which will lead to a Chinese-language production of War Horse in autumn 2015 at the National Theatre of China’s theatre in Beijing and then a tour across China, beginning in Shanghai. The partnership will see an exchange of skills and expertise between the two theatres in areas including technical production, marketing and education, as well as the possibility of creative collaboration on future productions.
     
  • Silvergate Media and CCTV will sign a contract for CCTV to broadcast 100 episodes of Octonauts starting in July 2014 and to broadcast 54 episodes of Peter Rabbit starting in January 2015. Octonauts is a very successful top performing pre-school animation series made in Britain. Octonauts first launched on CBeebies, the BBC’s children’s channel, in 2010 and is now broadcast in the USA by Disney and in Germany, France, Australia and many other countries.
     
  • The British-based KT Wong Foundation, a leading independent cultivator of cultural exchange between the UK and China, will be launching a series of Young Directors’ Residences in conjunction with the world-famous Young Vic theatre company, later this year. This ground-breaking scheme will enable the brightest emerging talent from China and the UK to develop their skills, merge their respective disciplines and provide them with a unique platform to create new content together.
     
  • The Producers Alliance for Cinema and TV (PACT) and the China Central Television (CCTV) have signed a memorandum of understanding between the two organisations, which will help foster greater collaboration between the UK production sector and senior Chinese broadcasters, and to facilitate long term creative and commercial relationships that support mutual success in the global TV market.

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