Rebates to overseas films hiked higher than current 15%
Screen Australia is to expand the country’s co-production treaties as a lure to international films.The move means that overseas productions will benefit from higher rebates than the current location offset of 15% offered to runaways. “Co-production status allows a feature film access to the 40% producer offset,” said Screen Australia topper Ruth Harley. “This access to a generous government rebate combined with the increased flexibility of the guidelines will make working with Australian practitioners on official co-productions internationally appealing. The proposed changes will help to increase the level of production in Australia and ensure greater sustainability.” The key changes to the co-production rules are: allowing a writer from outside the co-production treaty countries to work on a screenplay; revising the test that determines the “Australian content” of a production; and the introduction of a letter of preliminary compliance to show financiers that a production is on track to achieve co-production status. These changes are expected to come into play in early July. The strength of the Australian dollar, which neared parity with the U.S. greenback earlier this year, and a worldwide drop in production have left Aussie studios empty. It is hoped the changes and the current government review of film subsidies will entice international projects back.