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China, U.K. Sign Co-Production Treaty

Treaty films can have dual nationality, access both financial systems

HONG KONG – China and the U.K. finally signed a long-awaited bilateral co-production on film.

The treaty was signed Wednesday in Beijing by U.K. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and Vice Minister Tong Gang of the State Administration of Radio, Film & Television (SARFT).

The treaty means enhanced access to market for film-makers in the U.K. and China and that films that qualify under the treaty will be conferred with national status in both countries.

“In China, this means that films may be exhibited in the Chinese theatrical market without being subject to the quota system, which currently limits the number of foreign films that can be screened on a revenue sharing basis to 34 per year. UK national status opens up eligibility for the UK film tax relief, worth up to 25% of qualifying UK spend, and eligibility to apply to the BFI Film Fund,” said a U.K. Ministry of Culture text.

“In order to qualify, a film should meet all of the requirements specified within the treaty, and be approved by the competent authorities in the UK and China. The main requirements are that there be a co- producer each in UK and China and that each of these bring a percentage of the production spend and finance to the film from their respective countries.”

Additionally, U.K. film trade association PACT signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV that is expected to lead to program commissions, co-production and acquisition.

Silvergate Media and CCTV will Thursday sign a contract with CCTV to broadcast two children’s TV series. The agreement is to broadcast 50 episodes of pre-school animation series “Octonauts” starting in July 2014 and 58 episodes of “Peter Rabbit,” an animated adaptation of the Beatrix Potter classic children’s tales, starting in January 2015.

Another British company, Yellow House English, has received a contract for its first animated series “The Baby Beetles” to be broadcast under licence by CCTV.

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