Australia to Simplify Co-Production Rules

Making movies as co-productions with Australia is to become easier, following a simplification of the regulations by Screen Australia.

Current rules were “too complex and inflexible,” said Screen Australia CEO, Graeme Mason, speaking in London at the beginning promotional campaign Ausfilm Week.

Among the changes, the organization has relaxed the application requirements for ‘provisional approval.’ That is intended to enable projects to be submitted for assessment without all financial agreements finalised. Specifically, that will remove the need for producers to seek a ‘Letter of Preliminary Compliance.’

Mason said further changes to the system will follow.

“Currently Screen Australia measures ‘Australian creative contribution’ in two ways: with a points test of Australian personnel and by calculating the Australian spend,” Mason said. “We are exploring ways to do this better, but changing our approach to assessing creative contribution will have many implications so we will need to take more time and consult with industry about the options.”

“Australia has a lot to offer – diverse locations, talented writers and directors, skilled crew, world-class performers and a 40% rebate for feature films made as official co-productions,” he said.

“Strong co-productions can extend audience opportunities for film and television content, particularly with partners such as the UK who share the challenges faced in the English-language markets dominated by U.S. product,” said Mason.

Australia has bilateral co-production treaties with Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Singapore, South Africa and the United Kingdom, and MOUs with France and New Zealand. An agreement with South Korea has been signed and will take effect once the Korean-Australian Free Trade Agreement comes into force.

Australia’s treaty with the U.K. has been in force for almost 25 years, yielding movies including “The King’s Speech” and “The Railway Man.”

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