Denmark has signed a co-production agreement with China to allow both countries to access each others’ national film support schemes and theatrical markets.

The agreement with China (the first co-production deal ever signed between China and a Nordic country), was inked today in Beijing during the official visit of Danish prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in China.

Under the Danish-Chinese co-production deal, Chinese films can apply for funding from the Danish Film Institute, while Danish films co-produced with Chinese partners will not be subject to the Chinese import quota systems. Danish films produced under the agreement will be considered as Chinese films and will therefore have access to the whole of China’s film market.

“The agreement will be important to both parties, both economically and culturally. A co-production agreement will make it easier for Danish companies to get access to the enormous Chinese theatrical market, where even small Danish films can reach quite a large audience,” said Henrik Bo Nielsen, the CEO of the Danish Film Institute, who signed the agreement with China’s SAPPRFT (State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television).

“Culturally, too, there is something to be gained. The encounters that take place when we exchange and cooperate on art and culture are both inspiring and necessary for mutual understanding and good relations across national borders,” added Nielsen.

Represented by TrustNordisk, Kenneth Kainz’s “The Shamer’s Daughter” was recently released in China under the quota system. Locally distributed by HGC Entertainment, “The Shamer’s Daughter” was the second Danish film released in China, following Kasper Barfoed’s “The Candidate” in 2008.

Several Danish film players have had China on their radar. TrustNordisk and Copenhagen Bombay are currently developing projects there, and LevelK, another sales outfit, opened an office in Hong Kong. Bille August, meanwhile, is completing a Chinese feature film about World War II, “The Chinese Widow.”