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Spain, Argentina Announce Co-Production Treaty at San Sebastian

Long overdue, the treaty should assure that the two countries remain among each other’s most frequent production partners

SAN SEBASTIAN — The biggest regulatory deal signed at this year’s San Sebastian was a new Argentina-Spain co-production treaty, intended to encourage the development of film and TV co-productions between the two countries in order to meet the modern needs of companies and content creators in the two countries.

As movies must counter the dramatic rise in production levels, standing out in ever more crowded markets – European film production grew 50% over the last decade; Latin American levels are up 22% in the last five years, according to the European Audiovisual Observatory – the treaty offers means to fundraising by encouraging international co-production between the two countries. Similarly, as TV ad markets contract, broadcast networks must co-produce fiction to keep up with market demand.

The new treaty comes as a welcome replacement of the previous co-production agreement between the countries, which first went into effect 1969. The 50 features the countries have co-produced together over the past five years – including Argentina’s just-announced Oscar entry, “El angel” –  perhaps indicates just how necessary this update had become.

Put together by the Argentine National Film and Audiovisual Arts Institute (INCAA) and Spain’s Institute of Cinematography and the Audiovisual Arts (ICAA) initial details of the five-year, renewable treaty were announced at San Sebastian on Tuesday, Sept 25.

As was the case until now, the agreement will takes in film. But it has been extended now to include all types of audiovisual work, regardless of format, duration or support, not just feature films, meaning that both series and movies made for TV are eligible.

Financial co-productions – in which there is no required creative element for minority co-producers – should demonstrate a proven artistic quality and have a budget in excess of €1 million ($1.16 million) with participation from each between 10-20%.

The new agreement also updates and clarifies regulation on such issues as: Which countries can be co-producers; the collection of rights between co-producing countries; establishment of proportions required of co-producers – between 20% and 80% of the production budget; and the allowance of co-producers from third-party countries with an economic contribution and technical or artistic elements not exceeding 30%.

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