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UK and China nearing co-production treaty

Head of international at the British Film Institute, Isabel Davis, announced this Monday (2 December) that a co-production treaty between Britain and China was getting “extremely close”, potentially allowing British filmmakers to broadcast their co-productions to a new audience of billions of Chinese film lovers as well as opening doors to more Chinese private equity.

With Amanda Nevill, the British Film Institute’s chief executive, currently in China as part of a trade mission to the Asian nation, the question of whether or not a co-production treaty was on the cards was discussed throughout the industry.

At an industry event in London, Davis announced that a cultural agreement had already been signed and a co-production treaty was therefore likely to be not far away.

Davis said: “A cultural agreement has been signed, with the intention to sign a co-production agreement. We’re extremely close.”

A collaboration with the Chinese market offers huge opportunities for British filmmakers. At the moment only 34 overseas productions are allowed to be screened in China each year, roughly half of which need to be 3D or IMAX versions.

The proposed new treaty would ensure British co-productions could qualify for release in China without falling within that category.

“We will get there quite soon I think but in the end we need to figure out each other’s audience tastes” Davis said cautiously, “so I don’t expect it to go too soon.”

Cameron commented on the mission by saying on his Linkedin blog that “Britain and China are well matched economic partners” and mentioned the UK’s currently high quality entertainment – from James Bond to Downton Abbey, saying: “We are ready too to partner with China in delivering a greater demand for public services…which we will promote on this trip.”

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