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UK and China sign co-production treaty for film

BFI logoA landmark film co-production treaty between the UK and China was signed Wednesday 23 April allowing qualifying co-productions to access national benefits including sources of finance and an easier passage to audiences.

The film treaty, negotiated for the UK by the British Film Institute (BFI), will include access to the Film Tax Relief and the BFI Film Fund - the UK’s largest public film fund.

In addition, eligible co-productions will not be subject to China’s quota on foreign films, which only permits a limited number of non-domestic titles to be shown in Chinese cinemas each year.

Films made as China/UK co-productions will have the potential to reach the second highest box office audience in the world, which is forecast to grow to US$5.5bn by 2017.

The treaty is not the only document signed by the UK’s Culture Minister Ed Vaizey on Wednesday – another Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between China's CCTV and the UK’s Producers Alliance for Cinema and TV (Pact) was also agreed upon on Wednesday.

This latter agreement indicates a dedication to exploring potential areas of collaboration between the Chinese state broadcaster and UK indies, including commissions, co-productions and acquisitions.

Vaizey said: “The treaty will strengthen ties between our countries’ film industries, encouraging the sharing of knowledge and ideas as well as driving economic growth through film production.  It will also enhance our respective cultural understanding and awareness through the making of films that reflect, enhance and convey the diversity of culture and heritage in both countries.”

The CEO of the BFI, Amanda Nevill, said of the film deal: “The co-production treaty with China, which has the largest growing film industry in the world, is hugely significant for UK film as it will open the door for our filmmakers to collaborate and contribute to each other’s success.

“An appreciation of each other's filmmaking culture is the foundation for commercial success and it is fantastic that through the treaty and the landmark events that we have set up here in China and which will continue in the UK throughout 2014, that we are starting to build an even closer collaborative relationship between our two industries to enable them to flourish.”

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