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Industry Report: Focus: Asia & Oceania

New Zealand and China sign film co-production agreement


- The film industry is one area where the governments of both New Zealand and China see opportunities to develop partnerships.

They've signed a co-production agreement that will increase our presence on each other's big screens.

Peter Jackson's Park Road Post did much of the special effects work for last year's epic Chinese film Red Cliff. Future co-productions will be able to access funding in both countries, and there are other practical measures to make things easier, like sharing crew and equipment.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Filmmakers are hopeful the agreement will help overcome some of the barriers New Zealanders face when working in China.

"China is a particularly difficult society in terms of being able to understand the rules and laws and everything else," says filmmaker Alex Lee.

"So having a co-production treaty means that it makes it easier for us to get in there, and it makes it easier for Chinese companies who want to work with us."

Finding scripts suitable to audiences in both countries can also be a challenge, but one that filmmakers say is getting easier to overcome.

"We've had a lot of immigration, mostly from China to New Zealand, but we have relationships," says Victoria Spackman of the Gibson Group.

China is the 11th country that New Zealand has signed a co-production agreement with, but it's the most significant.

The New Zealand Film Commission says it expects take-up of the agreement to be slow initially, with one or two co-productions in the next two years. But with China recording the second biggest box office takings in the world, the distribution opportunities for those films are huge.

A co-produced film would also circumvent the strict quota that China has on foreign films - only 20 per year are allowed to be commercially distributed.


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